DCU: Batman: Assault on Arkham aka The good Suicide Squad!
The live action Suicide Squad is by nearly all accounts, a pretty lousy movie. Not to say there weren’t good moments. Joker’s lawyer/accountant/guy in suit was pretty badass and probably my favorite character in the entire flick. That by itself tells you how well the movie went over because he had about 30 secs of total screen time. But there has been enough about that movie, so we won’t focus on it.
Enter DCU: Batman: Assault on Arkham. This movie was released in 2014. Two years before the live action but I only found out about it this year and to put it simply, it’s fantastic. It was an unknown gem that I stumbled upon while looking through Amazon Prime for bad movies again—but this is no bad movie. Polar opposite in fact.
It’s a Suicide Squad movie. It’s animated and it’s got great voice talent. Kevin Conroy is still The Batman’s voice and forever will be. Nolan North of Deadpool fame is in there but you probably can’t guess his character until the credits. Troy Baker voices the Joker. You know his voice pretty well if you’ve played any of the Batman: Arkham games. Yep, it just hit you. He’s The Joker in those when you were thinking of Mark Hamill. So far I’ve mentioned the B Man and Mr. J. and you’re probably asking yourself by now, “Weren’t you supposed to be talking about Suicide Squad?” We’re getting to that so be patient.
The villain roster this has some familiar names and some you’re going to have to look up if you’re not a comic geek. Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Cpt. Boomerang, King Shark, Black Spider, Killer Frost and KGBeast make this movie happen. Minor Spoiler alert: Don’t get too attached to KGBeast.
Each character has their own intro which is short, to the point, and gets the ball rolling on an amazing movie. Amanda Waller in the movie to lay out the job for the Suicide Squad: go to Arkham and steal something from the evidence room. It sounds a lot less low key than it becomes. And with that we’re off!
What sets the movie apart from the live action is that it’s a heist movie. Not a bland walk down the street beating up faceless bad guys action movie. Heist movies are fun, exciting and it properly utilizes every characters skill’s appropriately. Cpt. Boomerang for example is apparently a more competent villain than his live action counterpart which apparently was just a drunk Australian.
The heist gets off underway relatively easy until Batman arrives. Batman is not the centerpiece of this movie though. He plays more of a secondary role and doesn’t steal the limelight from any of the main roster. Not too much later Joker steps more forcefully into the story and here is where the movie gets really good. The Joker at this point in pop culture can’t really be relegated to sub plot. He’s become too big, so if he’s going to show up he’s going to get some spotlight and he does in a very familiar and Joker-ish way. From here the movie devolves into a madhouse of villainous shenanigans and some pretty good plot twists.
This brings me to an observation based on the two big comic companies. DC and Marvel. Marvel is absolutely killing it in live action movies. They really haven’t made a bad movie yet. DC on the other hand is largely failing. Reviews on their movies are mostly bad. Granted all reviews are opinions and opinions will vary. I still enjoy all the DC movies on some level but I recognize they’re pretty bad.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, DC is wrecking house in their animated division. There is a lot of quality content and has been for some time. One downside to that is that most of it is either Batman or Superman related in some form. Still good though.
Long story short is if you want a good Suicide Squad movie check out DCU: Batman: Assault on Arkham.