Batman – The Killing Joke review

We need to talk.

About you.

About me.

bat5

I’m old. I watched Star Wars at a Drive Inn and I watched the old Batman series on a black and white television in a tack room while my parents trained horses.

I tell you this because I think there’s a divide, a difference, in how I see Batman and how others, younger than me, see Batman.

Now, I’ll warn you now, there’s minor spoilers, but the book has been out for over a decade, so if you haven’t read it by now, well….

I had heard many things about the new Killing Joke movie. At first, I was excited to see it. It was an absolute game changer when it came out. Much like Dark Knight Returns, it was an “adult” book. It pushed Joker to the absolute edge. You finally got see how evil real evil could be.

I won’t go into too much detail on the story, because if you’re here, you know the story.

In fastest terms possible, Batman tries to stop the Joker from either getting killed by him or Joker killing Batman. Bats finds out he’s escaped and during his freedom, Joker shoots Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon into paralysis and kidnaps her father, trying to get him to go insane, proving all it takes is one bad day to become something else.

Now apparently, studios won’t let you release an hour long animated movie no matter what its based on, so the writers added an extra half hour to the story.

This is the only reason I can tell they did it, because the original story was perfectly fine and the added story is basically like throwing on another full layer of ketchup on a gourmet burger.

I mean, a LOT of ketchup. Like so much, it doesn’t add to the taste, but takes away what could have been a really good burger.

bat4

The added story involves a younger style criminal thinking he can do better than his older Uncle. Barbara tries to take him on and in the end, gets into more trouble.

There’s that Older/Younger theme starting.

bats8

So here comes that added layer of ketchup.

Bruce tells Barbara she’s off the case completely. She screwed it up too much. Now, all during this first half hour, we hear Barbara tell a co-worker how much she’s in love with Batman. Now, hearing she’s not good enough, starts to fight Batman. She ends up landing a couple of good blows, knocking him down. Then, in a moment of passion, pins him down and takes off her shirt, where we the audience are told later, they had sex.

For the last 5 or so minutes, we’re treated ( /endsarcasm) to Barbara calling Batman to apologize and wanting things back to normal. She ends up quitting, handing in her uniform.

Why, we’re never told, since there didn’t need to be a ceremony. She could have just quit, but in this day and age of Facebook, she had to let someone know her reasons.

Again, maybe I’m just older and don’t get it.

Once all that’s over, we finally get into the actual Killing Joke story, which is laid out almost frame by frame.

The ending is just as open as the book. Did Batman kill Joker? Why is he the only one laughing in the end? Why did Batman laugh at all? We also see, in a mid credit scene, Barbara take on the mantle of Oracle, the cyberspace avenger that helped make her a staple of the DC Universe, helping to form the Birds of Prey.

bat 1

First, the good news.

If you’re a fan of the comic and skip the first half hour, you’ll no doubt be entertained. There’s some great moments that seem to leap right out off the page.

Mark Hamil and Kevin Conroy do the voices and let’s face it, they’re the only people that should be allowed to do so.

bats7

Both men are famous for doing the voices on the award winning cartoon and they don’t disappoint here. In fact, I was struck in awe with the way Batman was drawn and Conroy’s voice, which is slightly older, so it reminded me of an older, more distinguished Batman.

The other talent comes off great as well. Not once did it feel like someone couldn’t act or a voice didn’t fit a certain characters’ features.

Now the bad.

The animation felt uneven. There were times when characters moved smooth and other times felt jerky. There were also other times where it seemed they changed the way characters were drawn, I can only assume for effect, but when the effect comes, it makes you wish for either one or the other.

Here’s an example.

In the first photo, Joker has just shot Barbara. In the next photo, Joker has “changed” from the red hood to Joker, smiling for the camera.

Again, effect, but I’d clearly prefer the latter throughout the film, as now, the previous feels weak and lazy.

I also feel Batman was drawn rather strangely. His body looked weird to me.

Now, that sex scene.

Remember earlier when I told you I’m old?

Well, this is how I was introduced to Batman and Batgirl. Barbara was always the independent woman who decided to fight crime. She looked to Batman as a mentor, but also an equal of sorts.

They were never, and I can’t stress this enough, lovers.

bat9

The scene, which is only about 30 seconds long including the fight to floor move, feels not only inserted for controversial sake, but to also……..

No, no that’s it. Just to be controversial.

It not only takes Barbara from student, but takes her “to 13 year old temper tantrum spouting, spoiled little girl who is mad she didn’t get a good grade.”

It absolutely ruins the film so much, it’s all I could think about for the rest of the time. Maybe that’s the intent. So controversial, you’ll never forget it.

Coming soon to a bumper sticker: Killing Joke. Never Forget

The film takes Barbara, who in the Killing Joke book, had a decent, respectable history as Batgirl, but has decided to hang it up for a while.

In the movie, we not only see what feels like a creepy teacher/student sex scene, but a weak willed girl who falls in love with her mentor. It not only cheapens the history of Batgirl, but takes away almost all of her strong, independent personality.

Sucker Punch did more for women than this movie did for Batgirl.

And let’s not forget Batman. He not only has sex with her in her lowest moment, he takes advantage of his student and worst of all, Jim Gordons trust.

Batman has a history with Gordon that goes back years. He knew Barbara when she was a baby and this is how he treats his best friend?

It was so completely out of character, I thought someone spliced in some fan fiction and had me checking the title again.

Batman, the “father” of the Bat Family, has sex with Batgirl.

I’m actually surprised, and yet not surprised knowing Hollywood, that the scene was allowed.

Now, again, remember when I told you about me being old? I’ve noticed younger audiences don’t seem to mind the scene, while some even blow it off. (No pun intended) #lowblow

Perhaps they haven’t grown up with the Batman I knew or maybe it really ISN’T a big deal to them. I guess that choice is up to you.

As for the movie, I give the last hour a 4 out 5 (wish they would’ve spent more money on the animation) but overall, I’d give it a 2 out 5.

I guess when it comes down to it, it’s just like Batman v Superman.

Its not terrible, it just could have been a whole lot better. I have to ask though, how many swings are we going to let DC have until we ask for a new batter?

Oh well, Suicide Squad opens soon and Wonder Wonder Woman doesn’t look too bad.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s