Batman: The Killing Joke
September 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
Well, it is obvious to know that I’m looking at another Alan Moore adaptation after this one and a recent one no less. Like I mention on a previous review, anybody in Hollywood has the guts to take any of his notable works and adapt it to average-to-poor fashion and the thing is I still stand on what I said about Watchmen but outside of it, I don’t mind V For Vendetta despite having a different commentary and I guess I could watch From Hell or that Constantine movie which yeah, an Canadian actor playing a british character might set off some outrage but keep in mind that Rachel Weisz is in it and she is attractive in this movie.
And now comes to Batman: The Killing Joke and it breaks my heart that I lost my expectations on this. I was honestly hyped about this when it’s announced with Kevin Conway and Mark Hamill reprising their voice roles and wondered if this adaptation would be extended to include good side-story that’s connected to the graphic novel like parts of Joker’s backstory or similar. They did sort-of that but at the same time, the extension is what I gonna talk about and tell me if this doesn’t scream The Killing Joke to you so here it goes.
The movie begins with a prologue devoted to Batgirl (Tara Strong) who is after the mob criminal Paris Franz (Maury Sterling) whom got a stalker-like obsession with her and wants her even if it costs the life of his uncle. At the same time, Barbara Gordon herself is obsessed with Batman (Kevin Conway) to the point that they gone from an argument to having sex on the rooftop. The situation got out of control which leads to Barbara retire her career as Batgirl after confronting Franz.
Following that, we get to the adaptation itself and The Joker (Mark Hamill) escaped Arkham Asylum and committing crimes to the extreme which includes kidnapping Barbara’s father James (Ray Wise) and shooting Barbara in the process (as well as possibly raping her). Batman then wanted no more on his lifelong nemesis and find him once and for all. He eventually found The Joker and James and the movie ends on a ambiguous note with The Joker telling the joke and then… an mid-credits scene where Barbara Gordon at home as she begins her career as Oracle! Wait, what?
Now to explain how the prologue and the adaptation flow with each other and… no, they don’t flow each other. In fact, the prologue is seen to me as the most insulting thing I ever seen since turning The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen into a action movie ensemble. For one, it portrayed Batgirl as less of a heroic icon and more of a girl who wants to get inside the man wearing the costume and really, this kind of shit probably works better in something like a Frank Miller tract but placing on this adaptation is not right. It also changes the motivation of Batman from going after The Joker because he hurts the people he know and trust to going after him because The Joker killed somebody that Bruce has sex with once. I mean, what the fuck?
And the thing is that Bruce Timm is so into this idea since before this adaptation since he puts subtle ways involving Batman/Batgirl back in works like Batman Beyond for example. Should I blame him on this? Probably not but really Timm, if you wanna make a slashfic involving these two, don’t put it in the same place as what is considered the most definitive Joker story ever told. The blame is actually more towards screenwriter Brian Azzarello and oh god, I am not much of him to be honest but if I were, this movie would make me call him hack for this. Not only is it because of the prologue but the way he adapt it is poorly done right down to adding the “Swear to Me” dialogue from Batman Begins to this? Really? You putting that in there?
The ending however is left more ambiguous but more poorly done since it doesn’t include Batman joking The Joker and police vehicles coming near them like in the comic. I read the comic last decade and that story is good and controversial enough to change how you see Batman and The Joker forever. The adaptation sadly is controversial by the case of adding it to the fanbase and that’s just bad. Imagine if there’s an adaptation of Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight where Hal Jordan was having sex with Alexandra DeWitt behind Kyle Rayner’s back while not noticing that Coast City has been destroyed by Mongul and lead to Hal going berserk and be the person putting her in the refrigerator. Yeah, you’ll be pretty pissed about that, would you?
But is there any positives and yeah, there is. The animated and the voice acting is okay and the adaptation flowed a bit like the story itself even with painful additions. So is this worth checking out? Actually, go with some fan edit or something or read the comic itself but don’t buy the movie. While many complain if Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Suicide Squad is a bad movie to come out this year that stars the caped crusader, I have to say that Batman: The Killing Joke is the one for me since really, the adaptation should have been handled better but DC don’t know how to please their fans anymore.