The Batman and a whole slew of allies and villains travel time to futile Japan and battle for domination.
Batman has assembled his allies to help put a stop to Gorilla Grodd’s nefarious plans. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and the Bat-team along with the criminals of Gotham City are transported to ancient Japan.
Batman is the last to arrive in the time travel with his rogue gallery given the opportunity to settle in for two-years. The Joker has earned himself the title of Demon King “the most powerful man in Japan,” while other territories have been taken over by Penguin, Deathstroke, Poison Ivy, and Two-Face. All five shoguns battle for supremacy of futile Japan, while Catwoman, Alfred, Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin, and Robin lay low and bided their time awaiting their leader’s arrival.
Batman wastes no time after his arrival, facing the Joker by himself on two occasions before realizing he needs help. With an army of Bat-ninjas at his side and an alliance with Gorilla Grodd, they take on Joker one more time and end his reign. However, Batman and his crew are betrayed by Grodd and ultimately Catwoman.
After everyone has a chance to regroup and establish themselves, all the armies meet for one final battle. With each of the evil shoguns showing up with giant castles that transform into robots, Batman and his army are seriously outmatched. Grodd, the new dominant shogun, is able to control the minds of the remaining villains and reveals his plans to change the course of history. The gorilla’s plans are ended by an unlikely source, The Joker and Harley Quinn.
Joker takes Grodd’s plans for himself and transforms all of the giant robots into one super Joker-bot. Batman realigns himself with Grodd who helps the team with an army of monkeys. Along with a swarm of bats the monkeys help to make a gigantic Batman to face Jokers robot, for the ultimate battle.
This is a Batman film like you have never seen before. From the beginning you can tell this is going to be completely different from other DC animated movies, mostly due to the Japanese-style animation and action- that at points will leave your jaw on the floor. All of these established Batman characters look amazing with their samurai makeovers, and their resulting robots and monsters are equally impressive.
One of the biggest draws for fans of Batman is the characters that surround him. In fact, villains like the Joker can often outshine the titular character. Those who are big Joker and Harley Quinn fans will not be disappointed as they are pure insanity in Samurai outfits. With eight or nine of Bat’s archenemies involved in this film, it is worth watching for their style changes alone. Joker and Batman are clearly at the centre of this story, for a good reason, but anyone of the bad guys could have been the primary antagonist on their own.
Batman’s crew is a little less impressive. It was great to see a group of the Bat-family partake in this adventure, but the style choices were strange. Nightwing and Red Robin are great, but Red Hood’s costume is questionable. Robin was a major disappointment, and his character was done entirely wrong- this is not Damian Wayne as we know him; more of a younger Dick Grayson. It gets worse, as the Robin in this film has bonded with an adorable monkey friend who assists him in building the giant monkey-bat Batman monster. It is all bizarre, and nothing you would find in an American Batman story.
The artwork is impressive throughout the film. And, I am happy to say that I have seen what a giant Japanese-style Penguin robot would look like. With no expectations on this movie, you can sit back and enjoy the spectacular designs and over-the-top action. Though there is one scene, involving the introduction of Red Hood into the story, that is done in a different style than the rest of the film and really distracts and takes away from everything going on.
This movie is for fans of all kinds. Whether it is the animation or the characters that are bringing you to watch the film, there is something for everyone to enjoy. You can see how much work was put into making this movie happen with so many tiny details filled out, and the sheer scope of the action. Although the final giant robot battle was a little much for me, and it didn’t make a lot of sense, it was still fun to watch.
In all honesty, though, I would be afraid to recommend Batman Ninja to anyone. There is bound to be a lot of mixed reviews, especially with the films more questionable choices. While I enjoyed the movie, it is easy to see why others will hate it. Either way, if you are a Batman fan, then you should at least give it a watch and make your own decisions. Just remember this is not your average Batman tale, I mean they travel back in time to ancient Japan, you need to be open-minded going in.