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Batman: The Killing Joke
BLU-RAY disk
08.16.2016 By: Jason Adams
Batman: The Killing Joke order download
Director:
Sam Liu

Actors:
Kevin Conroy
Mark Hamill
Tara Strong

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
With Batgirl in the hospital and Commissioner Gordon kidnapped, the Dark Knight sets off for the ultimate showdown with the Joker to settle the score once and for all.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

THE KILLING JOKE should’ve been a homerun. The return of Animated Series’ favorites Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy. An adaptation of Alan Moore’s seminal comic that redefined the Joker and his relationship with the Dark Knight. And they even got an R-rating to do the disturbing story justice. So how did they manage screw this up so badly?

It comes down to the age old problem of translating a short form source to a feature-length production. Moore's comic is perfectly succinct and to the point, but there are definitely ways you could have padded this out to enhance the story. THE KILLING JOKE ignores all of those, adding in a prologue centering on Batman and Batgirl's relationship that is catastrophically bad. It's full of terrible characters (Paris Franz, really?), terrible stereotypes (Barbara has a gay BFF to gossip about her love life) and terrible dialogue (i.e. jokes about menstruation).

None of that comes close to what is probably the worst decision ever made in any Batman story throughout the Caped Crusader's long history: Batgirl takes her schoogirl crush on her superhero boss to a new level, sleeping with Batman and turning in to a psychotic, scorned lover in the process. It's a colossal misunderstanding of the fundamental characters. I know there were hints in Batman Beyond of a possible romance between the two back in the day, but the way it's shown in THE KILLING JOKE completely changes their dynamic in the worst way possible. Not only for the new prologue, but for the rest of the actual Alan Moore part of the story. It's a little different seeing Batman going to save Gordon, who's being tortured by images of his brutally beaten daughter, knowing that the hero just boned and bailed on Barbara. And the prologue doesn't even tie in to the adapted story at all, feeling like two completely separate movies. They could've created a prologue centered on Commissioner Gordon and Barbara that would've made much more sense.

Everything that’s a direct adaptation of the comic—the Joker’s back story, Batman confronting his similarities with his greatest foe— is fine, if not a little boring. That's the fault of the animation, which is usually great in these DC animated films, but shockingly shoddy here. Brian Bolland’s striking, iconic visuals are translated to dull and lifeless moving images. That could've been the one saving grace of THE KILLING JOKE, but it can't even get that right.

THE EXTRAS

The Blu Ray comes with a DVD and Digital Copy, as well as a few forgettable special features:

The Many Sides of the Joker (17:45): This featurette looks at the source material, as well as the history of Batman’s most famous villain. Exploring the influence of Alan Moore’s original Killing Joke comic here only makes the film’s flaws that much more apparent.

Madness Set to Music (11:55): I honestly don’t remember much about the score from this, but if you care to learn about the music and the three composers responsible, Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion and Lolita Ritmanis, you can watch this.

The Blu Ray also comes with two episodes of superior Batman animation (“Batman: The Animated Series” and “The New Batman Adventures”) and Sneak Peeks at other DC Animated movies. Although is it a “sneak peek” if three out of the four have already been released?

FINAL DIAGNOSIS

As a huge, often forgiving Batman fan, I can't recommend any part of THE KILLING JOKE. It’s a terrible adaptation of Alan Moore's comic and a lazy attempt to shock the audience instead of coming up with a good story. You're better off reading the source material and pretending like this never existed.

Extra Tidbit: Despite saying this would be their last hurrah, Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy will both be voicing their famous roles on Cartoon Network's new Justice League Action show.

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5:31PM on 08/16/2016

Yeah, this was disappointing.

Such a bummer, because the WB animated features are usually outstanding. My wife and I fell asleep shortly after Gordon was brought before Joker in the amusement park. I tried not to read any reviews about the new material, but I kept coming across headlines like "Fans' shocked reaction to sex scene in The Killing Joke"...Batgirl takes off her shirt and the camera lifts off into the sky. The entire prologue was totally unnecessary.
Such a bummer, because the WB animated features are usually outstanding. My wife and I fell asleep shortly after Gordon was brought before Joker in the amusement park. I tried not to read any reviews about the new material, but I kept coming across headlines like "Fans' shocked reaction to sex scene in The Killing Joke"...Batgirl takes off her shirt and the camera lifts off into the sky. The entire prologue was totally unnecessary.
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12:47PM on 08/16/2016

You gotta call a spade a spade...

Sadly, I agree with pretty much everything you said. Even the subtlety of the ending was mishandled... Can't win them all...
Sadly, I agree with pretty much everything you said. Even the subtlety of the ending was mishandled... Can't win them all...
Your Reply:



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