Here’s the Batman story that I never thought I would see as a film, much less an animated one. The Killing Joke has been cited as one of the most influential comics ever written. All it takes is one bad day…
Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (Tara Strong) has been fighting crime for over three years and has come into her own during that time. One night while her father Jim Gordon (Ray Wise) over, the Joker (Mark Hamil) shoots Barbara in the stomach, and other things. He is out to prove to Batman (Kevin Conroy) that all it takes is one bad day, just one, to make a person go insane.
Look, there’s a lot of really dark shit in this movie, owning up to the spirit of the comic. Yes, you even get the Joker’s origin story (well, one of them), the unspeakable mental torture of Jim Gordon, and that disputed resolution. It’s all here.
I just noticed that I haven’t said if I liked the film. Weird. Short answer is yes I do. The plot of the film is just really unsavory, as it fucking should be. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil are fucking pros at this by now. This oddly enough adds to the dynamic of these two men pushing each other to limits. I grew up with these two men as Batman and the Joker respectfully, and it doesn’t get old seeing these two spar.
After watching the movie, and before writing this, I thought about Batman v. Superman and this movie with regards to how both present dark themes into their stories, but The Killing Joke actually has the guts to actually explore those themes in just half the running time. It can be brutal to sit through, but it does make you look into fragile state of the human mind.
Also, the movie starts with a prologue about Batgirl that I felt was unnecessary, but I understood why it was placed there. I think there’s enough people in the world who know who Batgirl is, and you’re a real piece of shit if you show this to little kids (flick is R rated for a god damn reason). I did like the mid credit scene. That was a nice touch.
Once again, D.C. Animated just easily succeeds where the live action counterparts fail. I like this character driven superhero stuff. There should be more of it, don’t you think?