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The Dark Knight rises at buzzy world premiere of Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

By Ernie Estrella
Batman vs. TMNT group

Batman is marking a milestone 80th birthday celebration, and WonderCon paid fitting tribute on Sunday with the world premiere of a new animated film featuring the Dark Knight... along with some unlikely allies. That would be Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlesbased on the comic book crossover event written by James Tynion IV and drawn by Freddie Williams II that saw Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo setting foot in Gotham City in pursuit of the Shredder's Foot Clan.

From its creative opening credits to its heartwarming conclusion, the film is the perfect blend of both animated worlds. Shredder proved to be a formidable foe for Batman, while Ra's al Ghul was a thorn in everyone's side. The Turtles showed Robin and Batgirl the adolescent fun they've been missing from their lives, and Michelangelo — as always — is the scene-stealer. 

There to meet and greet the WonderCon crowd were Troy Baker, voice of Batman and Joker (the first time one person has voiced both in the same film), Cas Anvar (Ra's al Ghul), Eric Bauza, (Leonardo), Ben Giroux (Robin), Andrew Kishino (Shredder), along with the film's creative team: producer Ben Jones, director Jake Castorena, and screenwriter Marly Halpern-Graser, who each shared an anecdote or two about slipping in loads of Easter eggs for both sets of fans, as well as their commitment to living up to the legacy of these characters.

Jones said the film started with character designs, which were based on Andy Kuhn's, who does a lot of the artwork for the IDW TMNT comics. "For the rest of it, we hand-picked the bits from the comic that we felt would translate well," which included the mutated versions of Arkham Asylum's frequent guests.

A lot of the mutations in the comics remained true, from the Scarecrow's transformation into a crow to the Joker becoming a cobra, but there were a few big differences, like having Bane turn into a jaguar instead of an elephant. Also, screenwriter Halpern-Graser reached out to Tynion to tell him that they were changing Poison Ivy into a mutant Venus fly trap because some people mutated into plants in the TMNT world. "He later admitted to us that he would have done that had he known."

It was a crowd-pleaser of a film for the audience in attendance, who cheered at every mention of interest in a potential sequel. How well it does on home video will determine whether Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will allow fans another slice of the pizza pie, so to speak.

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be available on digital starting May 14, and will arrive on 4K UHD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on June 4.

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Official Trailer [HD] Darren Criss, Tara Strong