We’ve been waiting in anticipation for the animated Batman: The Killing Joke adaptation for quite a while now, but does it live up to the hype? Unfortunately not. It’s also worth noting, that even though this is an animated film, it’s definitely not suitable for children. It deals with some disturbing themes and is very violent.
Batman: The Killing Joke. It’s a thrilling and controversial plot. It always has been. But the fact is, it’s just not a good adaptation of the classic story. Considering the amount of hype that has been generated around it, we went in thinking this could be the best animated Batman movie of all time. Unfortunately, this definitely isn’t the case. It’s actually more of a Batgirl movie. And usually we wouldn’t be complaining at all – but it’s not done in a great way, and it’s a huge change of direction.
The story is set to revolve around The Dark Knight and The Joker’s constant conflict. But instead, we get an unsettling superhero romance shoehorned in the beginning of the movie. The idea that Batgirl and Batman have a sexual relationship is a little weird and almost unsettling. The purpose of including their relationship works to further the weight of the tragedy midway through the film. So really, the purpose of Batgirl in the film is to serve Batman’s emotional development. Could she not just be her own character? Then there’s the fact that The Joker doesn’t even appear until around 35 minutes into the 1 hour 16 minutes run time of the film.
There are some elements of the film that they got right however. The art, style and tone matches that of the graphic novel, and translates perfectly onscreen. The chemistry between The Joker and Batman is unparalleled, and is truly captivating. There are some scenes taken straight from the graphic novel, and they are visually fantastic. When The Joker walks away from the park owner, and we see the demented smile on the dead man’s face, it’s chilling.
It’s ruined by the fact that the filmmakers spend a considerable amount of time focusing on using Batgirl as a plot device in Batman: The Killing Joke. She serves the development of every single male character instead of making her a well rounded character in her own right. And whilst the conversations with her friend at work were an interesting delve into her mind, she’s disappointingly two dimensional. She’s seen as the over-emotional girlfriend OR Batgirl. There’s no real inbetween.
What could’ve been a truly great animated movie, was staggeringly disappointing. Maybe we expected a little too much.
An over-hyped adaptation of the brilliant comic book of the same name. It's over-inclusion of a two-dimensional Batgirl was extremely disappointing. It's still worth a watch for comic book fans.
- Treatment of only female character
- Joker's lack of screentime
- Art, style + tone