Batman: The Killing Joke - 1.5 Stars
Lacklustre with an unfulfilling ending.
Based on the acclaimed DC Comics graphic novel, take a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime. Now escaped from Arkham Asylum, The Joker sets out to prove that one bad day can make anyone just as insane as he is. Featuring the return of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as The Joker and Tara Strong as Batgirl, witness the birth of a super villain, the fortitude of a hero and the punchline that will leave you speechless!
This movie had a series of premiere screenings prior to its release on DVD in Australia and the US tomorrow. There was certainly an air of excitement in the cinema, many people clearly fans of the iconic comic upon which this film is based. However the animators relied so heavily on the comic that they failed to inject any cinematic life into the picture. Comic books and movies are very different mediums and need to be catered for differently - this wasn’t an adequate adaptation. The animation at times was tacky and the ending wasn’t an appropriate way to end the story.
What was good though were the vocal performances, especially Mark Hamill’s. He’s an incredible Joker and really does the character justice - even in his menacing musical number. What was appalling was the relationship between Batgirl and Batman - this wasn’t in the comic and created controversy on social media overnight. Not only is the sex scene between the iconic characters strange Batman is portrayed as domineering in the relationship while Batgirl is needy/clingy. This is an inaccurate representation of both these characters and a plainly creepy relationship.
Also Batman is more of an aside character, which is fine - but Batgirl being the lead (or at least for half the film) just isn’t an adequate replacment. What also is unnerving about this representation of Batgirl is it appears she only takes on the role to try and get Batman’s attention - again demeaning the character and making their relationship unusual. Hamill’s Joker could’ve easily been the primary character and things would’ve significantly improved, his back story is interesting.
Overall it needed a lot more work, though the accompanying documentaries were interesting. Conroy and Hamill’s return needed something better, this wasn’t it.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas