Batman pursues the Joker after he escapes Arkham Asylum,
paralyzes Barbara Gordon, and kidnaps Commissioner Gordon.
Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)
Directed by Sam Liu
Written by Brian Azzarello
Starring Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong,
Ray Wise, Robin Atkin Downes, John DiMaggio
Based on characters from DC Comics
Oh, dear. This was the big one. The graphic novel fans have been waiting to see adapted for decades. Now, unfortunately, it's going to go down as one of the biggest disappointments in the history of DC Comics, and with their recent string of movies, that's saying something. There is absolutely no reason this shouldn't have been an animated masterpiece. You had veteran voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill returning in their iconic roles and the film was boasting an R-rating. It looked like they were going to do their best to craft the hardcore, gritty Batman adventure we all wanted. Clearly, that's not what happened.
As usual, the voice talent is superb. Conroy and Hamill have yet to disappoint me in their roles as Batman and the Joker. I just wish they'd been given a much better script. The storyline is abysmal. It opens with a 30 minute mob subplot that goes nowhere and has nothing to do with the rest of the story. It's there solely so Batgirl can get objectified enough to lead her to have sex with Batman. Yeah, that's right. They get busy on a Gotham rooftop in a rainstorm. The stakes were already high enough, people. This is a graphic novel that sees the Joker shoot and paralyze Batgirl, then kidnap her father to drive him insane with naked pictures of his tortured daughter. Batman already cared enough about the situation to be personally involved. Having them in an on-again/off-again relationship just makes everything weird and ruins the rest of the story.
The animation is slightly off, too. I was a big fan of the early 2000's animation that was used for the Justice League cartoon. That always looked good. The style they used here never got the mouths right and always made the Joker look like a hand puppet with a giant mouth. There were just so many factors that led to this animated disaster that fans will forever be pissed off by. If it wasn't for Conroy and Hamill, there'd be virtually nothing to like about it from beginning to end. I hope that DC's animation department sticks to making up their own stories if this is what they're going to do to the classics.