Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Is More A Bad Punchline Than Anything Else – Movie Review

(I forgot to post this one, sorry folks!)

The limited release of the animated telling of the iconic graphic novel that is Batman: The Killing Joke brought back the iconic voices of Mark Hamill as the Joker and Kevin Conroy as the definitive voice of Batman. The animated DC films and shows have been successes in their own right when it comes to quality, narrative, and DVD sales, but that streak seems to have briefly faded with Warner Brothers Animation this time around. The Killing Joke was controversial when it was a comic, but now you can add it’s animated adaptation to the list of controversial DC properties.

These animated features are not long films by any means, but they often have a structure that gets the narrative going more kinetically as well as organically. What The Killing Joke offers (or doesn’t offer) is that flare of fun and sweeping entertainment we’ve been given from Bruce Timm and others in the realm of DC aniamted adaptations. What we get is half of the movie revolving around Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon that is not seen in the original graphic novel all while making her a whiny, heart on her sleeve cliche of a female character that just also happens to kick ass.

The way they chose to tell this backstory to the backstory is goofy and actually kind of sexist if you ask me all while presenting her as this character that she normally isn’t and the sex scene with her was as pointless at you’d imagine it being. For the much anticipated R-Rating, I didn’t see anything that I hadn’t seen in a PG-13 animated film or show and it was clearly given to the film for novelty purposes. Unfortunately for them, the novelty didn’t do anything to further or enhance the story which was only interesting after the events of the 28 minute mark.

The mildly redeeming aspects of the film came when we actually saw The Killing Joke translated to the screen. The violent, suspenseful nature of it all was fairly good once we got there, but took entirely too long to show up for most of us. Without giving it away for the people who haven’t seen the movie or read the book, I will say that the ending being changed from the graphic novel was insinuated in a way that I found to be more satisfying than the comic itself for a plethora of reasons, and that was an aspect I liked, but even the animation for Batman made me angry and uninterested.

SCORE: C-

 

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