The Killing Joke was arguably the best Batman story ever, and now it is possibly the best Batman movie ever.
This makes sense because the animated format has allowed for a more direct adaption of the source material as opposed to an interpretation of the overall story, as seen in most live action films. The graphic novel from 1988 details the origin story of the Joker, while also showing him commit possibly his most horrific crime to date. These two narratives tie together to form The Joker’s point: everyone is just a bad day away from being like him. This creates a rare story where the Joker is both sympathetic and vile, and the first time this character was fleshed out in so many dimensions.
The story was so iconic that Mark Hamill (read Luke Skywalker) came out of retirement from doing the Joker’s voice for the role. Kevin Conroy also returned to voice Batman, which has been a common voice pairing of the adversaries dating back to the Batman animated show in 1992.
This story stands out from most films in the super hero genre (both animated and live action) because of how deeply it delves into the psyche of its characters, and how it examines the relationship between Batman and the Joker. A relationship which has coaxed examination on an academic level on how they are perfect adversaries, this film shows they are complete opposites but very similar at the same time. This film has an interesting dynamic between black and white morality built on a foundation of grey areas that reflects the two characters’ differing perspectives of lives born from tragedy.
The depth of this tale is what separates it from its peers in the medium, as it pushes the limits, and it has passed the well worn territory of other films to provide a fresh experience for viewers. As a fan of the original graphic novel, I was both cautious and excited about this project as it felt like such an opportunity to capitalize on an incredible story. It proved to be a faithful adaptation of the original material that will please hardcore fans, but will also feel like a complete and original film to casual viewers.
The main criticism of the film was the time it devoted to the prologue which heavily featured batgirl. While it was interesting and provided character development, it dragged on a little long and more time could have been allocated to the main story. However, overall it was a fine film and Hamill’s portrayal polished it off excellently, in what could be his final performance of the character.
After debuting at Comic Con, the film will have a one night only screening at select cinemas on the 24th of July, and will be released on DVD on the 2nd of August.
Overall rating 9/10 Genre Rating 10/10