Batman – The Killing Joke: Review












Batman: The Killing Joke takes a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime – from his humble beginnings as a struggling comedian to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. Years later, and now escaped from Arkham Asylum, The Joker devises a plan to prove that one bad day can make anyone as insane as he is – setting his sights on Commissioner Gordon. It’s up to the Dark Knight to put a stop to The Joker’s latest scheme and save one of Gotham City’s finest. Following a gripping prologue introducing Barbara Gordon’s heroic adventures alongside Batman as Batgirl, Batman: The Killing Joke stays true to the authentic tale that has held fans’ imaginations for nearly three decades – spotlighting the birth of a Super-Villain, the fortitude of a Super Hero and the punchline that will leave you speechless.

I was first introduced to the story of The Killing Joke in 1995 and although it was so dark I fell in love with it and read it over and over again throughout the years. When DC started to make animated features of some of their greatest stories this was one of the first ones that I thought of that I hoped would make its way into animated form. Its greatest strength was also its greatest roadblock because of the nature of the story and just how dark it went. Fortunately, the overwhelming demand from the fans has brought the story to the masses and did it in a way that preserves the source material for the most part. The prologue of the film adds a bit more to the story that wasn’t previously present in the graphic novel, namely a physical relationship between Batman and Batgirl which was never the case. Although I understand why this was added to the story (mainly to have Batman experience an emotional moment when the third act rolls around) it just didn’t feel right. Batman has always been somewhat of a father figure to the rest of the Bat-Family so seeing it like this is a bit weird. The only reason that I do excuse it is because in Batman Beyond they do hint to a past relationship between the two and that show is a part of Bruce Timm’s animated world so it would make sense to have continuity. Plenty of people know this story inside and out and even though that may be the case seeing it on the screen gives it a whole new life and is still just as heartbreaking, sadistic and scary as it was when I flipped through the pages of the comic. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill were so wonderful as Batman and The Joker! They both voice the definitive versions of their characters and much like Batman and The Joker who have so much history together I feel like Conroy and Hamill have the same thing. My only real complaint that I have about the film is that it’s just too short. I understand that the story isn’t terribly long and that they already had to add about 30 minutes more to make it a full feature film but honestly it just made me wish there was more. Maybe there could’ve been an expansion on The Joker’s origin or something to that degree. Other than that I thought that DC Entertainment knocked it out of the park again with another animated feature that is as close to the source material as it can get. It isn’t as perfect as I thought it was going to be but I definitely suggest you check this out! 7/10

Batman: The Killing Joke is in select theaters July 25th and 26th or on Blu-ray and DVD August 2nd from Warner Bros.


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