A big thank you to Warner Bros. Entertainment UK for providing DC World with early access to this movie for review purposes.
It’ll take the unlikely unification of the Dark Knight and the Heroes in a Half-shell to overcome combined villainous forces afoot in Gotham City in the all-new, feature-length animated thriller, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon and DC, the film arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting 14th May 2019, and on Blu-ray, Blu-ray Steelbook and DVD on 3rd June 2019.
Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles finds Gotham City reaching new levels of danger when Shredder joins forces with Ra’s al Ghul to enact a nefarious plan – leading to the team-up of the Dark Knight and the Turtles to combat the combined might of the Foot Clan and League of Assassins!
From the opening credits, which had a Sin City feel to them, I could tell I was going to enjoy this movie. If like me you grew up on 90’s TV cartoons then you will know what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are about. Fun times, defeating the foot clan and eating pizza. This movie did an amazing job by taking all the elements I loved from the TMNT 90’s cartoon and blended it together with my other favourite 90’s cartoon, Batman the Animated Series.
Some people may not feel the light-hearted nature of the Turtles mixed with the dark, brooding exterior of Batman would work. Those people would be wrong. The clash in tone really compliment each other but what the writers do very well is how they pair the characters. Seeing Batman and Leonardo train with each other discussing the trials and tribulations of leading a team and family. The brains of Donatello and Batgirl working together and establishing a mutual respect for what each other does with the tools they have. My favourite pair was when Raphael, with his hot headed, rush into danger head first mentality meets Damian Wayne Robin. A character who is young and still learning but with that similar instinct of impatience and urgency to get results.
There is some wonderful humour in the movie. As you would expect a lot of the jokes originate around Michelangelo, who was expertly voiced by Kyle Mooney from Saturday Night Live. His childish behaviour and immaturity when crossed with Alfred’s uptight, British persona resulted in hilarious exchanges.
The action gives us some rather graphic sequences as the animators are not afraid to show the devastating effects of a Samurai sword. Shredder also pulls no punches in his brutal and aggressive attack on Gotham city. The real carnage comes when we arrive in Arkham Asylum and meet Batman’s rogue gallery.
An A-list line up is imprisoned in Arkham and come out to play. The likes of Bane, Harley Quinn, Two Face and many more make the movies final third sequence a true spectacle for any Batman fan. The Turtles and the foot clan gave us a real shift in direction for the fight sequences. The movie focuses more on Karate and martial arts than the weapons and gadgets we are used to from Batman. As a keen martial arts movie fan I can tell a lot of research and preparation went into the choreography behind the fight scenes. The hand to hand combat has a very real feel to it and there is an interesting extra on the DVD/Blu Ray that looks at this with commentary for the production team.
A film crammed full of comic easter eggs and pop culture references. Topics of interest range from comparing New York to Gotham and the best pizza. Batman proves how to eat pizza like a boss and make sure you watch all the way to the end for a post credit scene not to be missed.
The Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all-star cast is led by Troy Baker (Batman: Arkham Origins, The Last of Us) as the voice of both Batman and the Joker – making Baker the first actor to ever play both roles in the same film. Opposite Baker are the Ninja Turtles themselves – Emmy Award/Golden Globe Award/SAG Award winner Darren Criss (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Glee) as Raphael, Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live) as Michelangelo, Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie) as Donatello, and Eric Bauza (Looney Tunes Cartoons, The Woody Woodpecker Show) as Leonardo.
Other key members of the voice cast include Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) as Batgirl, John DiMaggio (Adventure Time, Futurama) as Mr. Freeze, Tara Strong (Batman: The Animated Series, Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go!) as Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Penguin, Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911!) as Bane, Cas Anvar (The Expanse) as Ra’s al Ghul, Keith Ferguson (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) as Baxter Stockman & Two-Face, Brian George (Seinfeld) as Alfred, Ben Giroux (Hart of Dixie) as Robin, Andrew Kishino (The Lion Guard) as Shredder, and Jim Meskimen (Parks and Recreation) as Commissioner Gordon & Scarecrow.
Jake Castorena (The Death of Superman) directs Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from a script by Marly Halpern-Graser (Mad, Batman Unlimited, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo). The film is inspired by the comic book series “Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” by James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II (published by DC Comics and IDW Publishing) and is based on characters from DC and Nickelodeon. Ben Jones (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) is producer. Executive producers are Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan. Sam Register and Chris Viscardi are executive producers.
Cowabunga, Batman! When Comic Worlds Collide(Featurette)– Super hero crossovers have inspired some of the most unique comics of all time. Explore the concept of the crossover, and see the creativity that ensues when the worlds of Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meet.
Fight Night in Gotham (Featurette) – DC animated movies have continued to push the realism of hand-to-hand combat on-screen. Take an exciting look at both Batman’s and the Ninja Turtles’ fighting styles, and how the creators make it feel like you’re in the fight!
A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Batman: Hush – An advance look at the next animated film in the popular DC Universe Movies collection.
ON BLU-RAY™, BLU-RAY™ STEELBOOK AND DVD FROM 3RD JUNE 2019 (Don’t forget to type DCWORLD10 at checkout for 10% off)
OWN IT EARLY ON DIGITAL FROM 14TH MAY 2019
All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment UK.