Well we’ve reached the point of the year where we don’t have a lot of new movies to see…well kind of. The summer blockbusters are behind us and the holiday hits are too far ahead. While there are new movies coming out (i.e. I saw the new Mechanic movie last weekend), they just aren’t as shiny and exciting as those released during the summer. So instead of reviewing some pointless drivel, how about we instead look at a good straight-to-DVD movie. Batman: The Killing Joke is the animated adaptation of the graphic novel written by Alan Moore and has caught some controversy from feminists and comic book fans alike. So question is, is it as bad as they say or is it actually good?
Story: The story is divided into two parts; while the majority of the film is a seemingly faithful adaptation of the graphic novel (I say seemingly because I don’t read comic books cause I’m not a nerd), however the first 30 minutes is a prologue that would seem to develop Batgirl’s character. A good idea in theory, it falls on its face and ends up making a good character in Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and ruining it. Oddly enough, it’s more of a “killing joke” than actual one. However, knowing this going in, it is easy to ignore and once the source material kicks in, it is a fantastic story. There is a reason this novel is widely known as the definitive backstory of the joker. Any fan of Batman, comic books, or general action films need to see this for themselves.
Acting: The supporting cast, highlighted by Tara Strong, does a great job, with each one performing their role pretty well. And then of course there is Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. As always, Conroy and Hamill are absolutely perfect as Batman and the Joker. The complement each other well and Mark Hamill does is an amazing job of performing a pre-insane Joker too finish the job.
Presentation: While some have complained about the style of the animation not matching the style of the graphic novel, I don’t think that is important. As a film fan, what I care about is how it looks and matches the story and it is fantastic. The animation is wonderful and the soundtrack fits in perfectly. To me, when I think of a comic-book movie (well an animated one at least), this is what I picture.
Effect: Again, sparing the Batgirl prologue, this is what I want out of a comic book movie. Despite knowing big twist of the story, it is still an engaging and appealing story. The ending is particularly great as there is a moment where the Joker has a moment of pure-clarity that I have never seen from the character before. The moment alone made the entire movie worth it.
Other: Again as I said earlier, this is a movie that all action movie fans should see. There is not much else to say here. Ok fine. I’ll remove a point or two for the bad, strange, and out of place Batgirl clichéd prologue but it shouldn’t stop you from seeing it.
Cleaning this up, yes. I’ll admit that the prologue is pretty bad and is the opposite of what we should see out of female characters, and Batman in general. That being said, the Killing Joke is a fantastic story and this movie does a fantastic job of bringing Alan Moore’s original story to life…well at least the second hour anyways. Knowing that going in, you’ll have a good time.