Home Entertainment Review: Batman: The Killing Joke (Warner)

The quintessential Joker story is finally adapted in an animated story. But the question is, should have it been? I find myself struggling with this review. Like a lot of people, […]

The quintessential Joker story is finally adapted in an animated story. But the question is, should have it been?

I find myself struggling with this review. Like a lot of people, I consider The Killing Joke, as close to a definite Joker origin as we will ever get. The story is timeless and ages well. So when I heard that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment was turning it into an animated feature, I really had doubts about the project. There are just some things that just should stay in the medium they were created in.

Since it was shown at San Diego Comic-Con, there’s been a huge uproar about the adaptation. Most of it having to do with the additional backstory given to Batgirl. Personally, I felt it was unnecessary. It was long and dragged out and added nothing to the story. 45 mins of a subplot. I didn’t have an issue with the romance between Batman and Batgirl, as it wasn’t the first time Bruce Timm pushed this in previous animated endeavors. Plus, if you remember the old Batman ’66 TV show, there was constant flirting between Batman and Batgirl. As a comic fan, I personally like the idea of Batgirl being with Nightwing, but that’s small compared to the rest of the problems with this adaptation.

When we finally get to the actual adaptation of The Killing Joke, the writer and director just missed the mark. The heart and soul of the story were there, but I always saw The Killing Joke as a drama with some elements of action. There were unnecessary additional fight sequences added to the film. Some might say because animation is more a visual medium, but I know of Anime stories that are straight drama with little to no action. That’s how this should have been done.

I also wasn’t a fan of the animation style at all. It seems like a bad cross between Brian Boland’s original art, meshed with Bruce Timm’s. It did not work for me at all.

I have nothing negative to say about the voice casting at all. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill slipping back into Batman and the Joker. Can’t beat that at all. Tara Strong does a great job voicing Batgirl, and Ray Wise is great as Commissioner Gordon. I really hope they keep Wise on to do Gordon again. He really fit the character.

In the end, I really feel that The Killing Joke should have never been adapted. I think that is the case with most of Alan Moore’s work. Look at Watchmen and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It works great on the page and just needs to stay there.

Batman: The Killing Joke is available in stores now.

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.