The Suicide Squad takes center stage in Batman: Assault on Arkham, which mixes the gritty world of the hit video game with a stylish take on the big crime genre. By Tom McLean.
Warner Bros. Animation has been producing DC Universe original animated movies for several years now, but few are as likely to be as full of surprises for fans as Batman: Assault on Arkham.
Based on the Batman: Arkham Asylum series of videogames and due out Aug. 12 on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD, the most obvious surprise is that the movie is less about Batman than it is the DC cult-favorite comic-book series Suicide Squad.
Screenwriter Heath Corson, who scripted the previous DC Universe release Justice League: War and is scheduled to write another in the series, says he’s a longtime comics fan and that Suicide Squad, written by John Ostrander and published from 1988-1991, has long been one of his favorites. “That’s the DNA of this,” he says. “It really is a Suicide Squad movie and I think that’s going to be a huge shock to fans once they find that out. I think they’re expecting a Batman adven- ture à la one of the Arkham games.”
Despite being a huge fan of the Squad, Corson says putting them in the movie was part of the project when he was asked to take it on. Producer Alan Burnett called “and he said we’d like to find a way to get the Suicide Squad in there and I said, ‘I’m in!’” Corson says. “I said, ‘What version of the Suicide Squad?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know, let us know who you want and what you think the story would be.’”
There was some negotiating on which characters to include. With the games being relatively grounded in realism, superpowers were downplayed. Corson says Deadshot and Captain Boomerang form the core of his vision of the team, while characters like King Shark and Harley Quinn were added from the most recent versions of the comic and Bronze Tiger was replaced with Black Spider to accommodate a plot point.
The Guy Ritchie Influence
So with the characters set and the world of the games as a setting, Corson says the most compelling idea was to do a stylish modern heist movie in the mode of Guy Ritchie’s films, such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
“I said it’s sort of like Ocean’s Eleven if, at every step of the way, Brad Pitt is trying to kill George Clooney,” Corson says. “They really liked that and they wanted me to go in that direction. ... I realized I had pitched a heist movie and heist movies are super hard, so I had to build it from the ground up.”
‘The nice thing about animation is I don’t have to worry about the stunt man complaining that he can’t do this particular move that I’ve
told him to do. If I can draw it, Batman is gonna do it!’
an army of power-hungry thugs lead by Sota, but Justin soon learns that true strength comes from the heart. You can also opt for the Antonio Banderas-produced toon on Blu-ray for $24.99. [Release date: July 22]