Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)

Riddle me this: “Who survives a suicide mission?” Answer: No need, since you’re dead!

Batman - Assault on Arkham

Warner Bros. Animation in association with DC Entertainment and Warner Home Video present…

Directed by Jay Oliva (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and 2) and together with Ethan Spaulding (The Legend of Korra), they provided another action thriller that will blow your mind as it revolves around a group of super villains turned into anti heroes being forcefully abducted, taken from prison and recruited to do the government’s bidding for high stake missions where no one is guaranteed to come back alive!

Unlike the previous films being developed through comic book adaptations, this one is set on the Batman: Arkham video game franchise which has more fulfillment in terms of a diversified genre being used to approach the dark knight’s universe as a whole and making it reach out to a whole new fan base for DC Comic’s plethora of adventures!

Leading the charge is Amanda Waller with the voice of returning alumni C.C.H Pounder (Face/Off) from the Justice League animated TV series. She serves as their liaison officer, a warden of sorts in the playing field which is why she is called “The Wall” since nobody gets out of her jurisdiction! After a mishap with a black ops unit to get the nuisance Riddler played by Matthew Gray Gubler (All-Star Superman) now,  Amanda is forced to activate her “most valuable assets”…whether they like it or not!

The primary operatives who have done their missions before are: Neal McDonough (RED 2) belongs to another set of inductees from both sides of the fence of the industry as he plays the main man, the self-appointed no non-sense team leader Deadshot, he does the job as long as he doesn’t get screwed up by his employers or there will be a definite reckoning and he will not miss those who have wronged him! While rounding off his team mates are Hynden Walch (Groundhog Day) as the crazy Harley Quinn who loves her “Puddin” but can’t resist getting her hands on another cake, gives a another angle to the story as she guides the team inside Arkham while getting close to her real intended personal goals! Greg Ellis (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) who is known for his voice over work for television, films and video games such as “Dragon Age” and “Resistance” is Captain Boomerang a native of Australia who became a member of the infamous “Rogues”, a group of super criminals out to destroy their nemesis the Flash! His part gives him more susceptibility with the former two comrades at arms oftentimes seen bunting heads with Floyd Lawton out of jealousy of taking lead or just because he is second rate in terms of hitting the intended targets!

First time agents being arrested are given to the following: Giancarlo Esposito (Doing Hard Time) an award winning actor for his accomplishments in a role from the television series “Breaking Bad”, his character portrayal of the Black Spider was quite uninteresting not because of the actor’s performance but rather the essence of what makes the murderer of drug dealers has imprinted so far in his career as a Batman’s villain.

While John DiMaggio (Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust) is best known for his works in “Futurama” playing the drunkard robot Bender while providing voice work from other animated studios, he is King Shark, the big brawn of the group who has a penchant for bathing in blood, will do anything for his superiors but with the exception of high places since he has acrophobia! Last but not the least is Jennifer Hale (In the Line of Duty: Manhunt in Arkansas), another thespian who lends her talent in video gaming and was hailed as 2013’s Guinness Book of World Records as the “most prolific voice actor”! Always has a cold heart that is why she was given another mission to perform, she can be loyal to anyone but everything has a price! It seemed easy for them to get in but they will have to set aside their differences and animosity with one another in order to get the job done as the saying goes “keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer!”.

In retrospect, we only covered the main team and leaving him out in the open would be criminal! Troy Baker (Impostor) is the very rarely beleaguered Joker, while being incarcerated in the “Mad House”, his role serves more purpose on the back end of the plot leaving everyone gasping for air! While his mimicry for the all time great Mark Hamill in voicing the “Prince of Crime” is uncanny and I would not have it any other way! His version here is also tweaked to be more of a capable fighter unlike his former representation in all forms of medium!  Speaking of the “greats” Kevin Conroy (I Know the Voice) reprises his role as the big bad bat! Following the apprehension of Edward Nygma, he takes on the squad in uncharted territory (yeah right) to expose truths and find a way to stop the City of Gotham to turn into a “dirty” place to live in!

Straight from the shelves, the direct to dvd has garnered so far over $4.6 million dollars in the last six months just to whet the appetite of diehard fan boys (not from all ages) and enthusiasts from both the gaming community, film buffs and the comic book readers! Although many would prefer including me to let the actual product be made as the catalyst for the given project. I was hoping the “Suicide Squad” or “Task Force X” be able to stand for itself while placing “Assault on Arkham” as its secondary title! Marketing can be a little stringent when it comes to promoting such films since you would have to consider the one name that can bring in the money for your company and in this case it is Batman!

Nevertheless, it was really fun to watch even with a whole of criminals running loose in the foray; they were still able to inject a whole lot of primary super villains in the process to instigate more of the chaos! With these animated features, DC Comics and Warner Bros. can still push the envelope when it comes to covering a lot more ground with their characters, creative and insightful to say the least knowing that these direction leads to better understanding and appreciation from the audience while taking phase and become a fruition for their upcoming live action film coming 2016!

Until the next suicide mission…


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