‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’ Review

Published 2 months ago by , Updated August 11th, 2014 at 7:57 am,

Batman Assault on Arkham Reviews 2014 Batman: Assault on Arkham Review

Batman: Assault on Arkham may not be suitable for children, but for adult fans of DC animated movies it is a dirty good time.

Batman: Assault on Arkham takes the world of the Arkham Asylum video games series and adapts it for the DC Animated Universe. Rather than re-hash the story of the video games, however, Assault on Arkham plays like a re-imagined interquel, in which we bear witness to a side story about a separate mission taking place within Arkham, as Batman is busy hunting down a bomb planted by The Joker.

“The Suicide Squad” is a team of villains coerced into government black-ops service by Amanda Waller, under threat of having tracker implants in their neck explode and kill them. The Squad’s mission in Arkham? Track down the Riddler and obtain an item he stole, without arousing the suspicion of Arkham personnel – or The Batman. However, professional assassins like Deadshot and Black Spider prove to be violent mismatches with volatile psychopaths like King Shark, Killer Frost and Harley Quinn – and when The Joker gets loose in Arkham, both the Suicide Squad and Batman will have their hands full of mayhem.

Batman Kevin Conroy in Assault on Arkham Batman: Assault on Arkham Review

Batman (Kevin Conroy) in ‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’

Assault on Arkham is a case of flagrant false advertising – yet the bait and switch arguably works out for the better. This is not a Batman movie; nor is it really an Arkham Asylum game adaptation. What B:AoA truly is, is a test run for The Suicide Squad as a major DC screen property – and in that sense it is a rousing success, because watching this team of villains turns out to be one of the more refreshing DC Universe experiences we’ve gotten in a long while.

DCU veteran Jay Oliva (Under the Red Hood, The Dark Knight Returns) returns to the helm (along with Ethan Spaulding) to craft yet another quality DCU feature. Assault on Arkham not only has some of the more polished and tight animations of any recent DCU feature; in Oliva’s hands, the film is given actual style to work with – a cool ’70s heist film vibe that’s a perfect fit for these unscrupulous protagonists.

It should be duly noted, however: This Film is NOT for kids. Given the subject matter (criminals), it should come as little surprise that Assault on Arkham pushes every boundary of its PG-13 rating, Dark Knight style. There is sex, profanity, a whole lot of violence and some pretty gruesome death, to boot. This is a DCU feature aimed at adult fans, and it plays well as such (“Yahtzee!”). If you grew up on DC animation and are now of parental age yourself, this is definitely a movie you’ll enjoy.

Amanda Waller CCH Pounder in Batman Assault on Arkham Batman: Assault on Arkham Review

Amanda Waller (CCH Pounder) in ‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’

Screenwriter Heath Corson does as good a job marrying the various source materials to the demands of a DC Animated movie. The film manages to sneak by with just enough allusions and references to the world of the Arkham Asylum games to justify the film’s title (a Batman with visible eyeballs; signature fight moves; character designs and costumes, etc.);  but it’s also a very good Suicide Squad character piece and overall concept test. The plot is straightforward but sensible; the character arcs are engaging, yet always true to the characters themselves; and the tensions and conflicts are all fun to watch as this time bomb of a team ticks down to self-detonation. In the end, many fans will probably get behind the idea of a Rated-R Suicide Squad movie.

The voice acting is blessedly top-notch. Fans will be happy to have longtime favorites like Kevin Conroy and CCH Pounder on hand voicing Batman and Amanda Waller again; meanwhile, new favorites like Arkham Origins’ Joker Troy Baker -  or DC Showcase and “Cadillac Guy” actor Neal McDonough – make characters like The Joker and Deadshot sound both dynamic and authentic in delivery.

The Joker Troy Baker in Batman Assault on Arkham Batman: Assault on Arkham Review

The Joker (Troy Baker) in ‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’

Other than that, veterans like John DiMaggio (Futurama), Jennifer Hale (Injustice: Gods Among Us), Hynden Walch (Teen Titans), Martin Jarvis (Arkham City) and even Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad and Son of Batman) fill in the supporting roles with either familiar or fitting voices – the combination of which give BAoA the feel of classic DC Animated series like Justice League Unlimited. It’s good stuff, and one of the rare contemporary cases where every voice fits snugly into their role.

In the end, Batman: Assault on Arkham may not be suitable for children, but for adult fans of DC animated movies it is a dirty good time. The opportunity to truly explore the DCU from the underbelly of supervillain perspective is a welcome and refreshing one – while thin threads of connection with the Arkham Asylum game series provide a nice structure and familiarity to the world of the film and the characters therein. If you’re of age, don’t miss this one; it’s not everyday that DC, Marvel – or any other animation company – caters exclusively to their adult demo. It’s worth taking the dark, twisted ride.

