Every once in a while, I’m glad to break out of the doom and gloom of DC Batman movies and watch something that is just fun and exciting. I admit that I missed all the waves of comic books in the last few years where Batman crossed paths with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so this movie was completely new to me. Suffice to say being a fan of both properties I was anxious to see how they would handle it, and thankfully DC/Warner and Nickelodeon delivers something for the fans and the general audience looking for a good pop culture crossover.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arrive in Gotham City from New York to find out that the Foot Clan and their leader, the Shredder, are working with the League of Assassins and their leader, Ra’s al Ghul. They’re working together with the Penguin, to put Gotham into a state of Mutation, leaving Batman, Batgirl, and Robin to investigate the criminal activity of the Foot and partner up with the Turtles to prevent that outcome. Things get even more complicated when they let loose all the prisoners of Arkham.
“Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” wisely dives in the middle ground when it comes to adapting Batman (The Bat Sit is very Neal Adams, while Troy Baker channels Kevin Conroy) and the TMNT for this feature. There isn’t a definitive model of either series that the animators stick to, allowing the characters to work outside of canon a bit more. The Ninja Turtles are especially given a more unique re-design that pays homage to their new animated series on Nickelodeon. I loved their dynamic with Batman and his sidekicks, and the way they have to work together to stop Shredder and Ra’s Al Ghul. Thankfully the movie works with about ninety minutes, allowing for a lot more room to unfold what is a mystery within a mystery.
What contributes to the tension is Batman having to work outside of his normal investigative techniques in order to stop Shredder and Ra’s just in time. The writers play off of the Teen dynamic beautifully giving the Turtles a lot of freedom to give Batman’s rogues a very hard time, while also posing a challenge for Batman himself. It’s not enough that he has to keep his son in check, but to deal with four hot headed teens becomes a headache. This becomes especially true when the group of combined heroes has to put their heads together. “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” pays a lot of lip service and fan service to both followings, staging some excellent moments.
Along with watching the Bat Rogues becoming mutants, there’s some great bonding moments between Batman’s allies and the Turtles. There are also some fantastic fights between Batman and Shredder, as well as the Turtles and Ra’s Al Ghul. “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a top notch crossover between two powerhouse series with action, comedy, and some epic fan service. I hope DC/Warner continues bringing us more creative crossovers very soon.