Batman: The Killing Joke

In 2016 DC fans across the globe rejoiced when we drew ever closer to the release of another DC Animated Film, this time it was an adaptation of the famous Batman: The Killing Joke graphic novel, written by comic book legend Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland.

This story gave us a Joker origin story that was loosely adapted from the 1951 story arc “The Man Behind the Red Hood!” and showed us a new perspective on the Jokers psychology. It has been a fan favourite story arc for many years now and ever since DC started doing their series of top quality Animated Films, people have begged for them to adapt The Killing Joke into an animated movie, and in 2016 our wishes finally came true, and to hype up our excitement even further, we were told that none other than the legends themselves, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill from Batman: The Animated Series, would be reprising their roles of Batman and the Joker. So of course this movie was already getting the attention it needed to sell tickets.

The movie itself begins with a simple fourth wall break as Batgirl tells us that we weren’t expecting this story to start with her, and she was right. We were told that Batgirl would have a part to play before the events of Killing Joke, but the amount of time we spend with Batgirl before those events and what happens within her story were all things we didn’t really expect. It split many fans down the middle with their opinions of this film. More on that later though.

The part of the film that was faithful to the book, was insanely faithful to the book. More so than I believe any other adaptation we’ve seen to date. It takes the words right from the book and puts them into the script, and it works. The animation is brilliant as are all the DC animated films, and the voice cast is brilliant. We even get the flashback sequences that show us the Jokers life before and leading up to becoming The Joker. The scenes that truly stand out though, for me at least, were the ones that took place at the Joker theme park. From the freaks hired by the Joker, to the rollercoaster ride that haunts James Gordon, and even a song by Joker himself. All delivered with brilliant talent.

The issue with this film was certainly the first half of it. However I enjoyed the first half, because I enjoyed seeing Batgirls side of the story, seeing her relationship with Batman and seeing the events that lead her to the position we see her in during the story from the comics. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that I think this part of the story belongs in this film. I think that if they wanted to tell Batgirls story, they could have easily made it into a different film, a prequel of sorts that lead up to the events of Killing Joke. I’d have loved to see more about Barbara getting into the role of Batgirl, her relationship with Batman build up as she learns from him, and then the story we see in the first half Killing Joke being the ending, we’d have had a real connection to the character in order for us to feel any sort of sympathy for her and her father. The Killing Joke has enough content that could have been stretched out into a whole movie on it’s own, and it could have even included the story at the end of the graphic novel that saw a someone planning to kill Batman. I just think that if there truly wasnt enough for a movie, it could have been dealt with by making it a simple video online, or as a special episode of some sort. What the people behind the film created was something spectacular but it wasn’t really executed well in the final product.

Nevertheless, I give this film a solid 3.5\5 for its faithfulness to the source material, it’s incredible voice casting, and the brilliant animation that always makes these films so spectacular!

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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life

Keith R.A. DeCandido's mad ramblings

The Joker’s HQ

News, reviews and opinions on all things geek!

DCs Earth-9

Travelling the Multiverse

KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life

Keith R.A. DeCandido's mad ramblings

The Joker’s HQ

News, reviews and opinions on all things geek!

DCs Earth-9

Travelling the Multiverse

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