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.
Fox is in a rough place in the superhero movie game currently after spending the 2000's running the game. The X-Men films are no longer as profitable as they used to be (the latest film in the series X-Men: Apocalypse is being considered a commercial and critical disappointment, review on that film later; also not mention the continuity in the X-Men movies is still an absolute travesty despite X-Men: Days Of The Future's Past wiping out the original trilogy and the Wolverine movies), FAN4STIC (I'd rather not call it Fantastic Four) is worse than any screw up Fox has done in the past (X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine), bombing both critically and financially, plus joining the list of the worst comic book movies ever made. Fox also now has major competition, unlike back in the 2000's where they were practically running unopposed (Fox's only real competition back then were the other studios with Marvel properties, so really it was Sony who had Spider-Man and New Line Cinema who had Blade. The other studios with Marvel properties weren't exactly putting out stellar films. DC was working on Nolan's Batman trilogy and wasn't trying to directly compete with Marvel). They're running against their former allies Marvel, who's kicking everyone's ass with the MCU. Also in the race now is DC with the DCEU, whose films haven't been doing well critically , but winning at the box office (Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice made more money worldwide than both Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse). Last but not least with we have Nick with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies (those are technically superhero films), whom like DC aren't doing so hot with critics but pulling in a good amount at the box office. Fox is about third in the superhero race right now. And even though there's less competition now the back when Fox was on top (Fox is the last man standing when it comes to studios with money properties since Sony joined the MCU), Fox is still struggling. Watching them attempt to fight against MCU and the DCEU is kind of sad to be honest. This is a race they can no longer win. The difference between Fox and the TMNT films is that the TMNT films aren't trying to compete with the MCU and the DCEU (they have less of a chance then Fox has). Fox however is. Either Fox joins the MCU now (they'll most likely fully give back Fantastic Four but X-Men they're not going to entirely let go of), or they'll crash and burn like Sony did, and have no other choice to but join the MCU. Alright, that's enough about Fox's state in the superhero race, let's start the review.
Let's take it back '09, where Fox's second biggest screwup took place. I'm talking about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox's fueled by studio interference first attempt at an X-Men prequel trilogy after The Last Stand didn't sit too well with critics and fans. A great example of Fox's studio interference was the way the wisecracking mercenary was handled. I don't know who at Fox thought it was a great idea to completely change every aspect of Wilson's character and turn him into the image you see below, but I hope whoever isn't working Fox anymore (but they probably still are...). Reynolds later on said he was essentially blackmailed by Fox to play this version of the character or else would've gotten cut from film. And our final result was this:
Yep. That actually happened. And this something Fox didn't exactly want to fix. Fox had no interest in making Deadpool. According to the film's director Tim Miller stated Fox said they didn't get film's plot. The only reason the film was made is because Reynolds basically forced them to after the film's test footage leaked and the internet exploded. However, although giving Reynolds and Miller full creative control over the movie, they still had very little faith in the movie. Deadpool, compared to every other major superhero release, has a laughably small budget. Even worse, Fox set the film's release date in February, which is considered a dead movie month. This is how Deadpool became an unexpected hit, and a hit it definitely is. Deadpool is phenomenal film. I gotta thank Fox for letting Reynolds and Miller have full creative control over this and plaguing the movie with studio interference. It's hilarious, action packed, and even heartfelt at times. Let's it break it down.
Let's start off with actors. I think I speak for everyone here when I type this: Ryan Reynolds was born for this role. His performance as the merc with mouth is phenomenal and is probably the best element of this movie. T.J. Miller was great as Weasel, I enjoyed Morena Baccarin's performance as Vanessa, the film just has a stellar cast and is brilliantly acted. Let's talk about the character accuracy. THAT IS DEADPOOL. Not whoever Fox forced Ryan Reynolds at gunpoint to play in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That is the merc with a mouth. It was like Deadpool leaped right off the comic pages on the screen. As for Colossus, THANK YOU TIM MILLER! We now also have an accurate version on Colossus. In the original trilogy (as well as Colossuses non-speaking cameo in Days Of The Future Past) was a skinny guy without the character's trademark Russian accent. Since Miller and Reynolds had full creative control over the movie, Miller gave us a comic accurate Colossus, who's hilarious in this movie. Humor in this movie is stellar and nearly of all it jokes land. Deadpool's trademark fourth wall breaks are absolutely hysterical.The film's Green Lantern references had me dying as well as the opening credits. The main battle scene of the movie where Deadpool, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead faces off against Ajax, Angel Dust, and their army was fantastic. I loved every second of it. Deadpool has been redeemed from whoever that character was in Origins.
Deadpool overall has a pretty predictable plot, which namely lies in the origin story. Francis destroyed Deadpool's body and life with the experiments and now our hero wants revenges and sets out to find our villain and save his estranged girlfriend. Although the film's exciting, humorous, and action packed nature overshadows this flaw, it's still an important flaw nonetheless. Hopefully in the sequel, this flaw will be fixed. Now this second one this isn't actually a criticism for the movie, it's more of a question for Fox. Where exactly does Deadpool fit in X-Men's already dysfunctional timeline? Simon Kinberg, on the film's producers confirmed that the film does take place in the X-Men Cinematic Universe, but where? For example, Colossus has tripled in size from his appearances in the original trilogy and Days Of The Future Past, and now has his trademark Russian accent, which he didn't have in the original trilogy. If this takes place in the new timeline, why is there no explanation for this for Colossus's sudden growth and his Russian accent. Even Deadpool himself doesn't know where the film takes place. Hopefully, we'll get an answer soon.
|"McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines are so confusing."|
Despite its unexpected success, Deadpool isn't going to take Fox back to top or help give them a fighting chance against the MCU, but I guess it's given them a better leg to stand on for now. Deadpool is a brilliant film. It's hilarious and action packed with great writing, directing, acting, and has the quality of an MCU film. If you still haven't seen the film, I highly recommend you do. Deadpool is definitely not your traditional superhero film, but it's one you'll keep coming back to.
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