Based on the hit video game series, Batman must find a bomb planted by the Joker while dealing with a mysterious team of villains called the Suicide Squad.
Marvel Comics has almost always beaten DC Comics in regards to live action movies, but DC has almost always beaten Marvel when it comes to animated, the release of the DVD Batman: Assault on Arkham once again proves this fact.
The story starts immediately once you press play, with no credits or build up. It’s interesting to hear the Riddler’s voice played by Mathew Gray Gubler of Criminal Minds fame. While his inflections are an enjoyable take on the Riddler’s voice Gubler leaves something wanting, especially in comparison to Robert England’s take on the character from The Batman animated series or even Dave Franco’s rendition from Young Justice.
The Riddler is posting relatively simple riddles to Amanda “The Wall” Waller, who is played to perfection by CCH Pounder. Pounder has filled this role several times in the past — always with the attitude and authority required of a character that can stand up to Batman.
Soon after a quick back-and-forth, the Riddler is put into a bad situation at the hands of several armed faceless goons, all wearing your basic military gear so they are obviously servants of Waller. The lights dim and we hear the voice that everyone for the last two decades recognizes and loves as Batman. Kevin Conroy can voice Batman in his sleep by now and it will still be better than anyone else at their best. No offence to Diedrich Bader, but Conroy’s voice is Batman, not the more comical voice that Bader has brought in the last few years. Even Roger Craig Smith’s attempt to duplicate Conroy has been a failure.
Batman proceeds to take out all the military thugs, even bloodying up one. This simple act lets the audience know that this DC movie will be more adult in nature than their previous release JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, which was a low point for DC animation. The animation in this film is clean and has an American Manga like style to it similar to the Young Justice animated series. Batman finishes the fight breaking a man’s wrist and punishing the Riddler. Waller alerts someone through radio that it’s time for Task Force X and another Suicide mission. Fade to black.
The next few scenes introduce the current roster of the Suicide Squad which includes Killer Frost, King Shark, Black Spider, KGBeast, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and Deadshot. Each is individually captured, but the part that is actually really interesting is the violence and blood that they show in order for the viewer to know how bad these characters really are. Each of these characters is shown drafted into the service of one Amanda Waller. Before this scene is completed one of these characters will not be around, demonstrating the seriousness of service to Waller. This is all within the first ten minutes of the movie.
Without wanting to give too much of the story away, there are multiple twists and turns which surround this new Suicide Squad not only attempting to break into Arkham Asylum, but also twists and turns while they try to escape. Unfortunately the Joker plays a role in this movie, something the audience might think they want but most hard-core players of the games could have done without. Most viewers will love the role that he plays but again gamers have to be getting tired of him.
As this movie is supposed to be connected to the Arkham Asylum games, it makes for the fourth time that viewers have been exposed to him recently. The Joker is a fantastic character with a rich history, just like many of Batman’s villains — almost all of whom could carry a game or a movie without the Joker’s aid. Also, the movie makes Joker far too physically dangerous. His skills surpass almost any rendition of the character seen in recent history, even proving to be a challenge to highly trained assassins and murderers.
The Joker of present seems to not only be a threat mentally but now he can hold his own physically, which kind of takes away from the character. Still his subplot is enjoyable and the voice work provided by Troy Baker is an excellent copy of Mark Hamill’s work as the character.
Attack on Arkham isn’t without flaws but it is highly enjoyable, is visually appealing, and the voice acting is top-notch. It belongs in any fans collection especially if the viewer wants to enjoy a more adult super-hero movie than some of the ones being provided by DC’s rivals.