There’s a simple formula when choosing which film to watch from the DC Animated Universe library. If it’s based on a published comic book storyline (Unless it’s Son Of Batman), watch it post-haste! If it happens to be a more original production, don’t avoid it, but don’t get your hopes up either. Batman: Assault On Arkham falls into that latter category, with a flick that is fun, but hardly exceptional.
And straight off the bat, the one thing that Batman: Assault On Arkham sets out to do is create a DC film with a different beat, in the form of a heist movie. Starring Task Force X aka the Suicide Squad from the comics, a team of sanctioned supervillains who take on missions for the blacks ops side of the US government, this eclectic bunch of criminals, maniacs and nutjobs have to infiltrate the infamous Arkham Asylum and retrieve some property belonging to the Riddler.
Thanks to a small explosive implanted near their grey matter, loyalty is guaranteed, forcing a team made up of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, King Shark and Black Spider to quickly work together to get in, get out and accomplish their goals before a certain Dark Knight catches up to them.
And as a dysfunctional team, the film works. There’s a solid cast of voices here, with Kevin Conroy’s Batman playing second fiddle in his own film to the likes of the Suicide Squad, Edward Nigma and the Joker himself who happens to have an agenda of his own from inside of Arkham.
There’s a genuine team dynamic here that works, with the various characters having chemistry in their interactions. It’s also a fun film, believe it or not, with the heist angle giving the usual DC animated film a fresh spin. What it isn’t however, is a very long spin as the story quickly devolves.
With the Suicide Squad forced to work alongside one another and a Joker sub-plot that is clumsily tied into the main story, the actual meat of the film feels rushed and sloppy, even if the characters inside are planning a smooth job.
Con-jobs and third-act betrayals are more obvious than a Joker knife in the back, with cliched plots stolen from better genre films being worked into the flow of the story, resulting in an experience that makes you feel like you’ve seen all this before.
On the plus side though, Assault On Arkham is another sterling example of how to animate several fight scenes perfectly. From Batman taking down a black ops assault team that relies on stormtrooper theory, through to the Suicide Six finding out why Batman is so dangerous (With one scene in particular guaranteeing that King Shark will never ever have children), the film excels at exciting action sequences.
Batman: Assault on Arkham isn’t a bad film, thanks to a talented and entertaining cast of characters that help carry the film, but it’s hardly the finest example of what the DC Animated Universe is capable of.
Last Updated: August 5, 2014