Monday, June 25, 2018

Movie Review: BATMAN NINJA (2018)

DC’s animated film line is one that I almost always look forward to seeing what is released next.  They have been able to adapt some of my favorite storylines from the comics, bringing them to life in a way I never thought would happen.  So, when I heard that they were gearing up to release a new, original film inspired by the world of anime, I was definitely intrigued.  Now, what you need to realize is that I’m not a huge anime fan.  I’ve seen a few of the older anime films, like Akira, Project A-ko, Vampire Hunter D, etc., but never really got into it as a genre. However, once I saw the trailer for Batman Ninja, I was sold.  It looked amazing, from the intricate details to the fantastically unique character designs, and the story seemed interesting.  So, once I got my copy, I was ready to give this baby a whirl.

Before watching the film, I had heard some very mixed reviews from friends and fellow reviewers, which worried me a little.  Being someone who isn’t really into anime, I was afraid I would end up absolutely hating this movie.  Luckily, that was not the case; however, I didn’t love it either.  Batman Ninja is a very intriguing piece of cinema, and, had a few things been done differently, it could have been a great film.  But I’ll get more into that later.

From the opening narration and the first scene with Gorilla Grodd, you know right away that this isn’t going to be your average Batman story, as Catwoman says so herself.  Right away we are whisked away through time to Feudal Japan, but things are nowhere near the same as history has dictated to us.  Several villains have taken over, with the Joker, of course, holding the most power.  As I said before, the character designs in this film are great, especially the Joker.  And his legion of samurai Jokers was so badass.  However, even though the Clown Prince of Crime is sporting a cool, unique look, his voice was not as enjoyable.  Voiced by Tony Hale, I found the Joker to be somewhat annoying at times.  It was almost like he was trying too hard to do a Joker voice.  It didn’t feel or sound genuine.  Though, it was great hearing Tara Strong reprise her role as Harley Quinn.

The overall story seemed like it was going to be interesting, and it would have been had they not decided to have giant castles that transform into robots fight one another.  I would have much rather seen all the clans fight with armies of soldiers, giving us a chance to see some awesome hand-to-hand fight scenes.  Then they could have joined forces under the mind control of the Joker and had a colossal army of warriors take on Grodd’s monkey soldiers and the Bat clan.  It would have been EPIC!  But instead, we got a giant robot, a giant monkey samurai, and a giant Golden Age Batman.  It was ridiculous, even though I did love that they used the Golden Age version of Batman.

Also, how did the Joker get the materials to build these giant mech castles?  Grodd says that he provided the tech for the castles, but said nothing about the actual materials.  I just don’t buy that it would have been possible, which is another reason why I wish they hadn’t gone this route.  Throughout the film, there are several strange dialogue and overall scripting choices made.  It boggles my mind why certain things like this were done.  This story had so much potential, but instead it was wasted on big, unnecessary set pieces.  And maybe it’s because I’m not an anime fan, but to me a good story is a good story, and sadly, this isn’t one.

SuperHeroStuff - Shop Now!

The one main thing I did really enjoy was the animation of this film.  It has a great style, with impeccable details, but that is all tossed out the window in the one scene with Red Hood finding Joker and Harley on the farm.  I hated the animation of that scene.  I don’t understand why it needed to be different.  I don’t think it added anything to the story; in fact, I think it hurt the film but having this awkwardly different animation in the middle of it.

Another thing that bothers me is during the end fight between Catwoman and Harley, Catwoman tosses Harley and she lands face first within an explosion with no actual armor.  She should have been incinerated, yet she only had a few scratches.  And how the hell did Batman burst into a swarm of bats???  It makes NO SENSE!!!  Also, what is up with Damien Wayne?  Why is he this happy-go-lucky little kid with a pet monkey?  He is absolutely nothing like his normal comic book counterpart, and it really bothered me.  This entire film is full of odd choices that may be normal for anime, but just seem idiotic in terms of a normal film.  And he didn’t even become Batman Ninja until the very end!!!

This was a very disappointing watch for me, as I was actually really looking forward to it.  If you are really into anime, you may actually love this film, but as someone who isn’t, this one just wasn’t for me.

The Merc's Score: 4/10

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love anime! Even have my own ongoing animestyle novel series.
    But that didn’t help this film at all. It was completely nonsensical