- Title: Batman: The Killing Joke
- Director: Sam Liu
- Review: ★★★☆☆
If somehow you happen not to be familiar with the source material for DC’s latest animated film entry, this is based on the notorious graphic novel of the same published in 1988. Written brilliantly by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland, it was a time when Batman had made his dark turn truly into the Dark Knight and our vision of the caped crusader has changed ever since. 28 years later DC Animation studios has release the animated version of the book and the anticipation has been high. Does it translate to film well and does it still even hold up?
Like many of the other animated stories before that are based on a book previous, this one takes its liberties. Now are the liberties necessary or simply designed to capture a different audience? I picked up the book the day it came out and was blown away: it was dark and gritty and gave us insight into the Joker’s world. Trust me you don’t want to be in his head.
The changes made created a build up and added length to the story. However, I wasn’t sure if I was watching a Batman story or a Batgirl story. It puts Batman/Batgirl’s relationship into question. How close is Batman willing to get to his partner? Needless to say there is a scene added that was quite a shock in regards to the pair. That was the first half of the show, even before the Joker showed up. The back half of the show was like clockwork and true to the source material. I think I was stunned by the fact that the story needed to book end the front and the back to make a simple Batman and Joker story work.
Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill return for the vocal parts for Batman and the Joker. This is easily one of the best things the film had going for it. While they are the voice of the characters at this point and its a pleasure to hear them once again, it almost seems a waste that they picked this project to return.
While nostalgia worked to make the movie enjoyable, in the end perhaps it just wasn’t needed. Years later, the debate has come up if the story took things to far and should just stay in the memories of those who first read it. Adding in a relationship between Bruce and Batgirl doesn’t help matters. It drags in additional, unneccessary baggage and dilutes the story instead of strengthening it. Fans of the original still get to see one of the most impactful Batman stories brought to life, but maybe this was a story DC didn’t need to retell after all.