TRAILER

Batman: Assault on Arkham is available on digital download and VOD. It will be available on DVD/Blu-ray on August 12th. It is 75 minutes long and is Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language.

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5
(Must-See)

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TAGS: batman, batman assault on arkham

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  1. Was pleasantly surprised by how adult this was compared to other DCAU movies.

  2. If anyone has a link to this movie to watch online please post it :D

    • I just typed in google assault on arkham watchcartoononline

      • Thanks! I watched it, better then the previous DC animations I’ve seen tbh. I love the focus on the villains, that was a major plus, and the comedy was sly and sneaky but still slightly predictable. I’d give 7/10 stars.

  3. “No way” – Deadshot

    “The Spoils of war” – Black Spider

    “The Black Spider, just kicked the BATS @SS????” – Harley Quinn

    “Mate, I’m a little choked up” – Captain Boomerang

    LOL! Yeah this was pretty cool, I watched it the other night. One of the more amusing DC movies by far. Always nice to have Kevin Conroy doing the Batman again. Troy Baker does a wonderful Mark Hamill-esque Joker as well. Easily the best I’ve heard besides Mark.

    If you like the DC animated movies, you are in for a treat.

    B

  4. Wow this is a great review and i am so happy that this movie is surprisingly good. I’ll get my hands on this one definitely.
    Thanks to your review i am now excited to watch Batman:Arkhan on Assault.

  5. Absolutely loved this feature, the adult themes blew me away. Well worth seeing.

  6. The problem with all of the James Tucker projects, so far, is that NONE of them are suitable for kids. Starting with “The Flashpoint Paradox” and moving forward, these films have done nothing but push the PG-13 envelope to the point where kids are no longer welcome.

    And to see these discs on the same shelf as “Super Friends” makes me want to wretch.

    • The Super Friends makes ME want to wretch.

      B

  7. It’s a shame films like these don’t get theatrical releases. I guess the aftermath of MOTP hasn’t worn off yet, and that is a tragedy in its own right because it was very well crafted.

    At least these films exist in some aspect.

  8. Suicide Squad is a hot property that I wouldn’t mind seeing it as a tv series or even better a film series. I look forward to buying this movie never played the games but am DC fan.

  9. I was happy this wasn’t a Batman movie.
    It was a clean, polished flick in virtually all aspects.

    Good review. I think the dialogue was a bit campy and a 4/5 would be as high as I would go.

    Reading your review it gave me the impression I should set everything down and watch it immediately.
    This isn’t that good of a movie.

  10. Great review Kofi Wan Kenobi, I really liked this film having Conroy back is awesome that voice gives me chills.

  11. there’s a justice league unlimited episode called task force x (basically suicide squad) which is really good. I hope that film gets released before sinister 6

  12. So what I gathered from the review (forgive me if I misread)…it’s not for kids? lol, article mentions that like 10 times, haha.

    SPOILERS ahead:
    **********************************************************************************
    I thought it was stupid fun, but the stupidity was just bleh and took away from the fun. It was supposed to be a covert op, instead it ends up being a massacre killing a lot of civilians who were just doing their job. The whole mission was badly motivated from what I could discern. She wants some secret he has on a drive on his cane?

    Why not use her government mojo to confiscate it from the evidence room? And why do they even have an evidence room full of all those dangerous items of those dangerous criminals? I think her real mission objective turned out to be to kill Enigma via Killer Frost. Why didn’t she just have him killed when she did that initial assault with the covert ops team?

    She probably could have just used one person for the entire mission. Bane was ridiculously powerful and cops again can’t aim shooting at the convenient shielding on his hands. Joker survives that helicopter fall, yeah ok. Plot armour ahoy. Enigma’s master secret was to run electricity through the people enslaved by Waller, how underwhelming.

  13. attention Marvel and Fox,

    if the suicide squad gets an animated movie that’s violent and for adults……where the hell is our DEADPOOL animated movie…or movie….or anything for crap sakes!!!!!!

    #wewantdeadpool (follow that )

    • Now that’s a great Point. I am with you on this.

    • Fox doesnt have the rights to release animated material. The Marvel properties they own is just for film projects. Plus, Marvel/Disney isnt going to make animated films or cartoons with any Marvel properties owned by anyone but them (Spider-Man being an exception) because that just helps build momentum for when Fox comes out with their crappy Marvel movies.

      But I do wish we could get some dope animated films about Deadpool or X-Force. Hell, I’d love a well done X-Men animated movie that pushes its PG-13 rating.

  14. soo this version of suicide squad is similar with Arrow’s with Deadshot as a leader, i guess we wont see a version with Deathstroke in the future.
    I agree Tittle was misleading but was an enjoyable movie

    I wonder why DC doesnt use Deathstroke that much he’s clearly one of the best characters they have especially the new 52 version.

