Knock Knock! ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ review in 3 pieces

One bad day…

The film adaptation of iconic graphic novel “The Killing Joke” was released late last month and your brave and bold blogger had the pleasure of watching it.

Now I will be going into spoilers with this review so if you have not seen the film yet or do not want to be spoiled you can check out my trailer review here.

So with a SPOILER ALERT in effect let’s dig in. Here’s my review in three chewy pieces:

Swear to me!

Juicy Bite

One thing fans of the novel should be happy about is that the story remains intact with very slight changes. We still get Joker’s origin story, told in a tan colour like faded photos, Barbara’s shooting is as shocking and visceral as the comic, and the ambigious ending with Batman laughing is the end of the film. There are also a number of shots lifted directly from the graphic novel including the Joker’s transformation.

The novel is very action lite and who wants to watch a Batman movie without any fisticuffs? The film makes up for that with a number of new action sequences, mostly in the Barbara Gordon opening arc (more on that in the next point), and I appreciated those additions. And it earns its R rating with some very bloody murders and a bit of profanity.

The voice cast of Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Tara Strong as Batman, Joker and Batgirl respectively all give solid performances. Also kudos to Hamill on his sympathetic portrayal of the pre-Joker, a down on his luck failed comedian.

Na na na na na na na na na na Batgirl

Sour Bits

The novel is a compact little tale and short on length so new things had to be added to make it into a feature film. And even with the new content the running time is still only an hour and 16 minutes.

Sadly most of the new content comes in the form of a Batgirl/Barbara Gordon story that feels like it belongs in another film. The movie actually opens with her narrating and saying, in a fourth wall breaking moment, that this is probably not what we expected. No it was not.

Now the story is cool but feels just a nudge above a “Batman: The Animated Series” episode. I understand that they may have wanted to do a Batgirl story to make her shooting more impactful. But I kept waiting impatiently for the Joker story to start and to see how they would tie into the main story. They did not, not even a little, and really ends up being needless filler. And do not get me started on that out of left field romance story between Bats and Babs.

Welcome to the show!

Final Slice

As an adaptation of the graphic novel The Killing Joke is spot on, the voice cast solid and the additional action a welcome addition. But the inclusion of the Batgirl side story unnecessarily weighs it down and feels more out of place than a clown at a funeral. Unless it’s a clown funeral I guess.

Ranking: Batman: The Killing Joke gets 2.75/4 really, really bad days.

So have you seen The Killing Joke? What did you think of it? And what’s your favorite animated Batman movie? Feel free to comment below.

For a less serious take on Batman you can check out my post on the LEGO Batman trailer here and for my post on the new Justice League trailer you can click here. And for more superhero movie posts you can follow me on Twitter @suprememango012.

Got your back like a chiropractor. l8rs



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