Batman: The Killing Joke (Review)

Batman: The Killing Joke is the latest entry in the DC Universe Animated Originals series. It's an adaptation of Alan Moore's famous graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke. The hype for this film was real. With The Killing Joke's leacy, Kevin Conroy back as the Bat and Mark Hamill stepping out his Joker retirement to voice the clown prince of crime in this adaption, all on top of an R rating. So much hype that Warner Bros. teamed up with Fathom Events for a one night only theater screening. Staff member Chris and I went to this screening at our Carmike (first Fathom event either of us has ever been to). I was excited to see this famous graphic novel adapted to the big screen, excited to to one night show for really any special film, and also it's nice to see a 2D animated feature on the big screen. There's a lot of backlash against the film currently for the added prologue and a scene in that prologue but does that really destroy the entire film? Batman: The Killing Joke is a great film with or without the prologue. It's action packed, it's jokes land, beautifully animated, and stellar voice work from the actors.

In my opinion, the prologue is no where near as bad as how people are describing it online. I enjoyed the added on opening story with Paris Franz, the nephew of one of the biggest crime lords in Gotham Francesco Franz, who has an obsession with Batgirl. Was it necessary? No, but I still enjoyed it. This part of film didn't destroy the entire film for me. As for the second half of the film, it is a beat for beat take of the graphic novel. The faithfulness the the graphic novel is absolutely stunning. The animation was great and once again the voice work from the actors were stellar. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill kill it as always as Batman and the Joker. Tara Strong was great as Batgirl, as was John DiMaggio, Ray Wise, etc.

Despite enjoying the first half, it adds nothing to graphic novel portion of the film, and was unnecessary. It also doesn't exactly blend well the actual Killing Joke portion of the film. It feels like a completely seperate film (a film that could've been great for another DCAU/Batman: The Animated Series film, still for the older audience though). And yeah, the sex scene was unnecessary. Didn't need to be there. 

As a side note, the main controversy surrounds the releastionship between Batman and Batgirl. I feel like a lot people are acting a romantic releastionship between the two has never happened before. It has. In the DCAU (DC Animated Universe, also known as the Timmverse or the Diniverse), the two had a romantic releastionship later on. It's talked about in Batman Beyond, and there's a scene in Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman that implies their releastionship, which is why I said earlier this first half if expanded would've been great for the DCAU. Now, this is just one universe, and in the comics the two share a father/daughter relationship, but let's not keep pretending that this has never happened before.

The Killing Joke isn't the best entry in the DC Universe Animated Originals series (Batman: Under The Red Hood is the best one in my opinion) and this a still a great adaption despite its prologue not meshing well with the adaption. But it's still a damn good Batman flick and I encourage you to all see it. I hope DC teams up with Fathom more often in the future. DC also seriously needs to get some of their animation writers behind their live actions. It's would probably improve the DCEU a whole lot.


Ian Thompson

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.