Home Entertainment Review: Batman: Assault on Arkham (Warner)



In Warner Bros. Home Entertainment latest animated feature Batman: Assault on Arkham, it takes place the best-selling Batman: Arkham video game series world. The actual time this story takes place is between the Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Now before I get into the heart of the review, I just want to state, I’m not a gamer at all. I have played Batman: Arkham Asylum and really did like it, but just didn’t keep up with the franchise. I didn’t hate it. It’s I’m just not a gamer. So my knowledge on the backstory is very limited. But It didn’t stop me from enjoying this film.

In a nutshell, the plot is the Riddler was trying to blackmail the government and Batman ended up capturing him and putting him in Arkham Asylum. Unfortunately for the Riddler he’s screwed with the wrong person. This time around he pissed off Amanda Waller who is in charge of Task X. Or as it’s better known as Suicide Squad. A group of villains that are forced to take on dangerous missions. If they succeed, they get time off of their sentence. If they don’t, they come home in a body bag.

So while Batman is busy dealing with a bomb the Joker has placed somewhere in Gotham City, the Squad is tasked with breaking into Arkham and retrieving a thumb drive that Riddler has stolen. The drive is valuable because he contains all the information on Task Force X. A simple snatch and grab. Or is it? A team of 7 villains working together, what could go wrong.

I really enjoyed this film a lot. In watching it, I could really tell it was a prelude Batman: Arkham Asylum. But the really interesting part is that Batman, technically isn’t the main focus of the film. The main protagonists (used loosely) is the Suicide Squad. Get ready to root for the bad guys.

The film really reminded me of films like the Dirty Dozen, Ocean’s Eleven, the Italian Job, and the such.

The Squad in this film is made up of characters that were in the Suicide Squad both pre-New 52 and New 52. The team members are Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, King Shark, Black Spider, and KGBeast. An interesting mix to say the least.

Deadshot serves as the defacto field leader. Neal McDonough does a great job as Deadshot. McDonough really portrays him as a man with ice in his veins. Cold, cunning, and a take no crap either attitude.

Matthew Gray Gubler of Criminal Minds fame plays the Riddler. This was the one voice over that didn’t really work for me. Every time he spoke, I just kept thinking of his character on Criminal Minds. But that was the only voice that didn’t work for me.

Troy Baker voiced the Joker in Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Origins, and damn he is good. I really hate to compare, but he really sounded like Mark Hamill’s classic Joker, but at the same time, made it his own.

Hynden Walch previous voiced Harley Quinn on The Batman cartoon and reprises the role here. Walch does a good job sounding like the ditsy Quinn.

Finally reprising their roles was the amazing Kevin Conroy, of course as Batman, and CCH Pounder as Amanda Waller. These two were just the natural choices for the doing these roles again.

The animation style is almost like Anime, but at the same time, very similar to the video games.

Directors Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding do an awesome job with the pacing of this film. As it opens, it just hits the ground running, while giving you some time to catch your breath every so often.

Heath Corson’s script is extremely solid here. It truly seamless fits into the video game universe.

The Blu-Ray comes with a couple of extra features:
• Arkham Analyzed: The Secrets Behind the Asylum – This is the documentary that traces the strange, demonic history of the location where horror is mixed with the extremities of the criminally insane. A place where Batman must keep his watchful gaze, to insure that what goes in does not come out …. ever.
• The Joker’s Queen: Harley Quinn – If The Joker were to have a girlfriend, what would she be like? This featurette covers the story of the deviancy and often provocative side to The Joker’s greatest ally, Harley Quinn.
• An advance look the next animated film, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. This introduces Aquaman into the animated New 52 universe and includes interviews the creators and cast.
• Four episodes from the DC Comics Vault.

There is one thing I do want to stress with this film: This is not for children. Just because it has Batman in it doesn’t mean it’s OK for all ages. It’s rated PG-13, but personally I’d put an R rating on it. But this has nothing to do with the filmmakers, producers, or studio. This is where parents need to take responsibility. You’ve been advised.

Bottom line, I’d highly recommend this film. It’s great for comic fan, fans of the Arkham video game series, or just anyone who likes to see the “caper” films.

Batman: Assault on Arkham is available on August 12, 2014 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, on Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD.

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.