Let us address the very large elephant in the room. The movie adaption of the Killing Joke begins with Barbara Gordon stating “I am sure you are not expecting how this all began”. Oh how right you are.
I understand they were trying to make what happens to Barbara more personal, to make the stakes higher. I get that. But they took a strong female character who has been well established and they weakened her. The relationship between Batman and Barbara Gordon was always strictly business nothing more. This was a relationship between a student and a mentor. If there was a love that existed, it was strictly platonic. There was simply no reason to shoe-in a romantic subtext between her and Batman to make the audience feel more. The fact that it went so far to show them having sex..that just enrages me more. There was no need for this. You could go so far to say they had no need for any of the extra scenes. The movie would have been fine enough without it. This just infuriates me just how unfaithful to the character that they were. Okay they had a new director, I cannot fault him for not being familiar with the material. But they had Bruce Timm as the executive producer. He should have known better. To even allow this to happen..it just boggles my mind. Okay, I am ranting, sorry. Let us get to the rest of the movie.
Besides the hot mess of the beginning, the rest of the movie was very faithful to the graphic novel. It was an absolute joy to hear Mark Hamill voicing the Joker once more. To those of you who may not be familiar with the graphic novel, the storyline follows as the Joker decides to prove he can make everyone as crazy as he is. He shoots Barbara Gordon in the spine as well as kidnaps Commissioner Gordon. He takes Gordon to an abandoned carnival with the intention of showing Gordon how one bad day is all it takes to drive someone mad. We also get an origin story of how the Joker became what he is. Batman shows up, rescues Commissioner Gordon, as well as having a showdown with the Joker. The fight ends with you thinking that Batman will spare him as usual. In the end, he resigns himself to the fact he only knows one way to stop this. Even though it ends the same way the graphic novel does, it is a well known fact that he kills the Joker. And we get a midcredits scene for some reason showing us Barbara Gordon becoming the Oracle.
The beginning scenes aside, this movie was just as enjoyable as the graphic novel was. It felt like an extended episode of the Batman the Animated Series if they would have done an episode with a R rating. Kevin Conroy was just as ever as Batman. Mark Hamill, to pardon a pun, killed it as the Joker. The sad part is to know he said if he ever got to voice the Joker in the Killing Joke, after this, he planned to retire the role. Then again, you never know.
If you are a fan of Batman or the Killing Joke, I would recommend checking this movie out. It is currently available on Blu Ray, DVD, and digital video. Just skip the beginning scenes, you will enjoy it better. Trust me. Check out the trailer below