Batman has a fairly extensive history of meeting up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the pages of comic books, but the heroes have never shared the screen to any prominent degree before now. Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a DC animated movie that successfully combines their worlds into 87 minutes of pure fun. The film hits DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD on June 4.
The premise is fairly ingenious for a mash-up of this sort. The Turtles' villain, Shredder, teams up with one of the Dark Knight's biggest foes, Ra's Al Ghul, to spread terror across Gotham. Our heroes end up encountering one another as they pursue their respective nemeses. At first, their meeting is hostile, but once they realize they're on the same side, they decide to join forces. The baddies, meanwhile, inject some of Arkham Asylum's most infamous criminals – including Harley Quinn, Two-Face, and Bane – with a serum that turns them into crazed half-animals.
Much of the entertainment value in Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes from how it crosses the beloved properties. The final battle, for example, finds the Dark Knight fighting Shredder and the Turtles taking on Ra's. Sometimes the effect is used for comedy, as when the Turtles find their way into the Batcave and marvel at its owner's cool suits and gadgets, or when Batman's seriousness is contrasted with the Turtles' exuberance.
Action scenes in the film are nicely designed. The best of them finds all the heroes battling the animal-villains. The animals they become are reflections of their personalities, so there's some wit running underneath the concept. Another standout is the well-done vehicle chase featuring both the Batmobile and the Turtle Van.
The animation is detailed and atmospheric throughout. Some shots have a cool stylized look, with the characters cast in shadowy blackness except for one telling detail (a Turtle mask, Batman's symbol, etc.) highlighted in bold color. Excellent voice acting further contributes to the picture's success. Saturday Night Live cast member Kyle Mooney is the standout as Michelangelo, earning laughs with his line readings. You'll also find plenty of clever in-jokes, like the scientist who looks like a fly and sounds like Jeff Goldblum.
The Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-ray comes with a few quality bonus features. “Cowabunga Batman! When Comic Book Worlds Collide” looks at how the filmmakers combined two separate intellectual properties into something that remains true to them individually. “Fight Night in Gotham” reveals how realistic fighting styles were rendered in animation. Finally, there's a sneak peek at an upcoming DC animated movie, Batman: Hush.
An enjoyable feature and informative supplementary materials mesh to make Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles worth owing or seeing for fans of either series.
Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided a complimentary copy for this purposes of this review.
out of four
Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is rated PG-13 for fantasy violence. The running time is 1 hour and 27 minutes.