Batman: The Killing Joke – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: NA (Critics) / 96% (Audience)
Directed By: Sam Liu
Written By: Brian Azzarello
Starring: Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Ray Wise and Mark Hamill
Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
Synopsis: As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness. – (Source)


The Good:
It is always a good thing when Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill give voice to Batman and The Joker so having them back for this animated feature was totally a positive.
And the notion of expanding Batgirl’s presence in the story so that she wasn’t just the victim of the Joker’s twisted machinations was a good idea in theory and actually worked somewhat because the parts of the film dealing with Batgirl bristling under the tutelage of Batman were well done.

The Bad:
However, the idea to have Batman and Batgirl have sex was ill-advised because it did nothing to enhance the characterization of Batman or Batgirl and instead made them both come off pretty badly. Batman seemed like an asshat taking advantage of his protege and Batgirl came off like an immature school girl with a crush on her teacher. Plus it seemed to be included just as an excuse to augment Batman’s man-pain when Batgirl got victimized by The Joker. It does make me wonder just what the heck exec producer Bruce Timm’s obsession with Batman and Batgirl making sexy times is because he also alluded to the idea in an episode of BATMAN BEYOND if I am remembering correctly.
Also taking about half of the film to finally introduce The Joker was unwise.

The Ugly:
Paris Franz is a groan worthy name for a character and every time it was uttered I wanted to punch something.

Final Verdict: A disappointing adaptation of one of the seminal Batman stories of all time that attempts to make Batgirl’s part in the story more meaningful but instead ends up making her and Batman and the entire movie just come off worse. Conroy and Hamill still have it though and their voice performances are the best thing about this entire film.

Grade: C-

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