Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke is DC Animation’s latest movie that comes out on Blu-ray August 2, 2016 but lucky for me, I got to watch it on the big screen! Like Batman V Superman, this movie also seems to be quite divisive with fans and critics. Some people hated it, while others loved it. What did I think? Check out the post to find out.


Batman: The Killing Joke is based off the graphic novel of the same title from 1988. It is one of the most famous, controversial, and best Batman/Joker graphic novels to date. The story provided fans with a Joker origin story, tackled Batman’s greatest moral dilemmas (killing the Joker?), dissected the Joker’s insanity with eloquent poetry, and showcased The Joker’s sadistic cruelty and its worst. However, the graphic novel is incredibly short; which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a graphic novel. But if you were to turn the graphic novel into an animated movie, the film would probably be 45-55 minutes long. Thus, DC Animation decided to add a Batgirl story to make the movie longer and logically, for additional depth and emotion.

Unfortunately this was not the case! The original Batgirl story didn’t add any emotion or depth to The Killing Joke story-line. In fact, the movie loses points for it. I’m not saying adding a Batgirl story was a bad choice; the story that they created was just sloppy and very strange. Batman and Batgirl just did things that were very out of character and as you’re trying to let these weird things settle in, the movie jarringly switches over to The Killing Joke story-line. You’d think with all the time they had, they could’ve written a better Batgirl story arc to naturally mesh with The Killing Joke.

Besides that, the rest of the movie was fantastic! The Killing Joke is one of my favourite graphic novels because The Joker poetically explains his rationale for insanity (clever right? Using logic to explain insanity!). Furthermore, we get to see Batman struggle with his greatest dilemma: should he kill The Joker or not? The movie does a phenomenal job with foreshadowing and building up to this difficult decision that the Dark Knight needs to make after all the horrific things The Joker has done.

However! If you’re not a fan of the graphic novel there’s a very good chance you won’t like this movie. This assumption is based on how people reacted in the movie theatres. I heard a lot of people grumbling and complaining about the, “Cartoonish animation” and “The Joker’s long monologues“. As for the ending of the movie, I heard things like,  “WTF? That’s it?“. I personally enjoyed the animation style, The Joker’s ramblings and songs about insanity, and the ambiguous ending because they were ripped straight out of the comic book’s panels.

My conclusion is, if ‘you’re a fan of the graphic novel, you’ll appreciate how faithful they were to the source material with the exception of the Batgirl story. If you’ve never read the graphic novel or you have read it and didn’t like it, then you probably won’t enjoy this movie since it is quite different from the other DC animated movies. Hopefully this helps if you weren’t sure about watching Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill return as these iconic characters in Batman: The Killing Joke.

Until next time, nerd out.

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