‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’ – a Suicide Squad mission on HBO Max

Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014) isn’t really a Batman story. It introduces the Suicide Squad, a team of supervillains recruited by the government and sent on missions too dangerous for their own agents (with the threat of instant death by remote control as incentive to stay on mission).

Deadshot (voiced by Neal McDonough) takes the lead here, a villain with heroic tendencies and a dedicated patriot who takes the mission seriously, if only out of professional pride. His team includes Killer Frost, Captain Boomerang, King Shark, Black Spider and Harley Quinn, who is completely unhinged, and their target is The Riddler (voiced by Matthew Gray Gubler), who threatens to sell of state secrets. Kevin Conroy, who first voiced Batman in the animated series of the 1990s, returns to the role and Troy Baker takes on The Joker for this chapter.

It’s the 20th feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movie series and the first that is not based on a run of comics but rather on a video game. Nonetheless, it maintains the high quality of previous direct-to-disc animated superhero features and it embraces the PG-13 with some gnarly violence (one character gets his head blown off) and scenes of sexual activity.

Jay Oliva directs and the voice cast includes Hynden Walch as Harley Quinn, John DiMaggio as King Shark, and Giancarlo Esposito as Black Spider.

The supervillain team made the leap to the big screen DCU in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016) but this is their first feature film appearance.

Rated PG-13

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Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Batman: Assault on Arkham [Blu-ray]
Batman: Assault on Arkham [DVD]
Batman: Assault on Arkham [4K UHD]

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The Blu-ray and DVD special editions include a featurette on Harley Quinn and bonus animated episodes of the TV shows Justice League Unlimited, Young Justice, The Brave and the Bold, and The Batman. The Blu-ray also includes commentary and the featurette “Arkham Analyzed: The Secrets Behind the Asylum.”


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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