I am a junkie for DC animated films. I always watch any that I can, even ones that look bad (Justice League War for example), the newest one known as Assault on Arkham is an animated film I've been looking forward to for a few reasons.
- 1. It's a prequel to Batman Arkham Asylum.
- 2. It's a film about Suicide Squad.
- 3. Neal McDonough is the main star.
To me, the Arkham franchise is the one series other than Batman the Animated Series to adapt the Caped Crusader's universe almost perfectly. It's a shame it's ending with Arkham Knight...sigh. But let's talk about the film.
Assault on Arkham is about Amanda Waller of ARGUS sending Task Force X AKA Suicide Squad into Arkham Asylum to steal the Riddler's cane from their vault. This task force consists of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark, Killer Frost, Captain Boomerang, and Black Spider. Okay just that premise alone if freaking awesome but that's just the premise, was it executed well? I'd say it definitely did!
Remember in my Justice League War review, I gave props to the animators for pretty much everything they did in that movie? Well the animation of this movie is actually BETTER than Justice League War, it's some of the best 2D animation I have ever seen in my life. It's a different style of DC animation though, where Justice League War seemed to be more anime style, this felt more like the DC Animation that I know and love. Everything was so crisp, fluid, along with the colors being very vivid. The interior and exterior design in nearly perfect to how it all looked within the game and that is what really impressed me.
The story isn't the movie's biggest thing because what I told you above is basically all there is for a story. There is a sub-plot with the Joker putting a dirty bomb in Gotham that could wipe out half the population, so Batman is trying to find it. It's actually a cool sub-plot with a twist I didn't see coming. As for the main plot, it was done well. It was really cool to see these villains all work together as best as they can to infiltrate this maximum security asylum. The film resembles a heist film more than a superhero or anti-hero film and I think that's where some people will be let down. Personally I think it worked because it led to some good actions scenes, some funny banter, and some cool scenery.
Like always, I will review each character in detail so that it's easier to express how I felt about them. Let's start off with...
Floyd Lawton AKA Deadshot
The cover says starring Kevin Conroy, that's a bit wrong because the main star is Deadshot voiced by Bruce Banner, Dum Dum Dugan, the Flash, and Green Arrow actor: Neal McDonough. This guy has done a lot of superhero work over the years but my favorite performance out of all them is probably this one. McDonough brings a lot of charm, wit, and likability to the character that I really enjoyed. I'd actually say that McDonough does Deadshot better than the actor from the TV show Arrow, who I felt did a really decent job. Deadshot had some of the best scenes including one where HE PSYCHS THE JOKER! Now that is what I consider awesome. You also root for Deadshot the most because all he wants to do is get back to his daughter and I think that's something we can relate to. Deadshot is tied as the best character in the movie along with our next character.
Harleen Quinzel AKA Harley Quinn
Be still my heart, she is a fictional character unfortunately...but I wish she was real because I love her. Even if she bites people's ears off and is in love with a man who likes to snap people's necks for the hell of it. If you read my article of my Top 10 favorite Batman villains, I put Harley at number one but not only is she my favorite villain but my all time favorite Batman character. She's funny, she's a cool kind of insane, she's just so darn likable, she's beautiful (Yes I just called an animated character hot, what are ya gonna do about it?), and she is an awesome anti-hero! All of this is perfectly demonstrated in this film. There is a scene where she is confronted by Batman, when he tries to throw batarangs at her, Harley performs a Matrix bullet time dodge...
This scene has been Chuck Norris approved. Quick something that I have to give this movie credit for is the design of Harley's jester suit:
Okay why couldn't that be the suit for Arkham City, it would have been better than that street hooker outfit she had. Harley is voiced by Hynden Walch and I think she does a better job at Harley's voice than Tara Strong did. Nothing against Tara, I love her but I think Walch portrayed Harley's voice better. So what's better than Harley in a hot outfit well how about two scenes with Harls naked
and in one of them it's a sex scene...
Ooookay then why don't we move onto another character before I try to find lotion. (Yeah cheap jokes but sometimes I can't resist.)
George Harkness AKA Captain Boomerang
Boomerang and Deadshot had a fun rivalry with funny banter throughout the film. It was cool to see Boomerang adapted in a cool way, which is something I thought would never happen because...well look at his name. The best scene involving Boomerang is a game of darts with Deadshot, oh you know that is going to be fun. Not much more to say, he was decent but not the best.
