Benz Eye View: Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman-The_Killing_Joke_(film)
Batman: The Killing Joke

Pros:

1.) The animation looks like the good-old animation from Batman: The Animated Series, and I love it.  It is crisp, visually-pleasing, and well-drawn to the point where I wonder why many animation studios (i.e. Disney and Dreamworks) do not do this anymore.  3-D animation is nice, but 2-D animation is still great.

2.) The voice acting deserves some credit, especially by the two main characters: Batman (played by Kevin Conroy) and Joker (played by Mark Hamill).  However, considering this is called The Killing Joke, the real star is Mark Hamill.  He can play a maniacal clown of chaos who wants to prove a point, but can switch to a sympathetic yet failed comedian who is trying to help his wife and baby.  Plus, he can sing pretty well.

3.) The Killing Joke section of the movie is not only faithful to the original comic, but also very interesting.  The few things they added into the movie are a few good additions to the story.  Not only what the Joker does in that section really messed up, but his origin gives an interesting viewpoint for the character.  However, it also opens the idea that the origin we see in the movie may not be true.  Watch this movie (or read the graphic novel) to get my point.

 

Cons:

1.) The first half of the movie has nothing to do with The Killing Joke.  Actually, the movie spends the first thirty minutes with Barbara Gordon (a.k.a. Batgirl) and her investigation against Paris Franz.  I understand if the movie spends ten to fifteen minutes with her just to make us care for her until the certain inevitable point, but they spent way too long with her chasing a generic villain.  It is distracting narrative-wise, it is never mentioned again, and it is not needed.

2.) (MINOR SPOILERS) Something disturbing happens in the movie, and it is not what with the Joker.  It is Batman and Batgirl have sex in this movie.  It was foreshadowed that Batgirl has feelings for Batman, but I did not think it would get THIS far.  It is out of character for Batman, makes Batgirl somewhat unlikable, and it is tonally disjointed.  Plus, I get the feeling that Dick Grayson (a.k.a. Nightwing) would be pretty mad if he heard of this.  (END MINOR SPOILERS)

3.) In the Batgirl section, the pacing was fine, and it felt like an episode of Batman: The Animated Series (with dark elements that is not fit for children).  For The Killing Joke section, I felt that the pacing could use a little more work.  There are times that I felt that they are moving a bit too quickly, and it suffers with the emotional quality that happens in those certain scenes.  In short, take your time, and let us feel how the characters are feeling.

 

Overall:

The Killing Joke is one of the most popular graphic novels of all time.  It explores one of the most popular comic book villains of all time: The Joker.  Who was he before he became the Joker?  What does he see in the world?  Why does he do these things?  The graphic novel somewhat answers them, keeps it vague, or gives false answers.  When an animated film for the graphic novel was announced, every Batman fan was ecstatic.  Now that it is released in theaters for a couple of days, it is…OK.  It is probably the best we can ask for, but there are some problems.  The first half of the movie has nothing to do with the graphic novel, and that part felt like a decent mini-episode that starts before the best episode begins.  When it finally reaches The Killing Joke, it is a blast to watch.  However, since the Batgirl section is part of Batman: The Killing Joke as a whole, it unfortunately causes some problems with the narrative of the movie.  Despite that, it is a decent watch.  If you want a good adaptation of The Killing Joke, this movie is for you despite its flaws.  It will satisfy Batman fans, with a few exceptions (you will know it when you see it, or if you read my Minor Spoilers Con).

6/10

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