batman assault on arkhamWarner Home Video

“Anyone who throws boomerangs has got some real issues letting go.”

Welcome to Gotham City’s heart of darkness. At the center of the shadows rises Arkham Asylum, a festering depository of the vile, the dangerous and the delirious, with an ever-growing population courtesy of the Dark Knight. But when Batman foils the Riddler’s latest caper and the crucial piece of evidence needs to be secretly recovered from Arkham, the solution comes from an unexpected source: a covert government strike team hand assembled from Gotham City’s underworld. The assassin Deadshot leads the Suicide Squad: Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, Captain Boomerang, King Shark and Black Spider, a roster of rogues who know Arkham Asylum and its residents all too well. Get ready for an all-out assault as Batman faces a fearless legion of criminals with nothing to lose. Some will live, some will die and some just want revenge. It’s an unadulterated adventure through the criminal mind in the latest DC Universe animated movie.­

This year’s offerings of direct-to-video DC animated movies have, admittedly, been not as up to par with the majority of the other original animated movies released since 2007’s Superman/Doomsday. I’m still working on the full reviews of both Justice League: War and Son Of Batman, but for purpose of comparison, let’s just say there’s something to be desired. Which is why I sighed rather heavily with the thought of watching this movie. I held off, until I watched uber-fanboy reviewer E-Rod (aka the Blockbuster Buster) give this video a “10” on his Badassatude Meter, which then intrigued me enough to give it a watch myself.

Unlike the other two afore-mentioned videos, Batman: Assault On Arkham is based on the Arkham Asylum video games, rather than specific comic book story lines. Kind of a prequel, if Wikipedia is to be trusted. Here, Batman takes a back seat to the Suicide Squad, which is kind of a government black ops made up of super-villains to do high-risk missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences, and headed up by one Dr. Amanda Waller. Let’s just say Dr. Waller is the thing that the scary things are scared of. You don’t want to mess with her. She send in a team consisting of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Shark King, Black Spider, Captain Boomerang, and Killer Frost (KGBeast deciding not to participate) into Arkham to retrieve an item hidden in The Riddler’s cane. Of course, when Dr. Waller is involved, there’s more to it than just what’s on the surface, so when they all discover the reason why the Riddler is being targeted to be “taken care of”, all bets are off. Then the Joker decides to break out of his cell and join the fun.

As animated DC movies go, Batman: Assault On Arkham was satisfying. It had an action-packed story, the voice acting was top-notch (Troy Baker seemed to be channeling Mark Hamill in his depiction of the Joker, instead of trying to do a bad imitation, which worked out beautifully), the animation was…tolerable, and the characterization and direction made for some good depth for a group that I really had no experience with at all, outside of maybe a couple of episodes of Justice League Unlimited. And here, the PG-13 rating is well-earned, in case you were thinking this is just a cartoon for your young kids to watch.

Overall, while I’m not a fan of the type of animation style they’ve been using in the recent animated movies, Batman: Assault On Arkham is easily the best of the four that were released in 2014. There’s one more that I haven’t watched from that bunch yet, but so far, I would recommend a viewing of Batman: Assault On Arkham some night.