Batman: Assault on Arkham
Home video re-release cover art (2016)
Directed by
Written byHeath Corson
Based onCharacters appearing in comic books published
by DC Entertainment
Produced byJames Tucker
Starring
Edited byChristopher D. Lozinski
Music byRobert J. Kral
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Home Video
Release dates
  • July 25, 2014 (2014-07-25) (San Diego)
  • July 29, 2014 (2014-07-29) (Digital)
  • August 12, 2014 (2014-08-12) (Physical)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Batman: Assault on Arkham is a 2014 direct-to-video animated superhero film that is the 21st film of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies.[1] The film was directed by Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding, produced by James Tucker, and written by Heath Corson.[2] It was first screened at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con on July 25, 2014, and it was released digitally on July 29 and on physical media on August 12.[3]

The film is set in the universe of the Batman: Arkham video game franchise, taking place after Arkham Origins,[4] and two years before Arkham Asylum according to Oliva. James Tucker states that the film was intended to bridge the gap between Arkham Origins and Arkham Asylum.[5] The story focuses primarily on the Suicide Squad, particularly Batman villains Deadshot and Harley Quinn with Batman himself in a supporting role. In the film, the Suicide Squad, consisting of six criminals, are dispatched by Amanda Waller to break into Arkham Asylum, where they must contend with the asylum's inmates and Batman as they attempt to complete their mission to reclaim information stolen by the Riddler.

Plot

Batman rescues the Riddler from a black ops assassination ordered by A.R.G.U.S.'s director Amanda Waller and returns him to Arkham Asylum. In response, Waller captures wanted super-criminals Black Spider, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, KGBeast, Killer Frost, and King Shark, recruits them into the Suicide Squad to break into Arkham and recover a thumbdrive in Riddler's cane containing sensitive knowledge about the squad, and implants nano-bombs in their necks to make them comply. After killing KGBeast for attempting to leave, Waller sends the remaining squad members to Gotham City to receive equipment from the Penguin. While staying overnight at the Iceberg Lounge, Harley and Deadshot have a one-night stand. The next day, she attracts Batman's attention amidst his search for a dirty bomb the Joker hid in Gotham to send herself to Arkham. As she is taken to her cell, an incarcerated Joker taunts Harley, who steals a guard's gun and attempts to shoot him.

Meanwhile, the other squad members infiltrate Arkham, looping the previous day's security footage to distract Batman and Waller. The group locates the Riddler's cane and Harley's mallet, but discover the former is empty. Realizing their ruse, Batman subdues the squad before assuming Spider's suit and place in their ranks. Using the chaos, Frost breaks into the Riddler's cell, having been secretly ordered by Waller to kill him. However, he reveals he is a former member of the squad who knows how to disarm the nano-bombs. She takes him to the others, who agree to let him disarm their bombs in exchange for helping him escape. Concurrently, the Joker notices a structural weakness Harley made during her attempt on his life, short-circuits the cell door, and escapes.

The Riddler uses an electroshock machine to fry the squad's bombs as Waller calls for an update. Learning of their treachery, she detonates the bombs, but only succeeds in killing Shark, whose thick skin made him immune to the electricity, and Spider. Batman reveals himself and confronts the squad, but is interrupted by the Joker, who intends to kill Deadshot for having sex with Harley, though she convinces the former to forgive her. While Batman deduces from Deadshot the Joker hid his bomb in Harley's mallet, the Joker frees the inmates to cover his escape. Frost is killed in the ensuing breakout while Deadshot subdues Boomerang and escapes in a helicopter, only to learn the Joker and Harley stowed away while Batman gives chase. Deadshot and the Joker fight until they are seemingly killed after the helicopter crashes into a building while Batman knocks out Harley and disarms the bomb.

In the aftermath, Batman confronts Waller for allowing the Riddler to escape and warns her to discontinue the Task Force X program. She dismisses him, revealing the Joker's body was never found in the helicopter crash. Once Batman leaves, Waller realizes Deadshot is attempting to kill her.