Louise Lincoln AKA Killer Frost
A character I didn't really expect to appear in the Arkham-verse. Don't think I didn't recognize that voice though, that'd be Fem-Shep AKA Jennifer Hale's voice. Hale is one of my all time favorite voice actresses, she knows how to convey emotion. Here she plays Killer Frost who again not the greatest but does it well enough that she's memorable and I can't address any issues. My favorite scene with her is when she learns about Joker's bombs, so she says,
"Joker's got a dirty bomb? Well that gives me the chills." The Squad just stare at her then Boomerang says, "Ice puns...really?"
Nanaue AKA King Shark
A character I've never heard of until now and I'm the DC nerd here. I always enjoy when DC makes C-List characters the stars and try to give them a shot at becoming memorable. King Shark was basically a tank for the group who gave some comedy relief, he was an okay character. I liked his design though, it was very unique. He had a funny relationship with Killer Frost...wow she's got quite the taste in men.
Eric Needham AKA Black Spider
Eh...he was bland. He didn't do much action, he barely bantered with the group, and he went out easier than anyone else in the film. Not horrible but meh.
Overall the Suicide Squad was great. Good chemistry, good acting, etc. Now let's move onto other characters.
Of course there is Bruce Wayne AKA Batman
He's once again voiced by the King of Batman actors, Kevin Conroy. So you expect awesomeness from the start. While more of a side character, Batman was still cool and provided some really cool action especially towards the end of the film.
Edward "Nigma" Nashton AKA the Riddler
Voiced by Matthew Gray Gubler, Riddler was a decent character who was pretty much just a plot device. Gubler did a great job voicing him, he really sold that insanity of Nigma very well as well as the condescending pompous nature of the character.
Amanda Waller AKA the Wall
You know those villains in movies who are so evil and cold that you just want to reach through the screen and rip their heads off? Yeah Amanda Waller is one of those villains. The voice actress does a MUCH better job at Waller than whoever plays her in Arrow, at least this actress resembles a villain whereas the other actress just acts over the top because they got some random hot actress who came their way because that's how Arrow likes to cast people. Let's get back to Assault on Arkham before I go on a rage rant. Waller was a good villain, like Frost and Shark, not great but serviceable.
The Joker AKA...well no one knows his name...
He's not in the film for very long but he was still enjoyable to watch. He's voiced by Arkham Origins voice actor Troy Baker, who if you don't remember, has become my all time favorite Joker actor, yes even better than Mark Hamill. I can feel sniper lasers of the back of my head for saying that so I'll just move on. Good character, good actor, kind of scary in certain scenes.
Did I find any problems with this movie? Yes but they were minor.
There is a scene towards the end where Joker releases all the villains in Arkham such as Scarecrow, Bane, and Poison Ivy and I feel that those character didn't need to be cameo'd in. It also gives the film a sort of inconsistency with the games. The first game addressed that Bane was never supposed to be in Arkham, he was at Blackgate but Joker brought Bane to Arkham to test TITAN on him. Also it was said that a massive takeover like in Arkham Asylum was something that had never happened before but in this scene, all the same villains do what they did in the games. Ivy creates giant Audrey 2s....trust me that's what they are (If you get that reference then you are awesome), Bane causes havoc, Scarecrow uses his fear toxin on people, it felt forced an unnecessary. These flaws didn't hurt the film, it just sort of scratched it. If that scene didn't happen and it was just the Suicide Squad and inmates fighting the Special Crimes Unit AKA Gotham's SWAT then the movie could have been perfect.
There was a great little nod that many won't notice unless you are a total nerd like myself. Harley is trying to find her mallet in a box of her stuff when she throws a mask away, doesn't that mask look a little familiar?
The ending really made me smile, it was great to see Deadshot with his daughter and take out Waller.
Overall I'd say this is probably one of the best animated DC films I have ever seen. One of my favorites actually. In terms of the Top 5 Animated DC films it goes.
- 5. All-Star Superman
- 4. Batman Assault on Arkham
- 3. Batman Under the Red Hood
- 2. Justice League A New Frontier
- 1. Batman Beyond Return of the Joker (Nostalgia Reasons)
So those are my thoughts on Assault on Arkham. What were your thoughts? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Let me know in the comments below!
Next Animated DC film review: Justice League Flashpoint Paradox. Suggested by Sam Hayes!