“Batman: The Killing Joke”

So, I had been led to believe, from all of the excitement on social media and in the press, that Batman: The Killing Joke was going to be the greatest Batman animated movie ever. Rated R (scandalous), and a serious interpretation of the classic Dark Knight comic.

Well, I’ll admit, it was good. Not really sure why it required an R-rating, though. A shot of Batgirl’s bra-covered breasts? The fact that Batman and Batgirl had sex (off-screen-ish)? A naked (but unshown) Commissioner Gordon being harangued by the Joker’s freaky little people?

I don’t see it.

Granted, we did have the merciless gunning down/paralyzing of Barbara Gordon, but even that seemed tame, despite the implications of what followed. I wonder, in the source material, was there an explicit sexual component of that assault, or was the staging of the event the point, in order to compromise Commissioner Gordon?

However, this was actually the first DC animated feature I’ve seen, and I must admit, I now get the whole Kevin-Conroy/Mark-Hamill fanboy thing.

Perfect voice-casting. Hamill brings the conflicted psyche of the Joker to life, making the role his own, without borrowing from the vocal stylings of Jokers gone by.

Conroy’s deep Batman growl can be positively chilling when dealing with criminals, but then turn around and tinge it with legitimate concern for Batgirl as he sees her falling into the depths of a villain’s madness just as he had.

Controlling? You bet. But only out of genuine concern, not from some sense of ownership over Batgirl.

Overall, I found The Killing Joke to be… okay. It had its good parts, but I laughed out loud when I heard Conroy’s Batman yell “swear to me!” cribbing one of Christian Bale’s signature lines from Christopher Nolan’s film trilogy.

I look forward to watching some more of the DC animated stuff, though, as, based on what I’ve seen and heard, I think they’ve really gotten on track in that department.

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