'Batman: Assault on Arkham' [Blu-ray]
(Kevin Conroy, Neal McDonough, Hynden Walch, et al / Blu ray + DVD / PG-13 / 2014 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: When the government teams up a group of super villains with the code name Suicide Squad and forces them to break into Arkham Asylum to bring back top secret information the Riddler has stolen, Batman soon becomes involved. But things go from bad to worse when one of the Squad (Harley Quinn) frees the Joker, who has the means to not only blow up the asylum, but most of Gotham City as well.
Blu ray Verdict: Once again, DC/Warner's has outdone itself with a quality product and yet another installment in the Batman legend. I'll start by saying that I've never played the games. I'm strictly into the videos, so I can't talk about series arcs or what have you.
This particular video, pushes the envelope in a lot of ways. The basic story has a band of misfits led by Deadshot (and includes Harley "Yahtzee!" Quinn, Black Spider, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost and others) break into Arkham in order to retrieve the Riddler's cane. Along the way, the Joker gets into the act, spreading his own version of mayhem and threatening to spread the lives of Gotham City's citizens all over the map due to a dirty bomb he's hidden somewhere. The Suicide Squad spends as much time fighting amongst its own as it does Batman. Still, Batman triumphs, and things work out in the end.
There are a number of things to like and find fault with. First, the good. The voices are excellent for the most part. Kevin Conroy IS Batman. There have been other voice actors who've done the role, but Mr. Conroy is the man. CCH Pounder reprises her role as Amanda Waller and she's terrific. Hynden Walch also shines as Harley and almost gets the voice (originally done by Arleen Sorkin) down perfect. The actor who plays Joker--Troy Baker--captures the villain's gleeful mania quite well although I still think of Mark Hamill as THE Joker--and Jennifer Hale as Killer Frost is always welcome.
The only drawback is Neal McDonough as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot. He sounds too generic. Michael Rosenbaum's version had more of a Kevin Spacey/smarmy quality to it and that's what's lacking.
The animation is also excellent. To me, it was like a cross between the old Justice League episodes and the 'Deadshot' episode in Batman: Gotham Knight. Fluid and smooth, the action never stops and the director keeps his camera on the principal characters to show them in their best light.
The bad ... the music is jarring at times. Techno-pop is so not right for this kind of movie. As above, the character of Deadshot should have been a lot smarmier, but I'm carping now!
The important cast of character actors are as follows:
Kevin Conroy - Bruce Wayne / Batman
Martin Jarvis - Alfred Pennyworth
CCH Pounder - Amanda Waller
Troy Baker - The Joker
Hynden Walch - Harley Quinn
Neal McDonough - Floyd Lawton / Deadshot
Mathew Gray Gubler - Edward Nygma / The Riddler
Kevin Grevioux - King Shark
James Patrick Stuart - George Harkness / Captain Boomerang
This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Arkham Analyzed: The Secrets Behind the Asylum Featurette
Batman: Assault on Arkham Commentary
PLUS a sneak peak at DC Universes' next animated movie, 'Justice League: Throne of Atlantis'
The Joker's Queen - Harley Quinn Featurette
From the DC Comics vault, 4 Bonus Cartoons!
Clip from 'Batman: Assault on Arkham'