Earlier this month, the long awaited DC movie, Batman: The Killing Joke was released. The movie showcases the extreme lengths to which the Joker goes to prove a point. The point here being that how one day is enough to break a perfectly sane man into bits. The movie traces the origins of the Joker as well as catalogs how Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl became paralyzed.The Killing Joke is adapted from the highly acclaimed graphic novel of the same name. It was written by the legendary writer Alan Moore. It is the first ever DC movie to receive an R Rating. The Killing Joke was one of DC’s best comic books ever. Hence, it was only natural that people would be having high expectations from the movie too. So did DC deliver on those expectations? Find out!
WHAT WAS GOOD IN THE MOVIE?
The movie had Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as Batman and Joker. These two legendary voice actors gave a new life to the movie. Tara Strong as Batgirl was great too. The characters never felt out of sync with their voice actors and each scene of the movie reverberates with their voices. It was a dream come true for the fans of the 90s TV show, Batman – The Animated Series.
From the second act onward, the movie is perfectly adapted from its source material. The way some scenes are shown, they are exact replicas of the frames of the graphic novel. The scene where Joker paralyses Barbara is copied for frame to frame. The scene is more chilling and gut wrenching than depicted in the graphic novel. Another of my favorites is the scene in which Batman and the Joker play cards in the prison. The dialogues are adapted perfectly too.
The Killing Joke graphic novel had one of the most ambiguous endings until Alan Moore stepped in to clarify it. In the novel, the last panel shows Batman place his hand on the Joker’s chest. While some argued that Batman killed the Joker, Alan Moore ended the debate by saying that he did not. The movie has a far more ambiguous ending and it appears much more darker. So before I say it, SPOILER ALERT. The ending was great, the way the camera pans down and we hear Batman laughing, it was chilling. I liked this ending because towards the end, you can’t hear the Joker laughing. It looks as if Batman has finally killed him. That one scene was the best for me in the movie.
WHAT WENT WRONG
The animation felt a bit flat at times. Movies like Akira, that came out in the late 1990s, have better hand drawn animation than Killing Joke. With the budget of WB, it felt odd that the animation was not spot on. Had the animation been better, the movie would have felt better as the animation would have blended well with the spectacular voice acting.
THE FIRST ACT
The movie opens with Batgirl narrating the events happening. The first 30 minutes or so are entirely focused on the Batgirl. While this in itself is not a bad move, the way in which they choose to showcase that is bad. The actual Killing Joke starts after half an hour and that seems like an awful long time for me. Also, the story arc in the first act in no way contributes to the movie. It in fact doesn’t even blend in perfectly.
TOO MUCH BATGIRL
While the graphic novel showcases the conflicts of Batman and the Joker, the movie delves too much on Batgirl. While we understand that it is the filmaker’s attempt to make us relate to Batgirl, it becomes an overkill after a point of time. The screen time she gets is so much that the movie feels like Batgirl: The Killing Joke.
THE R RATING
One thing that worked against this movie was its R Rating. Now many say the graphic novel was R Rated so it is only natural the movie had an R Rating too. Well, wrong. The movie was a PG-13 at most as the movie didn’t have any graphic scenes in it. There are no cuss words or nudity. The camera pans away the moment the sex scene is about to start and the rape scene is omitted here too. It was a baffling decision by WB to go for an R Rating.
The movie was not bad, but then it was not great either. It was a good movie with an amazing voice cast. It could have been a much better movie with some changes. If you are a hardcore Batman fan (like me) then go and read the graphic novel again. It is much better. My rating for the movie is 6.5/10.
So did i miss anything? What are your views about the movie? Do let us know in the comments section.