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Batman: Assault on Arkham

DC Comics/Warner Bros. Animation, 2014

Directed by Jay Oliva (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: War) and Ethan Spaulding (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Based upon characters created by Bob Kane (1915-1998), Bill Finger (1914-1974), and DC Comics.

Running Time: 76 minutes

Rated PG-13 for graphic violence, slight nudity, sexual situations, and strong language.

Cast

Kevin Conroy (THE animated Batman) as Bruce Wayne/Batman

Neil McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan in Captain America: The First Avenger, M. Bison in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot

Hynden Walch as Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn

Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon in Alvin and the Chipmunks) as Edward Nygma/Riddler

Troy Baker (Joel in The Last of Us, Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain) as The Joker

C. C. H. Pounder (Mo'at in Avatar, Angela in ER) as Amanda Waller

Greg Ellis (Lt. Groves in Pirates of the Caribbean, Rocket Raccoon in Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes) as George Harkness/Captain Boomerang

Giancarlo Esposito (Cassius Clay, Sr. in Ali, Ra's al Ghul in Son of Batman) as Eric Needham/Black Spider

John DiMaggio (Crosshairs in Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Joker in Batman: Under the Red Hood) as Nanaue/King Shark

Jennifer Hale (Elektra in Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Starfire in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) as Louise Lincoln/Killer Frost

Nolan North (Raphael in TMNT, Ant-Man in Ultimate Avengers) as Anatoly Knyazev/KGBeast and Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin

Chris Cox (Star-Lord in Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Deadshot in Batman: Arkham City) as Commissioner James Gordon

Martin Jarvis as Alfred Pennyworth

Christian Lanz as Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow

Synopsis

Batman barges in on a capture operation headed by government agent Amanda Waller and sends the Riddler back to Arkham Asylum. In response, Waller assembles Task Force X - a ragtag band of assassins, villains, and convicts assigned to sneak into Arkham and retrieve the Riddler's cane, which contains top-secret information about the Suicide Squad. Failure to cooperate will result in their self-destruction via explosives implanted in their necks. At the same time, the team must be careful not to attract the Dark Knight's attention.

"Yahtzee!"

Story: B

At last, a full-length animated feature about DC's much talked-about antihero team Suicide Squad. But there's a catch: In order for DC to make quick bucks out of it, they marketed it as a Batman feature - despite the Caped Crusader not actually being the main focus of the story. In addition, it's a side-story to the acclaimed Batman: Arkham video game series.

Assault on Arkham does a pretty good job at inserting humor between the main characters and having them interact with Batman and members of his Rogues Gallery. As with nearly all superhero or supervillain teams, there are tensions between members of Task Force X - especially between Deadshot and Captain Boomerang. There are even some Easter Eggs to look out for within Arkham. Compared to other DC animated features, this one borderlines on the R rating due to a lot of fan service, courtesy of Harley Quinn and Killer Frost.

Animation: B-

In contrast to Bruce Timm's iconic cartoon art, Assault on Arkham is drawn in a more realistic, comic book style. It's a case of love-it or hate-it, as it displays average Korean-made artwork and animation. The idea of Batman fighting a black-ops team in the beginning is great, but the execution leaves much to be desired due to erratic pacing and framerates. The battle between Batman and Task Force X is pretty intense, though.

Soundtrack: C+

The background music by Robert J. Kral (Superman: Doomsday, Green Lantern: First Flight) is just that - background music, as it's generic and hardly noticeable throughout the film.

The Bottom Line

Despite not really having Batman most of the time, Batman: Assault on Arkham is a good rental for those who are itching to know more about the Suicide Squad before they make their big screen debut in 2016.

"Don't call me pudding!"

References

The Internet Movie Database

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