    • I assume if there’s a sequel and because this is set within the Arkham games universe, Deathstroke will join in future since Waller approached him in the post-credits for Arkham Origins with an offer to join a squad.

      Deadshot’s been the leader of the Squad since the book began, which was before Arrow even debuted on screen.

  15. Awesome movie! Some of the Joker’s laughs in the movie made me laugh along with him…should I be worried?

  16. It was okay to me. Probably 3.5/5

  17. I enjoyed this flick.
    Most impressive performances goes to:

    (SPOILERISH)
    1. Amanda Waller : ruthless, intimidating, brilliant. (But what in the hell was up with the green skin?)
    2. Harley Quinn: Crazy as hell, sexy, likable. (I was pleasantly surprised to find out she once worked as a psychiatrist at arkum)
    3. Joker: He’s just as deadly in this film as always. (Yet how does he manages to fist fight with a trained assassin for so long?? Hmmm? )

    To add, Batman really didn’t get much screen time in this joint. But when he was onscreen, he was just as impressive as ever!

    • Same reason he can fight with batman…

      The idea is that the Joker is so insane that his fighting is unpredictable, which makes him dangerous

      Sometimes untrained sporadic strikes work well in real life.. Look at the respective early careers of Jon Jones and Pacquiao for example

      • @Last Born

        I totally get that, and I understand that fiction based animation requires some “suspension of disbelief.”
        Yet the Joker was merely skin and bones compared to his opponent. He took kicks and punches that should have knocked him into next week. Also, the Joker was in solid confinment for any lenght of time so his muscles should have suffered some level of atrophy.
        Anyhoo, it was just an observation. I still enjoyed the film immensely. :-)

        • “You’re technically right… The best kind of right”

  18. I agree with the review…it as an awesome DC animated flick, good voice work [K.Conroy and Baker] and action sequences. hope to see more of the type

  19. I pre-ordered the Blu Ray a few weeks ago when I read nothing but positive things from the fan community who had seen it early (via iTunes or illegally).

    Not surprised Baker did a good job since he was praised for voicing Joker in Arkham Origins after Hamill retired from the character a few years ago.

  20. played first 2 games but ive not played origins. will i need to play that before i watch this? i just dont wanna be spoiled since i have the game.

    • Haven’t seen this film yet but only Batman, The Riddler, Bane and The Joker were in Origins and Harley made a brief appearance as Dr Quinzel towards the end, meeting Joker for the first time so I’d say no but it depends if there’s anything the film mentions or references from Origins.

    • It really doesn’t have anything to with the games aside from Batman’s outfit and he uses “detective vision” once. I would say you should have a general knowledge about the characters but even if you don’t it really doesn’t take away from the experience. It was an awesome film. Definitely check it out.

  21. I’m in love with Killer Frost.

    • You mean bad-ass Elsa? :P I admit she was hot, but I couldn’t ignore the Frozen vibe. Damn I’m biased.

  22. Harley’s outfit is ridiculous – her pants sag so low its probably just above her labia. 12 yr olds need to stop animating

  23. I just went and watched it after seeing this article.

    Did the sexy husky-voiced ice b**** die after her car got thrown? ;(

  24. I forgot that Mark Hamill is busy filming Episode VII. I guess he won’t be voicing Joker again in the near future.
    I might wait for the DVD on this one.

  25. I like this movie a lot . Saw this movie a few days ago. 5 stars. Hope DC makes more of movies like these. Perhaps Batman : Year Two ?

  26. “Denzel…what have they done to you?”
    This movie is essentially the “Task Force X” episode of JLU on steroids.
    If DC could have made a ‘Live Action film of this caliber they would have brought some real competition to Marvel in spades, definitely a different tune. It’s worth owning just to let the studios know to make more like it.

  27. This movie was dope. I’m not a DC fan but they’ve always put out some great animated features (thank you Netflix). I’ve always been a fan of villains, plus I knew nothing about the Suicide Squad until it was highlighted in an episode of Arrow. I really enjoyed this movie and think that it would be a great TV series. Except I’d prefer it be on Netflix or on a premium channel just so it can have a more mature rating.

    I wish Marvel made movies like this. An X-Force, Deadpool movie like this with a PG-13 rating would be everything I’ve ever wanted. Even an X-Men movie like this would be so dope. If Marvel made an SHIELD movie like this, it would be dope too. Black Widow, Hawkeye and maybe some lower level Avengers recruits, that would be dope. Either way, hand clap to DC for another dope animated movie.

  28. More Suicide Squad-oriented animated movies please DC! this movie was dope…
    I liked it when Deadshot turned into a semi-hero for battling the Joker mano y mano.
    Sometimes these DC villains can turn into heroes from time to time and it was cool to see them slug it out with a more established bad guys like the Joker.

  29. i liked it..i liked it alot! Oh n it gets heated between quinn n dead shot