Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Batman Assault on Arkham: I never thought I'd see people breaking into Arkham...

It has been 75 years since Batman first appeared to the world. One the two mascots of DC Comics and one of the most well known superheroes of this day an age thanks to the overall success of his appearances in other mediums (including the Adam West TV show nowadays, the animated TV shows including Batman the Animated series, Batman Beyond and Justice League, the Nolan films (in particular The Dark Knight but I'll save that one for latter) and the Arkham games) it isn't surprising that DC would want to celebrate it somehow. Several animations have been released this year to celebrate the anniversary including the one below...

and the subject of this review: Batman Assault on Arkham. Time to let the Rouges out, the madhouse is open.

So what's the plot? Well for one thing, the animation isn't about Batman, he's only a minor role in the film. After the Riddler steels some classified information from the government, Amanda Waller issues the formation of the Suicide Squad, a group of rouges that are sent in to do jobs the government wouldn't send its soldiers into do. If they succeed, time would be taken off their sentences, if they fail... Well put it this way, there's a reason why its called the Suicide Squad. Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, Black Spider and King Shark (Floyd Lawton, George Harkness, Harleen Quinzel,  Louise Lincoln, Eric Needham and Nanaue respectively) are sent into Arkham Asylum to try and recover the stolen files that have been stored in Nigma's cane. While this is happening, The Joker, who is already in the Asylum, has hidden a dirty bomb (its a actual thing, I checked) somewhere in Gotham that Batman is hunting for before he goes into the Asylum because the Suicide Squad doesn't know the meaning of "off the grid". I'm intentionally skipping parts of the story as there are several revelations throughout it. The cast themselves are also well written as almost every character who speaks has some great lines.

While I can't confirm this as I haven't read them, I believe Assault on Arkham is meant to tie the Arkham games to the New 52 comic series. My only proof of this is what I've heard about New 52 and some of the lines in Assault on Arkham implying these events. That being said though, the movie faithfully replicates the Arkham Asylum from the Arkham universe with a bit more detail thrown in. Fans of Arkham Asylum will easily recognize iconic places from the game including the Penitentiary, the caves under the asylum and the Botanical Gardens. Even the designs for the characters fit the Arkham universe with Batman sporting Detective Vision, Commissioner Gordan, Joker and Riddler (to name a few) all having the designs either used or based on the Arkham games (the noticeable one for me was Joker's suit being different from his Arkham suit slightly (the tails on his suit).

The soundtrack for the film is well done, but nothing sticks with me. Like with the Arkham games, the soundtrack for Assault on Arkham flows with the story and is used to make the experience better. But as a result, its hard to recognize it throughout most of the film and when you do find it, its not a melody that you remember easily. It could just be that I need to hear the soundtrack away from the film though.

Would I recommend Assault on Arkham? Yes... if your mature. This movie isn't for the kids by any stretch of the imagination with several lines and shots being intended for older fans of Batman. However to be fair, the Arkham games aren't for kids either so if you're playing the games, then you should watch Assault on Arkham (if you haven't already). So what to do after you take down several goons and rouges? Hit the dangerous karting race tracks and lob shells at one another. Mario Kart 8.

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