Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
I guess on one hand we should take umbrage with Warner Brothers / DC and their animated film 'Batman: Assault on Arkham'.  I mean it has Batman prominently featured on the cover and The Batman's name is in the title, but it is not a Batman film, it is a film about the team of psychos, miscreants and never-do-wells known as The Suicide Squad, with The Batman off to the side in support.   But on the other hand, we know Warner Brothers / DC has to move product, and most unsuspecting mothers probably aren't going buy their nine year olds a movie with Deadshot and two over sexualized women on the cover blazing the title 'The Suicide Squad'.   I know my mom wouldn't have brought it for me back in the day, but loving some Adam West, she would've brought me Batman all day long.  Yay deceptive marketing!  We didn't mind this so much because the movie was actually pretty darned good.

The abhorrent agency boss Amanda Waller (voiced by CCH Pounder) needs a job done.  She needs a certain group of people possessing a certain skillset to retrieve an item, this item being the cane of the Riddler (Matthew Gray Gubler) which has some critical information and is locked away somewhere in the notorious Arkham Asylum.  Now I'm thinking Amanda, being as juiced as she is, could've just asked for it, but Ms. Waller is nothing if not a control freak. 

Thus Amanda has kidnapped six very dangerous people, these being the total whackjob that is Harley Quinn (Hynden Walch), the overly righteous Black Spider (Giancarlo Esposito), the super annoying Captain Boomerang (Greg Ellis), the cold as ice but super-hot Killer Frost (Jennifer Hale), the cannibalistic King Shark (John DiMaggio) and lastly this films real star, the lethal assassin Deadshot (Neal McDonough).  There was one more killer Waller hired but he wasn't really a team player, nor a believer in her methods of control, and now KGBeast is no longer with us. 
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So what we have on our hands here is Oceans Six, as these criminals attempt to execute this heist at Arkham with as little fanfare as possible, grab the cane, and then just casually walk out.  While also making sure not to alert The Batman. 

Did any of that happen?  Of course not because that wouldn't have been very entertaining.  If Waller said keep it low key, the Suicide Squad heard 'make as much noise as possible'.  Batman has gotten wind of this little operation and is on his way to bust some heads at Arkham, and since Harley is around The Joker can't be far behind.   And if The Joker is added to this already combustible mix, then Chaos and Mayhem shall be the order of the day.  And as suspected, Chaos, Mayhem and exploding heads shall ensue.

It would appear with each animated film released by Warner / DC, they push the envelope just… a little bit… further.  I don't think I've seen a more violent animated film from Warner / DC than 'Assault on Arkham', will the exploding heads, murders, violent deaths and whatnot, and I know haven't seen a more sexualized one.  Ah… what kind of animated world would it be if villainesses and heroines didn't have 22 inch waists and weren't in possession of solid C-cups?  It would be a terrible animated world I tell you.   But of course an overload of violence, inappropriately dressed animated females and cartoons getting down doesn't mean a thing if the content contained in all of this animated debauchery is lousy, and I personally found the content in 'Assault on Arkham' entertaining.  Wildly so at times. 

Based more on the video games than the actual Batman comics, videogames I have played a bit, there's a couple of things at work here.  For starters, our heroes are villains, with Deadshot being the lead here, a character who is nothing if not inconsistent in his presentation from the various TV Shows, animated shows, movies and comics we see Floyd Lawton in.  Since our heroes our villains, the writers of this epic have a little more leeway in how they treat these villainous heroes we will be spending time with.  In a Justice League movie, we can be pretty certain nobody goings to get their heads blown clean off, in this movie… anybody can go at any time, and that does amp up the tension just a little bit. 

The script written for our voice cast was smart and clever in spots, there was some nice humor… dark humor perhaps… but humor nonetheless.  Obviously there was a lot of action as that is staple of all of these Warner  / DC animated features… be they good or bad… , the voice acting was rock solid and the anime styled animation was amongst the best that Warner Bros. Animation has put out to date.  Even the running length, which is almost always at 75 minutes and also almost always feels like they rush to cram everything in, seemed to work for this one as it was paced just about right.  It was a fast moving piece of work, to be sure, but it didn't feel like a rushed piece of work. 

Other than the fact that the narrative isn't much to write home about, and in the age of Ray Rice, the Joker / Harely Quinn relationship may be a little upsetting for some, I'm pleased with what I got from 'Batman: Assault on Arkham'.  And I guess if I were a bigger Batman fan I'd be upset he wasn't in it more, but we are even okay with that. 
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