The world of the Batman: Arkham video game is brought to vivid animated life with DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Batman: Assault on Arkham. The Dark Knight takes a backseat to the bad guys in what is the comic book equivalent of a heist or search and rescue flick much like Red, Ocean’s 11, Escape from New York, and others. The movie takes place after the events in Batman: Arkham Origins. It’s an exciting and humorous romp that will thrill fans of the game franchise and “mature” enthusiasts of superheroes.
Amanda Waller puts together a team of super villains to infiltrate Arkham Asylum and complete an unfinished job. She wants the Riddler assassinated for some secret knowledge he possesses. Black Spider, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, KGBeast, and King Shark are all forced to comply to her wishes thanks to an explosive planted in their necks which Waller can detonate if they don’t fulfill her demands.
One thing DC animated movie buffs will be happy about is the return of Kevin Conroy in the role of Batman. The rest of the voice cast is fine, but they’re overshadowed every time the Dark Knight appears onscreen. Troy Baker does his best Mark Hamill impersonation as the Joker. I really thought it was Hamill until the credits rolled at the end.
Batman: Assault on Arkham is presented in 1080p High Definition (1.78:1) and 5.1 Dolby Digital. The picture is clean and highlights the great stylized animation. I always notice that the DC animated movies have this strange haze over them, but I just overlook it and concentrate on what’s going on within the story below the fog. The surround sound sets viewers right in the thick of the excitement and tension. You can really feel it.
A word of caution to parents out there with children who love superheroes. Batman: Assault on Arkham isn’t kid-friendly in any form or fashion. It’s rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, and language. We’re not talking your typical comic book violence, either. Several heads are blown off for example. Harley Quinn shows quite a bit of skin and there’s a scene of Deadshot and her tumbling around in bed together. The language is on par with what you would get in any action movie released today starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Liam Neeson, or Sylvester Stallone. However, the “F” word is never dropped.
The Blu-Ray edition of Batman: Assault on Arkham contains a pleasing amount of bonus material. A featurette entitled 'Arkham Analyzed: The Secrets Behind the Asylum' and feature commentary are exclusive to the release. Other featurettes include 'The Joker’s Queen – Harley Quinn' and a sneak preview of the upcoming Justice League: Throne of Atlantis animated movie. It also contains four bonus cartoons from the DC Comics vault.
Batman: Assault on Arkham will thrill fans of the video game franchise it’s based on. People unfamiliar with the “Arkham Asylum,” “Arkham City,” and “Arkham Origins” universe need not worry. I don’t play all of the games and had no problem jumping right in.
For more articles by Eric Shirey that don't fit on Moviepilot, check out his official website.