Lucien’s Review: Batman: Assault on Arkham

Batman Assault on ArkhamThis is the second film by Warner Bros. Animation studio that I have seen.  And, just like the last one, it has a lot of very admirable qualities, and a lot of really dull ones that make this film excellent for a night with popcorn, but not a movie that we will be revisiting in the future.  Made me think of Pacific Rim, which is another film with that quality.  That’s not to say that it’s a bad movie.  It really isn’t.  But I doubt that I’ll ever watch it again.  Still, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.  Let’s talk about the film, first, then we’ll go into its flaws.

Set in the same universe as Rocksteady’s Arkham franchise, this happens somewhere before the first game.  They don’t say where, specifically, it is, but you don’t really need to know.  The story begins with a woman who works for the US government in cahoots with the Riddler.  She tries to double-cross him after he double-crosses her.  When Batman interferes, she forms a squad of some of the deadliest and worst criminals she can find.  With each of them having a bomb implanted inside them, they are tasked with breaking into Arkham and getting the data that Riddler has back.  It’s a suicide mission, in every sense of the word.  Meanwhile, the Bat has his own objective and time is of the essence.  Especially once the biggest of Arkham’s residents gets involved.

Now, talking about the elements of the film, much like the last film from this studio that I watched, the fight sequences are buttery-smooth.  For real, nobody can make action scenes with animation like these people.  Well, with the possible exception of Madhouse.  But these people know their stuff when it comes to making a fight scene that is great to watch.  This film was almost wall-to-wall action and it made the most of every frame of that.  Despite this studio’s shortcomings in terms of story and character, it can do action like nobody else.

Then there is the characters.  The suicide squad can be loads of fun.  There are a couple characters who just tickle me pink.  There is the always-fun Harley Quinn, who is voiced by the same woman who did the character in Arkham City.  Then there is a woman named Frost, who is voiced by one of my favorite voice-actresses – Jennifer Hale.  For real, everything she voices is instantly gold.  The woman has a gift.  She is paired up with a monster called Killer Shark, which is clearly a riff on Killer Croc.  Still, the little bond that forms between Shark and Frost is fun to watch.  Then there is my favorite element – Troy Baker’s Joker!  Troy Baker is back, doing the voice of the best of Batman’s rogue gallery.  He is an awesome replacement for Mark Hamill, and he does great here.  Kevin Conroy is doing his gig as Batman, but he is in this movie for so little an amount of time that it almost doesn’t matter.

Which brings me to the film’s shortcomings.  Like the last film from this studio that I watched, Son of Batman, this movie is WAY too short.  You have almost no time to care about the characters.  You get a little bit of a chummy and adversarial bond that forms between certain members, but it never really goes anywhere.  Then you have the plot, which is bare-bones.  This is especially annoying, given how this should have been a lot darker.  They could have spent some time at the Asylum and really gotten us a look at things there, in a more typical capacity.  Maybe show some more of the rogues gallery.  But no, it’s short, direct, to-the-point and over way too fast.  This studio seems to have a real problem with taking a break and developing character.  It’s like they expect us to just know these people and not ask questions.  That’s almost never a good sign.

All things considered, this movie is a fun ride, but it’s not a ride that I am going to want to take over again.  It got me where I wanted to go and was a nice time, but that’s it.  Too bad, because this film could have been so much more.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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