Batman The Killing Joke Review

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

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Director: Sam Liu
Writers: Brian Azzarello, Brian Bolland (based on the graphic novel illustrated by)
Stars: Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, “Batman: The Killing Joke” is about The Dark Knight hunting down The Joker after he escapes Arkham Asylum and Kidnaps, humiliates and tortures Commissioner Gordon. Having not read the graphic novel I assumed perhaps I would struggle with understanding both Batman and The Joker’s relationship at this point. However, going into this with no expectations and fresh eyes I have to say that I quite enjoyed this animated movie.

I was already aware that the movie didn’t live up to the expectations of some diehard fans of the graphic novel, although I also have read that in most the film appears to be a direct adaptation of the famous novel, confusing or what?

For a movie running at 72 minutes I was surprised that for the first half of the movie was directed at Barbara Gordon and her struggle with her alter ego Batgirl. I could see what was trying to be achieved here in building the characters relationships and understanding their day to day (or night to night) routine in fighting crime. I honestly didn’t mind this although there was a slow build up before we finally get to see The Joker (around the 30 minute mark)

What I did enjoy the most about the film was the use of interspersed flashback scenes with The Joker and how he succumbed to a character of vicious madness and creepiness. Every flashback scene didn’t effect the pacing or distract from the main plot. In fact, The character of The Joker is perhaps the only character in the movie that the audience understands and I felt was the only one that was developed enough in the movie. Add Mark Hamill’s brilliant audio portrayal of this iconic character and you have the perfect comic book villain. Hamill’s energy wins the day and brings life to the mad clown.

Sadly Batman is more subdued and to be honest, uninteresting. The first 30 Minutes he hardly speaks and when he does he is mostly condescending towards Barbara Gordon. I felt this was a waste of Kevin Conroy’s talents and although I understand the focus was more on The Joker, I just felt there wasn’t enough there for Conroy to portray.

Feel and look, yes this was like a walking talking comic book. The filmmakers nailed these elements and Sam Liu should be commend for this. I loved the look of the movie and it’s dark grittier tones. Sadly the script suffered slightly and it’s saving grace was Hamill and Conroy. Overall, I did enjoy most of “Batman: The Killing Joke”
and wouldn’t say it was a bad movie. It had it’s flaws but I would still recommend giving it a watch.

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