The Riddler bites off a little more than he can chew as he targets the US government and the ire of it's top agent, Amanda Waller. Even, after Batman saves the Riddler, Waller still harbors a score to settle. Enter: Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad. Their mission? Infiltrate Arkham Asylum and kill the Riddler. Only problem is, Batman is still lurking the halls trying to stop the Joker and his latest insane plan. Chaos is most definitely going to ensue!
That's basically the flimsy wire-thin plot of Batman: Assault on Arkham, which in truth is a stealth Suicide Squad movie. Much like the previous two movies: Justice League: War and Son of Batman, plot is jettisoned out a window for convenience and the focus is entirely on action and gore. The thing is: this movie does a better job at it than the previous DC Animated movie fare. Being in the "Arkham Universe," which is far darker and bleaker than the standard DC fare, I kind of was hoping it would push the limits, and it did.
Yes, the plot is really thin and, honestly, this time around I didn't mind, unlike another more recent movie, which instead tried ripping off other various superhero fare. This type of movie I'm used to: barely existing plot and lots of action/violence. So while my brain was screaming mad, my heart loved every second of this.
The problem I have is: it didn't push them further and, in the end, the movie doesn't make a lick of sense (why send in a group of people who are targeting a person who literally has the keys to their freedom) given it's place in the world it plays in. This movie should have pushed more limits, and yet it held back while some elements are downright laughable. Biting and chewing on a human ear is okay to hint and show (along with human heads going boom), but no actual nudity during some very adult themes going on.. *GASP* We can't show that! Why, I ask? (Editor's note: 'Murica.)
Another minor element I loved about this film was the NUMEROUS call-backs and Easter Eggs to previous Batman movies. You could pause the movie at certain points and just take in the little things the film tips its hat to (for some reason the people behind this movie loved Batman Returns).
Still, the main drawing point of this for me, and this is probably the strongest positive this film has, is Deadshot/Floyd Lawton voiced by Neal McDonough (Justified, Dum Dum Dugan in Marvel Movie/TV Universe, and the voice of Green Arrow in the magnificent DC Showcase short). He easily captures the character down to perfection, and it was just fun to root for the bad guy for once in a “Batman” movie. Now I'm kind of hoping we have another “Batman” movie starring another rogue or Deadshot, but that's never gonna happen.
Plus with this being a Suicide Squad movie, the name lives on quite true with this film as members are viciously mowed down or killed throughout. My only wish was to see Bronze Tiger in this film (since he was teased to join in the hand held Batman Arkham: Origins game) and I'm kind of glad this movie is Deathstroke-free (though he too got a pass in the main port of the game), though I kind of understand why neither character was in this movie. They both would have competed for the already crowded spotlight and they just aren't “expendable” compared to the other characters around the main three.
Now for some praise for the others in the voice cast, namely: C.C.H. Pounder (Amanda Waller), Hynden Walch (reprising her role of Harley Quinn from The Batman series), Greg Ellis (Captain Boomerang), John DiMaggio (King Shark), Jennifer Hale (Killer Frost), Giancarlo Esposito (Black Spider), Nolan North (KGBeast and Penguin), Troy Baker (the Joker), and Kevin Conroy (Batman). They just nail the roles, which isn't surprising considering some have had a hand in them for so many years: Pounder, Walch, and Conroy. The role that surprised me was DiMaggio as King Shark, who stole every scene he was in and honestly made me wish we'd see more of this character, but alas this is the Deadshot, Harley, and Amanda hour. Still, a scene-stealing role that'll steal the hearts of many a fan when seeing this movie.
Batman: Assault on Arkham isn't looking to reinvent the wheel or bound by trying to adapt a New 52 story. Instead, it's just what the doctor ordered in this floundering area of DC Animated Movies. It's an entertaining tale that focuses on a bunch of scalawags and ruffians that could have been even more memorable if they went full on in, instead of just half. Regardless, if you're looking for something mindlessly entertaining then you can't go wrong at all renting or owning this movie as it hits the bullseye in that department. Still going to keep waiting on that Sinestro or Sinestro Corps animated movie, Warner Bros? Yes, I still want one. Come on, wouldn't you?
3 out of 5