Voice cast

Additionally, Bane, Two-Face, and Poison Ivy make non-speaking cameo appearances as Arkham Asylum inmates.

Production

Development

In 2009, video game developer Rocksteady Studios launched the beginning of their Batman: Arkham series with Batman: Arkham Asylum.[10] With a total of four main entries, the series reached critical acclaim and success.[11] Near the end of development of Batman: Arkham Origins, Warner Bros. Animation approached Heath Corson to write a story focusing on the Suicide Squad set within the Batman Arkhamverse.[12] Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding were brought in to director and James Tucker to produce[2] Upon reading the script, Oliva stated that "...it was very different than what I was used to, because I started prepping for this film, I thought to myself 'Well you know what, if I directed this a little differently [sic] like what if I directed this like a Guy Ritchie film.'" The film would be directed with a similar style to a Poliziotteschi Italian mob film. For the team, Corson knew that he wanted Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Harley Quinn, because she knew the in-and-outs of Arkham. He described the relationship between Deadshot and Boomerang as "...Ocean's Eleven, but at every turn Brad Pitt tried to kill George Clooney."[5]

Pre-production

In the casting process, some actors were taken from their Batman: Arkham roles while others were not. Kevin Conroy, the voice actor of Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, most of the Batman: Arkham games, and many other DC properties was brought on to voice the character. Neal McDonough was brought on the play Deadshot[5] instead of Chris Cox who voices Deadshot in the Arkham games,[13][14][15] who instead voices Commissioner Jim Gordon. Hynden Walch reprises her role as Harley Quinn from The Batman.[7] Arleen Sorkin, who played Harley Quinn in Batman: Arkham Asylum,[16] nor Tara Strong who voiced the character in Batman: Arkham City,[13] were brought in for the film. Matthew Gray Gubler voices the Riddler[2] instead of Wally Wingert from the series[17] and Troy Baker voices the Joker[6] instead of Mark Hamill.[18] CCH Pounder reprises her role as Amanda Waller from Batman: Arkham Origins and Martin Jarvis reprised his role as Alfred Pennyworth from the Arkhamverse. Greg Ellis was brought in to voice Captain Boomerang, Giancarlo Esposito to voice Black Spider,[2] John DiMaggio as King Shark, and Jennifer Hale as Killer Frost. Nolan North reprises his role as the Penguin from the Arkham games, and additionally voices KGBeast.[8] Christian Lanz voices Scarecrow, replacing Dino Andrade from Arkham Asylum,[16] as well as Victor Zsasz, replacing Danny Jacobs from Arkham Asylum and City.[13]

For the soundtrack, Robert J. Kral was brought in to compose.[19] In a press release, Oliva said "We usually do the operatic epic music that we've all become accustomed to in the live action and animated comic book films for the last twenty five years.... James Tucker, my producer, was very supportive of the idea of doing a more contemporary take on the superhero music and when Rob sent us his first pass of the score, we were tremendously pleased."[20]

Production

When handling the look of Arkham Asylum, the artists mainly took inspiration from the way it was depicted inBatman: Arkham Asylum, while also aiming to increase the scary factor the game held. The team also aimed to add a foreboding and haunting nature to the depiction and sounds. The voice actors were recorded at Salami Studios in North Hollywood, California.[5]

Soundtrack

Batman: Assault on Arkham (Music from the DC Universe Movie)
Film score by
ReleasedJuly 30, 2014
Length51:21
LabelWaterTower Music

The soundtrack to Batman: Assault on Arkham was released on July 30, 2014, with music composed by Robert J. Kral.[19]

