Batman: Assault on Arkham INTRODUCTION.
It's time for another REVIEWPOINT as we break down the film's hits and misses.
As always, let's start with the bad news first.
1. LONG INTRO
How many minutes were wasted in showcasing the members of Task Force X being cutesy for an introduction? This is made all the more frustrating when one of them is murdered in the next scene and none of them have any personality after the fact except for Harley Quinn and to an extent, Deadshot.
2. ANNOYING MUSIC
Separately, the music is probably not bad. I might even like some of the songs, for that matter. But in this film, it felt so out of place that I probably had an uncomfortable look on my face while watching it.
3. DIRECTORIAL TONE
Very, very rarely am I ever a fan of an arthouse project. Quantum of Solace was an attempt by Marc Forster to add his own personal director's spin on the James Bond franchise and it just came off like he didn't want to make a 007 movie. Ang Lee's Hulk tried too hard to look and feel like a comic book movie with the editing process and cutaway panels, so everyone laughed at it rather than along with it. This had a similar problem. I previously praised The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for feeling like a comic book brought to life in a positive way and this felt more like that concept done wrong. Pizzazz that's disjointed is not endearing.
4. BARE BONES PLOT
Batman is Batman doing Batman. The Suicide Squad likes to argue with each other and fight people. The Joker's got a bomb. Amanda Waller is a bitch to everyone and really fat. The end. There's no real characterization here. You can argue that there's some charm to the idea that everyone is a horrible person, so they can't really grow into heroes, but that just makes for a more flat story that is less interesting overall in my mind.
1. VOICE ACTING
Everyone has their own idea of what the real Batman is. For some, their Batman is Adam West. Many kids now identify Christian Bale with the role. From my perspective, Kevin Conroy is Batman, so it was great to hear his voice again. He always nails the part, since he has the character down pat from all of his experience dating back to Batman: The Animated Series. CCH Pounder's Amanda Waller, Hynden Walch's Harley Quinn and Troy Baker's Joker are all fantastic returning members to the cast. With the right actors, you can very quickly forget you're watching an animated film and just start imagining that these are the characters themselves talking as if they would if they were real. These actors pull that off and it's impossible not to embrace that while watching the movie.
2. ADULT THEMES
It was a bit of a breath of fresh air to see something darker. I'm not the type of person that always loves this, but every so often, it's interesting to watch a movie that shows that even in the world of superheroes, things aren't always so chipper. Multiple heads explode in this movie. Harley Quinn—a character who is just as popular for her infectious personality as she is her sex appeal—is given a legitimate sex scene that is done in a fun way, with Deadshot turning her down at first and then finally admitting "eh, what the hell" and going through with it.
Only to the right audience. As a fan of DC, I was going to watch this no matter what, and most other fans will probably do the same. However, this is nothing special. It's essentially the same as watching one longer episode of a TV show instead of a movie. If you have an hour, sit down and watch it. If you want that hour to be really worth something, you'd be better off checking out two episodes of Justice League Unlimited.