A great piece of animation, taking us on a ride meeting the suicide squad and the secret agency Argus with some characters that you might not have heard of before but will definitely enjoy and love by the end.
I should point out that even though the movie is called Batman: Assault on Arkham, some people might be surprised to find out that Batman actually is not the main character and only appears for about a third of the movie.
The film features various villains guided however by an unlike source, and of course Batman cannot just stand by while chaos erupts regardless of the reasons behind.
The movie starts off with an explosive scene with Batman chasing and tracking down the Riddler who is in fact being chased down by Argus agents instructed by Amanda Waller. After a big confrontation and with the Riddler back in Arkham Asylum, the movie takes a shift introducing to us various villains including Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Black Spider, KGBeast, Killer Frost, King Shark and Captain Boomerang. By this introduction i can guarantee you that this movie will have your deep interest.
The villains are assembled in a secret room with Amanda Waller briefing them regarding their upcoming mission. We can see that some of the villains have already been in this situation before where as for some this is a complete mystery. Amanda Waller calls the team Task Force X but we know them much better now as Suicide Squad.
The briefing reveals that the team have to brake in Arkham Asylum and recover a hard drive which is located in the Riddler's cane. People might think at this point "Why on earth would the villains care or be willing to co-operate??" For 2 reasons: Firstly Amanda Waller has the power to reduce their sentences in exchange for their co-operation and secondly she has placed active explosives in the heads of the villains making them expendable is she wishes so.
The lack of Batman during a big part of the movie by no means brings the movie down, in fact the use of Batman through out the movie is used brilliantly. I was so interested to learn of this new team of villains and explore them more as individuals and in a funny way we get to see a more humane side to characters who have caused so much trouble across the comics.
We see Deadshot taking the role as team leader, Captain Boomerang is trying to show off constantly, King Shark actually tries to eat Killer Frost during the first team encounter however them two develop a really interesting bond across the film. The whole film actually has a great sense of dark humor and a big part of that is provided by non other that Harley Quinn! She provides a great sense of humor as well as a breathe of fresh air in the team, Hynden Walch provides us with a brilliant voice over over Harley Quinn with a perfect pitch voice and an electrifying and energetic appearance that simply makes you love Harley and all the craziness she brings along. Deadshot and she form another unexpected romance, and it’s this turn of events that makes Harley more fresh and interesting than ever -- finally she’s into someone other than the Joker.
For people who might be disappointed that i have not yet mentioned the Clown Prince of Crime do not be dishearten, Mr J does show up eventually but not as a member of the team, in a very fun and explosive clash between him and Harley once inside Arkham. I should note that Troy Baker has done a fantastic job performing as the Joker challenging the voice performances of Mark Hamill, he truly makes us remember why we can never have enough of that insanely brilliant villain.
The creators of the movie had done a very good job in barely bringing the Batman voiced to perfection by Kevin Conroy and the Joker into contact hence the spotlight remains on the Suicide Squad. The team members are so watchable, so unpredictable, and so likable that it’s better off this way.
It's worth noting that the movie takes place after the events of the Batman: Arkham Origins video game, although you can still fully enjoy the movie without having played it. For those who have, there are some neat references, connections, and Easter eggs. Plus, it’s just cool to see the video game designs of characters like Bane and Poison Ivy pop up in an animated feature.
I should note that the movie has quite a bit of mature content, including cursing, blood, violence, exploding heads, and a sex scene however it is all placed together so well that it becomes an integral part of the movie. The entire movie brings out such a well organized story and performances, the use of music is excellent as well.
Having said all the above he movie is great, yes, but it’s not without its flaws. Waller starts off in spectacularly formidable fashion, but in the latter half she’s nothing more than a screaming voice in an earpiece, making her come off a little too naive as to what the squad is really up to.
Black Spider is the one weak link in the team, his character is severely undeveloped, his design is too similar to Deadshot’s, and he’s curiously left out of the explosive introduction shot, making him feel like an unimportant addition to the team. Lastly, Batman has pupils, and it just doesn’t work.
The Harley history lesson is a success, providing a first-hand account of her creation and growth. And i wish that they could have provided us with some more history of the team as they did so well with Harley. What’s lacking is a piece on the history of the Suicide Squad in comics.
Batman: Assault on Arkham was a pleasant surprised and defied my personal expectations. With the movie coming out next year and having had a first trailer being released for Suicide Squad then this animated blockbuster from WB animation and DC comics is the perfect place to start off to prepare yourself for their arrival to the big screen. Their fun interactions and clashing character dynamics keep the energy levels high so you won’t even notice that Batman’s appearances are being saved only for special occasions. The mature content is handled well, infusing the heist elements with real stakes. While there are some flaws as i mentioned above this is still a refreshingly different kind of DC animated feature worth checking out.