Track list

Batman: Assault on Arkham (Music from the DC Universe Movie)
No.TitleLength
1."Nigma's Confrontation / It's Batman"3:10
2."Criminal Montage"3:06
3."Task Force Indoctrination"2:41
4."Dropping Down"2:00
5."Gearing Up / Beer Room Challenge"1:51
6."Harley Arrested to Arkham"3:01
7."Infiltrating Arkham & Joker Assault"5:33
8."Killer Frost's Kiss & Black Spider's Microwave"1:59
9."Harley Bait & King Shark's Work"1:27
10."Suicide Squad in the Big House"3:44
11."Batman's Gotham & Property Room Access"2:59
12."Batman Fights Suicide Squad"2:12
13."Joker's Out / Suicide Squad vs. SCU"3:34
14."Joker Attacks Batman"1:40
15."Prisoners Released"2:45
16."Chopper Fight / Poison Ivy / The Batplane"2:03
17."Chopper Crash"2:24
18."Final Confrontations"2:08
19."Batman – Assault On Arkham End Credits"3:04
Total length:51:21

Reception

Critical reception

The film has a aggregated score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes based on eight reviews.[21]

Scott Mendelson of Forbes roundly praised Assault on Arkham for its action, art style, humor, voices, and characters, calling it one of the best films of DC's direct-to-video lineup. He described it as a "gleefully immoral" heist film which, having "no real [plot] arc to speak of", relies on its violent action and clever character dynamics within the Suicide Squad to carry it. Due to its villainous protagonists, dark comedy, and sexual content, Mendelson considers the production of Assault on Arkham an experimental decision by DC, and a successful experiment as it tells a style of comic book story that would never get approval as a live-action project.[22]

Seth Robison of Newsarama was far more critical, considering the animation, characterization, and storytelling in the film poor. He had particular dislike for the voice acting, which he believed squandered a talented cast by delivering a "disjointed" performance, and for Assault on Arkham's interpretation of Amanda Waller, which he believed simplified her into merely another villain. He further found Deadshot's sympathetic characterization opaque to non-comic readers and Harley Quinn's crazy act obnoxious. Overall, Robison deemed the experience of the film "superficial" and thought it compared unfavorably to those offered by the Arkham video games and the Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X".[23]

Sales

The film earned $5,820,248 in domestic home video sales.[24]

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (2024)

Main article: Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

[relevant?]

A Suicide Squad game set in the Arkhamverse was first considered a possibility following the endings of Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate, featuring post-credits scenes with Amanda Waller (voiced by Pounder) recruiting various supervillains. In the years since Batman: Arkham Knight released, there had been rumors suggesting the studio has been working on a Suicide Squad game, but no official announcement was made from the development team or publisher.[25] In December 2016, Jason Schreier from Kotaku revealed that the title had been cancelled, and WB Games Montreal had shifted their focus to the next Batman game (later revealed to be Gotham Knights.[26]) As a result, Rocksteady Studios took over as the main developer of the game. While concept art from cancelled versions of the game surfaced,[27] the finished game's official artwork was revealed by Rocksteady on August 7, 2020.[28] The first trailer for the game premiered at DC FanDome. As the game is set in the "Arkhamverse", plot threads established in the Batman: Arkham series would continue in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.[29] The game will feature four playable characters: Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark, who are tasked by Amanda Waller with defeating Brainiac when he attacks Metropolis and enslaves the Justice League with his mind-controlling technology.[30] While Harley Quinn is still left alive by the end of Arkham Knight,[31] and Deadshot by the end of Arkham City,[13] King Shark was murdered in Assault on Arkham and Captain Boomerang was shot in the head by Deadshot in the "Who Wants To Kill A Billionaire?" story of the Batman: Arkham Knight tie-in comic.[32] Thus, the upcoming game likely retcons the death of these two characters by the decanonization the comic and the animated film. Additionally, in the trailer Deadshot appears as black instead of having been previously depicted as white.[30] Rocksteady released a tweet, featuring an image of the game's Deadshot, with the caption "Fool had it coming. There's only one Deadshot." The tweet seems to suggest that the Deadshot depicted in the previous games had been an imposter, and that the one set to feature in Suicide Squad is in fact, the real Floyd Lawton.[33] Amanda Waller is also depicted as smaller and less heavy than her version in Assault on Arkham.

