Friday, October 17, 2014

DVD Review - Batman: Assault on Arkham

I've been a Batman fan since I first followed his adventures in SuperFriends and Batman and the Super 7. I've enjoyed all of his different incarnations from the kid friendly SuperFriends to the campy Batman '66 to the grim and gritty Dark Knight. He's a character that works well in all forms and all genres. And his popularity just seems to keep growing, which is probably why he seems to appear in every other DC Original Animated Movie.

Batman: Assault on Arkham is a direct-to-DVD original animated action superhero movie. It has Batman in the title, but the movie really focuses on the Suicide Squad with Batman making appearances at the beginning and the end. It is appropriate for teenagers and up due to violence, language, and sexual situations.

The Good

Story. This movie had a really good, solid story with a tight plot, and excellent pacing. I never got bored or started looking at my watch once. I was also never confused as to what was going on, and yet it still managed a few surprises that I didn't expect but that fit and seemed appropriate.

Action.The action started from the first minute and didn't let up until the end. And it was exciting action, well animated, with pretty good variety.

Voice Acting. Kevin Conroy was back, and he always does an excellent job as do the other voice actors.

The Bad

Adult Elements. This movie is one of the most violent versions of Batman I've seen with several characters having their heads blown off on screen. There is more skin shown than necessary, and the language was coarser than other DC Original Animated Movies. It felt gratuitous meaning it wasn't necessary and didn't add to the story. It felt a little desperate like the producers were trying to do something to attract viewers and set this apart. Note to producers: great story and solid animation always works.

Amanda Waller. I'm not an Amanda Waller fan, but there are times the character works and adds. This isn't one of them. She was as cardboard cutout and ruthless as they come. I'm fine with cardboard cutout characters as long as they're interesting. She wasn't. I'm fine with ruthless as long as the character is intriguing. She wasn't.

Thin Story. While I thought the story was solid, it was a little skimpy. The bare minimum happened to move the story along. It felt more like an incident then a fully developed movie or story. It could have used a few interesting subplots to fill out the world. They had the time.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I would have enjoyed more story and more stuff happening. Most of these original movies seem pretty thin on story, I suppose to keep the action moving. This felt more like an incident than a complete story or movie. I would have enjoyed a few more subplots and a little more development of relationships. I also think the adult elements could have been toned down. They didn't add to the story and seemed to be a desperate attempt to cover the weak story.


Overall, Batman: Assault on Arkham was an entertaining 70 minutes. It was fun. It was exciting. And while it wasn't anything groundbreaking, it wasn't a rehash of the same old same old. It's definitely worth renting. Maybe even worth owning if you are a big fan of Batman or action animation. I give it 4 boxes of popcorn out of 5.

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