At one point the WB animations based on DC Comics titles were a special treat with its quality production and classic stories. Now it’s a bit of a hit-or-miss as it tackles new stories and in this case spun-off of the popular Arkham video game series; how will this one score? Well you’ll have to read Dustin and Kevin’s opinions about the film after the synopsis: When the government teams up a group of supervillains with the code name Suicide Squad and forces them to break into Arkham Asylum to bring back top-secret information the Riddler has stolen, Batman soon becomes involved. But things go from bad to worse when one of the Squad (Harley Quinn) frees the Joker, who has the means to not only blow up the asylum, but most of Gotham City as well.
Batman: Assault on Arkham single handily breaks the string of mediocre to bad DC comic book inspired movies. It take the dynamic and beauty of The Suicide Squad, and knowing that brand may not be enough; adds the strength of the Batman Arkham series in a paring that works very well together.
Even though the feature is based on existing properties it does a great job in meshing the two together, all the while making use of its PG-13 rating. That extra leeway really lets the content that would come with a bunch of crazy villains forwarding the narrative. Plus without the shackles of a comic book arc that is trying to be recreated for the screen there is a lot more freedom. From side-boob, sassy dialog to heads popping off, this isn’t your father’s Suicide Squad. Each character is given enough time to shine as they all jock for position and also letting the audience experience some lower rung DC alumni that they may never have known existed. Granted the movie pushes main stays like Harley Quinn and Deadshot, but something tells me that old King Shark will be walking away with some new fans.
From the animation to the voice acting, the experience is top-notch. The action looks great, epically the confrontations with Batman. They’re fast, smooth, and awesomely violent. But most importantly they are a blast to watch. The voice acting works well due to the fact you have fan favorite Kevin Conroy as Batman and Troy Baker, who does a great Mark Hamill-ish Joker. But the one who takes the cake is CCH Pounder’s performance as Amanda Waller. She is so good in setting precedence in her delivery and sets such a high bar for quality that she almost seals the show… almost.
At first I was worried about this film. The opening wasn’t the strongest, but then once you got past the annoying club mix song and the real story began, well it was one hell of a movie. I hope that they do more PG-13 animations because this one was able to have a level of maturity that some of the previous animations are attempting and failing to reach.
Now that doesn’t mean that all of their animations should be mature; after all even I was a bit shocked to see Harley Quinn wrap her legs around Deadshot, naked in bed and yell “Yahtzee.” In fact there did seem to be mature scenes for the sake of being mature, but it wasn’t terribly distracting and was actually a welcomed change from the previous WB film Son of Batman.
What helped with the characters was the voice acting. The voice actors actually tried to embody the characters rather than putting stars of other WB shows in the lead roles and telling them to talk normal. This cast though, delivers some of the best performances in animation and really brought each and every character to life no matter how small the role may have been. They were the Suicide Squad.
The action played a key role in the success of the film as well. The fights felt real as each character played to their strengths and some fight choreography was borrowed from live action movies which worked out quite well. With the action came the danger; they are the Suicide Squad so they can die at any moment and the film does just that. Don’t get too comfortable or your favorite character could bite the big one.
Overall this is by far the most successful WB animation since just before they announced the final line up for the Premiere line. The voice acting was top-notch, the animation was spectacular and the overall story was enjoyable and entertaining. Hopefully they take some notes from this one and deliver more like this.
Directors: Jay Oliva, Ethan Spaulding Voice Director: Andrea Romano Writer: Heath Corson Studio: WB Price: $24.98 Release Date: 8/12/14