References

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Warner Bros. Brings "Batman: Assault On Arkham" To DVD/Blu-Ray August 14". Comic Book Resources. May 7, 2014. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  3. ^ Sneider, Jeff (July 8, 2014). "Comic-Con: Warner Bros. Bringing Peter Jackson's 'Hobbit' Finale, 'Mad Max'". The Wrap. Archived from the original on July 10, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  4. ^ Reiner, Andrew (May 16, 2014). "Batman: Arkham Assault Movie Releasing On Blu-Ray, DVD This Summer". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on May 16, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Get a Sneak Peek at Batman: Assault on Arkham in a New Featurette". Crave Online Media LLC. May 7, 2014. Archived from the original on August 25, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Vieira, Anthony (April 20, 2014). "'Batman: Assault on Arkham' Trailer – The Animated Movie Based on the 'Arkham' Games". ScreenRant. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Miereanu, Gary (June 4, 2014). "It's @HyndenIsHere voicing equal parts of crazy, vicious & hilarious as #HarleyQuinn in #BatmanAssaultonArkham pic.twitter.com/6AS74m3D3b". Twitter.
  8. ^ a b c Miereanu, Gary (June 13, 2014). "@UniversoDC1 @DallasLKinard @TheJohnDiMaggio IMDB is incorrect. Also rightfully credit @jhaletweets as Killer Frost. #BatmanAssaultonArkham". Twitter.
  9. ^ Miereanu, Gary (July 17, 2014). ".@Android00154 Actually, @nolan_north does double duty in #BatmanAssaultonArkham as both KGBeast & Cobblepot in distinctly different accents". Twitter.
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  15. ^ Armature Studio (October 25, 2013). Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
  16. ^ a b Rocksteady Studios (August 25, 2009). Batman: Arkham Asylum. Eidos Interactive.
  17. ^ Bahr, Jeff (May 23, 2013). "Voice actor in 'Batman' video games spent years growing up in Aberdeen". Aberdeen News. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  18. ^ Garrett, Eric (August 27, 2019). "Mark Hamill Recalls His Return to Joker on Batman: Arkham Asylum's 10th Anniversary". ComicBook. Archived from the original on February 15, 2022. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  19. ^ a b "Batman: Assault on Arkham – Music From The DC Universe Animated Movie". WaterTower Music. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  20. ^ Harvey, James (n.d.). "Press Details For Upcoming "Batman: Assault On Arkham" Soundtrack Release". The No. 1 DC Animation Resource. Archived from the original on September 20, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
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  22. ^ Mendelson, Scott (August 6, 2014). "Review: 'Batman: Assault On Arkham' Is Among The Best DCAU Films Yet". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on August 9, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  23. ^ Robison, Seth (July 31, 2014). "Batman: Assault on Arkham Review: Bat-Fans, Look Elsewhere for Your Arkham Fix". newsarama. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
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  25. ^ Rocksteady Announces Suicide Squad Game – IGN, August 7, 2020, retrieved August 7, 2020
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  28. ^ Tassi, Paul. "Rocksteady Reveals 'Suicide Squad,' Its First Post-Arkham DC Game, Raising Questions". Forbes. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
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  30. ^ a b Tinner, Phillip (August 23, 2020). "Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Trailer Reveals DC Heroes as Villains". Screen Rant. Retrieved August 23, 2020.[permanent dead link]
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  32. ^ Tomasi, Peter (w), Guara, Ig (p), Dalhouse, Andrew; Rauch, John (col), Lanham, Travis (let), Antone, Alex; Holzherr, Brittany (ed). "Who Wants To Kill A Billionaire? Part 2 of 2" Batman: Arkham Knight, vol. 1, no. 8, p. 9/5 (November 2015). Burbank, California: DC Comics.
  33. ^ @suicidesquadRS (December 8, 2020). "'Fool had it coming. There's only one Deadshot'" (Tweet) – via Twitter.