Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Two of my favourite cartoons, from the eighties and nineties, join forces in one of the most unlikely crossovers I have ever seen. Based off a six issue comic book, Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pits the titular heroes against Ra’s al Ghul and the Shredder. Early on in the film it is established that the League of Assassins and Foot Clan have formed an alliance. Ra’s al Ghul’s assassins wish to destroy crime infested Gotham City, in order to rebuild it anew. To execute this objective they plan to turn Gotham’s citizens into wild beasts, by using the mutagen Shredder’s Foot Clan possesses. In exchange Shredder will be compensated with an immortality granting Lazarus Pit.

OVERVIEW

As the movie’s title suggests, the Dark Knight and the pizza loving ninjitsu reptiles clash when they first meet. The turtles have travelled to Gotham, a city where blimps are all the rage, with the aim of foiling Shredder’s scheme. Unfortunately for them they get mistaken for the Foot Clan, who stole a generator from Wayne Enterprises in the film’s opening scene. Batman battles with the wrongly accused Turtles, although they do eventually form a truce, once the misunderstanding is cleared up. Batman, aided by Batgirl and his son Robin, agree to work with the Turtles to take down their mutual enemies. Saving the city of Gotham won’t be easy though. Apart from tracking down the aforementioned villains, they will also have to contend with various rogues who have escaped from Arkham Prison.

It was fun to see the Ninja Turtles in action, after all these years. The last time I saw a TMNT cartoon was the excellent Turtles Forever movie, which aired a decade ago. What I like about this rendition of the characters is that they each have a distinct look. Back in the day viewers could only tell them apart by their weapon of choice and mask colour. Out of the quartet I would have to say that Michelangelo steals the show, as the script blesses him with the funniest lines. Aside from delivering quips the Turtles know how to kick arse. The fights between them and the Foot Clan are excellent, as was the martial arts duel that Batman has with Shredder. There is a ton of action in this 84 minute flick, with the best fights happening early on. I thought the final showdown was an example of quantity over quality. Not bad, but a little too wacky for my taste and at times the fights get undercut by goofy comedy.

VERDICT

My rating for Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is four stars. I would class this as an animated feature that will appeal to audiences of all ages. Adult viewers, who grew up with the old shows, will dig the various references and Easter Eggs. On the flip side, the gags and cartoony visuals should go down well with the younger crowd. Some people may dislike the movie’s art style, but I personally thought it had more charm than the darker/more bland looking DC Universe movies that have come out lately. At the very least I would say that the cartoony character designs don’t mean that this movie is exclusively for kids. Heck, I would caution against showing the film to the very young, as it can get quite violent at times. Some moments that come to mind include a decapitation and a whack that leaves someone with a bloody face.

One final thing that is worth mentioning is the solid voice acting. Troy Baker in particular deserves praise as he plays both Batman and the Joker. I wonder if he gets two pay cheques for that? Baker “kneads” the money, as he is the “breadwinner” in his family.

37 thoughts on “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    • I think a lot of people who grew up with Batman or the Turtles will share your sentiments. Will be interesting to see if we get a sequel. The post credits scene hints at what a followup would feature.

  1. Ninja Turtles, Scooby Doo… who knew putting on a mask and spandex would mean you get to meet talking animals? Now excuse me while I go buy a cape, mask, and many bags of ice in case some talking penguins head my way.

  2. Agreed that Shredder vs Batman fight was awesome. You’ve got a point that the final fights just weren’t as exciting. They sure had a lot of action, but nothing beats a quality 1 vs 1 martial arts match like that

  3. Nice review !! I’m glad you also enjoyed Turtles Forever. I thought it was nice though kind of different. The 2003 TMNT series is my favourite !!

    • Turtles Forever would have been a nice way to finish of the TMNT franchise. Since then Nickelodeon have picked up the rights though. The 2003 cartoon was very good. I used to watch it along with the He-Man reboot when my night shift ended.

      • Oh absolutely !! I have seen only a handful of the 2012 Nickelodeon reboot and also really haven’t seen the 2018 re-boot. That said, the 2003 series was great. I really want to watch the He-Man reboot. Heard that it was a shame that it got cancelled so soon.

