‘Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Works in Spite of Itself

It’s time to admit that the people who are running the animation department at DC are now just coming up with ideas while playing with old action figures. Granted, this is not necessarily a bad thing as, in spite of itself, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is actually pretty darn good. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece because, let’s face it, it’s Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but on a scale of one to ten — ten being amazing and one being not-amazing — it lands a solid six and that’s impressive in of itself.

It goes like this: Ras al Ghul and Shredder have joined forces because neither of them needed to. Together, they are stealing tech from all over Gotham City to create something sinister and the Turtles, on the trail of their chrome-domed nemesis, run afoul of Batman who sees them as yet another costumed menace in his city.

Eventually, they team up to take their foes down.

It’s the standard crossover formula that doesn’t break any new ground and never really surprises.

Confession: I was never into the Ninja Turtles. Granted, I’ve been aware of their existence since the original cartoon, but I never watched it religiously as I was in that “Oh, I’m too old for that junk!” phase that I thankfully grew out of because now I’m watching Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My point is, I’m not what you would call religiously familiar with the turtles, but familiar enough to enjoy them. Heck, folks… I’m the one guy in the country who actually liked the 2014 Michael Bay reboot, remember?

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is not a classic, but for what it is, it hits all of the notes you expect it to. Batman and the Turtles fight then team up to fight their foes, trading off so that Batman fights Shredder and the Turtles fight al Ghul. There are the gratuitous and completely unnecessary but still fun cameos from the other Batman villains with a TMNT mutant twist that was rather entertaining and, for a cartoon crossover involving the Ninja Turtles, this movie is amazingly violent and gory… I’m talking blood splatters and decapitations.

Yes, I know that the original turtles started as a gory comic book, but that’s not the way they are perceived nowadays. I don’t have a problem with the gore or violence, I just wanted to get that point in before some TMNT devotee blasted me in the comments.

Okay, so… is it good and should you watch it? In a word, yes… it’s good. While it does make some curious sacrifices to character like having the Shredder be an incompetent stooge most of the time, the movie maintains a fun attitude and tone throughout the run that balances everything out nicely. Yeah, the story never surprises, but the characters are likable enough to make up for that and it’s animated very well. The voice acting is fun too… apparently, they didn’t want to spring for Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil so they found a couple of very close sound-a-likes… also, having a guy do an impression of Jeff Goldblum for the voice of Baxter Stockman was a genius level move.

It’s not perfect, but for the weird and strange thing it was, it was good enough to be fun and diverting. Part of me is eager to see if DC Animation have any more strange crossovers in the works.

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