While I’m a big fan of the DCU Animated films and even put last year’s amazing Dark Knight Returns film on my top 5 movie list for 2013, I have to say, I’m a little tired of DC Animation focusing on Batman and Superman. So I wasn’t particularly excited about their latest effort Batman Assault on Arkham. Boy was I wrong.
Will Warner Brothers please wise up and have their animation department run their film division? Please how is it possible they consistently get it right while the movie side can’t shoot straight? At some point in the last few years, the team on the DC Animated team have come to the realization that there must be more adults watching these films, especially the Batman ones, than children as they have abandoned almost all pretense of being made for families.
Dark Knight Returns would have gotten an R rating if it it was in theaters and this one would be an hard R. The level of brutality and sexual innuendo in this movie was so shocking that I gasped at certain times.
The reason this Batman can get away with the over the top brutality is that it isn’t a Batman film much at all, it’s actually about the government’s top secret team of villains that are used as assassins. You do a job for Amanda Waller (CCH Pounder) and time gets shaved off your sentence. She doesn’t much care if things get messy as long as her objectives are met and their involvement isn’t discovered. This time out she’s after a secret file that was stolen by the Riddler and is stored in Arkham Asylum’s weapons/storage room.
Her assembled team of crazies include Deadshot (Neal McDonough), Captain Boomerang, and newcomers King Shark (John DiMaggio), the ice killer Killer Frost (Jennifer Hale) and the Black Spider (Giancarlo Esposito). Of course these guys don’t like each other, but they have to do what Waller says or they die gruesome deaths. Waller shows them and the audience she means business in the first few minutes of the film. Kevin Conroy returns to voice Batman and Troy Baker is The Joker.
The voice acting in this movie is awesome, there’s no deadweight in the bunch and it’s really nice to hearing everyone’s favorite Batman voice Kevin Conroy returning to the fold. A special shoutout goes to Hynden Walch wonderfully deranged and hysterically funny turn as Harley Quinn. Her voice work is flawless and completely over the top as you’d expect Harley to be.
This is why the film works so well. Director Jay Oliva and his writing team don’t sugar coat these guys. We’re not presented with a backstory on why or how they became villains. They just are and they are cold blooded killers who enjoy what they do, yet somehow we do come to know these guys as people and for some strange reason I found myself rooting for these guys, even as they are taking extreme delight in killing the guards at Arkham.
The movie balances the carnage with a lot of hysterical funny moments, if I had a complaint it would be that once again the ending relies heavily on the Joker voiced by Troy Baker, getting involved in the mayhem, which of course brings Batman back into the game.
For me this film was a perfect blend of action comedy mixed with a solid, gritty story and animation style. It is everything a Batman fan would want and is one of the best films in any genre on any platform of 2014.
The Blu-ray has the standard DCU Extras that we all know, expect and love including a couple of choice episodes from the vault, a nice 10 minute look at their upcoming Aquaman feature, a behind the scenes look at the making of this one, a Harley Quinn retrospective and a UV Digital Copy – it’d be nice if it included an iTunes Extra enabled digital copy, but what can you do?
- Movie – A+
- Audio/Video Quality – A
- Extras – A
Final Overall Grade – A+