      • I am sometimes critical of reboots, but I thought the He-Man and Thundercats ones were both great. Yeah, it’s a shame that they got cancelled. Sadly it’s often toy sales, rather than a cartoons, quality that determines if it gets renewed.

      • Oh absolutely man !! Couldn’t agree with you more !! The thunder cats reboot looked really promising. And that age old lack of toy sales is such a lazy excuse for bad or non-existent marketing. They tried another comical thundercat reboot. I haven’t heard much of it since. Did it take off ?

      • I liked the Thundercats reboot a lot. Sadly it got cancelled on a big cliffhanger. Last I heard, Thundercats Roar is due out in 2020. I have no interest in watching it though. Seems like another western cartoon that is overly wacky.

      • A cliffhanger ? Damn. Kind of like the spectacular Spider-Man series. Yes I remember watching a few episodes of it and it had this very mysterious vibe to it. I think they were even developing some kind of a back story with Mumm-Ra.

        As you said, thundercats roar appears very wacky on first sight. I don’t know how it’ll turn out. It’s a sad trend though. Cartoon Network doesn’t seem so keen on promoting/airing action cartoons. That’s why stuff like young justice is now on a streaming service.

        I’ve also been waiting for the last few years for the Swat Kats Revolution (the revival and continuation). However, the creators are having trouble finding a network.

  4. Recently I was on an airplane ride and sat next to a young boy. I had to pick a kid friendly movie to watch that doesn’t show a lot of violence. Too much violence is not good for kids.

    I like Batman too, but my favorite cartoon back then was X-Men.

    • The X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons of that time were very good. I liked the relationship stuff between the characters and how it would carry over between episodes. They did a good job of adapting various stories from the comics. Dark Phoenix for example was executed better than either of the live action films have managed.

  5. Oh I loved watching TMNT as a kid , they were one of my favourite cartoons . I would keep this movie in my bucket list . I enjoyed the review as always, lol@two pay checks . Have a very nice day 🙂

    • I think this is a good movie for kids or folks who have nostalgia for the old cartoon. Voice actors often play multiple characters. I am curious on how they get compensated for that. Does the guy in The Simpsons who voices Mr Burns and several other characters, get paid more than someone who only voices one guy?

      • Does the guy in The Simpsons who voices Mr Burns and several other characters, get paid more than someone who only voices one guy?
        maybe, i don’t know , but i can surely imagine you doing some serious research on that :p

  6. Hello The Otaku Judge,

    I did not know about this movie, this was not a team-up that I have probably considered before, and I am surprised that you gave it that high of a rating; thank you for making a post about this.

    -John Jr

    • I only knew of this movie thanks to fellow bloggers. These straight to DVD films don’t get much advertising, so they are easy to miss. It’s an unusual crossover, but surprisingly it works. The movie was much better than I expected, which is why I awarded it an above average score.

      • Hello The Otaku Judge,

        You would think that they would do a better job using free advertising on YouTube, social media, et cetera and reaching out to content creators on those platforms to make videos about it.

        My brother GC and I might check this movie out eventually, yesterday I saw that there is a new animated Wonder Woman movie called Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.

        Thank you for responding,
        -John Jr

  7. As a Batman and Turtles fan I really should check this out, admittedly I was put off by the more cartoon-y animation style but I like your thoughts on that and it’s given me a more positive perspective given it sounds as though the content itself is strong.

    • If you enjoyed the old Turtles cartoon I think you will like this movie too. The visuals are a bit of a shock the system, when you see them in a brief trailer – especially given the more realistic looking style of other DC movies. You get used to the art when using the movie though and it works for the tone of its story.

  8. Hey look, they made a movie out of all those stories I made with my action figures when I was a kid.

    I find this particularly humorous, as with the original Turtles comics they implied pretty strongly that it was an alternate company Daredevil spinoff. The ooze was implied to be the same substance that blinded Daredevil, they use the Foot Clan as an alternative to the Hand, etc. So this is, in a totally not lawyer-approved way, a Marvel/DC crossover.

    • Now that I think about it, these crossovers are very much like what kids would come up with when playing with toys. Back in the day I had a wrestling federation featuring Transformers, GI Joe, He-Man and WWE stars.

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