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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Animation > Batman: Assault On Arkham (2014/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)

Batman: Assault On Arkham (2014/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: B+/B- Sound: B+/B- Extras: B+ Film: A

DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation have done it again with another great installment in their library of animated films based on the beloved Batman property. I've seen every Batman animated film that has come out such as Batman: Year One, Under the Red Hood, and aside from last year's fierce adaptation of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, this entry may be my favorite.

The animation is dark and slick and very comparable to Warner's Batman The Animated Series that premiered on Fox in the early 1990s. What I like so much about this particular film is that the focus is shifted off the character of Batman and more so on the villains - primarily members of The Suicide Squad including Deadshot and fan favorite Harley Quinn. Also featured in this film are classic Batman villains The Joker, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Bane, and The Riddler. Second tier characters featured include Killer Frost, The Black Spider, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark. There are also blink and you will miss it nods to previous Batman incarnations including two replicated shots from Tim Burton's Batman Returns and a nice little easter egg that shows the Joker's Bank Robber Mask from Nolan's The Dark Knight. It is also notable to point out that the voice behind Batman in this film is none other than Kevin Conroy, the man who has voiced the character more than anybody and a fan favorite for sure.

What may shock you most about this animated film is the level of violence in some scenes. The animators aren't afraid to decapitate a couple main characters or show a little blood to point out the intensity of the character's stakes. Some of the Harley Quinn stuff is pretty sexual too pointing out that this film is definitely for more mature audiences. The film also is a great compliment to the current running titles of Batman: Arkham video games by Rocksteady Games.

Welcome to Gotham City's heart of darkness where at the center is Arkham Asylum, home to Gotham's most ruthless criminals that wait in captivity thanks to the efforts of Batman. But when the Riddler's latest caper is foiled by Batman, the stakes begin to raise as we discover that the Joker has hidden a dirty bomb in the center of the city that threatens destination.

Against their will, Harley Quinn and members of the Suicide Squad are abducted by a cruel Crime Boss named Amanda Waller and are forced to uncover a crucial piece of evidence that is hidden in the criminal archives of Arkham this is important to Waller. Each member of the Suicide Squad is fitted with a bomb attached to their spine and located on the back of their neck and if they fail or disobey Waller's orders then their heads will explode. Pretty insane huh? Reminds me a little of Battle Royale.

Harley Quinn takes center stage on the mission as her past experience and employment at Arkham has given her a photographic memory of the layout of the building. Things get complicated when she comes across The Joker, to whom is jealous that she has shacked up with Deadshot.

Its up to Batman to stop the bomb and to keep Arkham in check before the Joker is released as well as several other dangerous inmates to reign hell on earth and throw his years of justice out the window. This film is a must see for Batman fans and will throw enough clever cameos your way to keep you entertained whilst at the same time feasts your eyes on some beautiful action and animation.

The picture and sound are solid. Captured in 1080p High Definition with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a powerful, lossless DTS-HD MA track in English 5.1 Additional audio tracks are also available in French and Spanish along with appropriately matched subtitles.

The DVD version of the film is very impressive for the format but doesn't quite match the superior viewing of the Blu-ray. The same goes with the Ultraviolet copy where you can watch a compressed version of the film on your tablet or smart phone.

Extras include Blu-ray exclusive features including Arkham Analyzed: The Secrets Behind The Asylum Featurette, and Batman: Assault on Arkham Commentary with the cast and creators. You can also get a sneak peek at DC Universe's next animated movie The Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. There’s also The Joker's Queen: Harley Quinn featurette and From The DC Comics Vault - 4 Bonus Cartoons.

- James Harland Lockhart V



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