Batman: Assault on Arkham, is DC’s latest entry in their animated film series. Even though the name of the movie starts with Batman, this is really a Suicide Squad movie that just happens to have Batman in it. The idea of a Suicide Squad movie is actually a good thing, because the idea behind the Suicide Squad is pretty cool. When the government wants a task done, and they don’t care if the operatives live or die, they take captured criminals, put a bomb in their neck and force them to do the job. If they get caught, the bomb goes off. If they refuse to help, the bomb goes off. If they piss off Amanda Waller, the agent in charge of the operation, the bomb goes off. So the Suicide Squad is very motivated to accomplish whatever task they need to regardless of the cost. For the most part this film turned out pretty good.
The plot of the film is the US Government wants a USB stick that’s hidden in Arkham’s basement. Amanda Waller captures Dead Shot, Black Spider, King Shark, KGBeast, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, and Harley Quinn to bust into Arkham undetected and get it. What fun would this be if there weren’t complications along the way? Batman: Assault on Arkham had an Ocean’s Eleven feel to it, except a lot more violent. I won’t go into spoilers but a lot of people died in this film. Some of them were kind of surprising.
If you have ever played any of the Arkham games than you will recognize a lot of the designs used around the city, and in the asylum. At one point they visit the Penguin, and I felt like I was looking at an animated version of Batman: Arkham City. The asylum itself was also a pretty good depiction on what was in the first game. The entrance and the cell layouts in particular looked very familiar.
As I mentioned early on, this is mostly a Suicide Squad movie. Batman is in it near the beginning, but for the most part he’s absent until the last third of the film, when everyone’s favorite clown gets involved. It feels like DC/Warner Bros. decided to give us the old bait and switch with the title because they don’t have faith in the idea that the Suicide Squad can hold its own. Unfortunately they are probably right because I don’t think this would sell well if it was called Suicide Squad: Assault on Arkham. If someone is looking for a Batman film they may be disappointed. Hopefully this, combined with their appearance in season 2 of Arrow will do well enough to increase the recognition of who/what the Suicide Squad is, and we can get more in the future. Maybe a Suicide Squad TV show, or movie? One can only hope.
For the most part I liked Batman: Assault on Arkham, except for one thing. I don’t think Neal McDonough was the right voice for Deadshot. Neal is a great actor, and has done some other voice acting prior to this, but I just don’t think his voice fit the character. Deadshot sounded a little too much like Batman for my taste.
I also wish they gave me the backstory on more of the characters involved. If you don’t know who Killer Frost is, you really aren’t going to learn much about her here outside of her powers. The movie gives a very brief intro on each person getting captured, and their names, but that’s about it. I thought they made up King Shark, but apparently he’s been around for a while. If I hadn’t googled his name I would have never known.
The only other thing I would be wary of with this title is if you have kids. This title is rated PG-13, but probably just barely. There are a lot of crazy death scenes, sexual innuendo, and some off screen rough sex. I was originally going to see if my 11 year old step daughter wanted to watch it with me, but I’m glad she played video games instead. This would have been awkward.
Despite some of the negatives, I thought this was worth watching. Batman: Arkham Assault is available now on various streaming services, but if you are a fan of physical media, the Blu-Ray will be available on August 12th. The Blu-Ray comes with a DVD, and a digital download version of the film. There is a DVD only version of Batman: Assault on Arkham but for an extra $5 you might as well get the Blu-Ray version which includes the download. The DVD version does not.