I finally watched Batman The Killing Joke. The source material, a 30 year old short story that stood on it’s own only to be integrated into DC’s comic universe over all, is regarded as the quintessential Batman story.
One of the problems with adopting this story, other than the fact that it is so short, is that it largely isn’t about Batman, but The Joker. In this movie adaptation, they decided to flesh out Barbra Gordon, Batgirl, with a 28 minute prologue that has nothing to do with the original comic.
Bruce Timm, co-creator of Batman The Animated Series, has long believed that Batgirl and Batman should be together romantically at least once for a long time, and takes offense when people get upset with this idea, stating that it was subtly hinted at before him in the comics and the Adam West Batman series.
Timm tragically paired Batman, who is good friends with Barbra’s father and Bruce Wayne himself is the adopted father of her on again off again boyfriend Robin/Nightwing, in Batman Beyond’s history and also allowed Barbra to have a comment about it in the animated movie Batman: Mystery of The Batwoman
The first 28 minutes feels like it is nothing more than a long lost episode of Bruce Timm’s old cartoon that bridges that part in Barbra and Bruce’s history. This wish fulfillment wouldn’t be as disturbing on it’s own as an OVA to those two beloved series, but as part of The Killing Joke, many have taken offense with it, even at the showing at the recent San Diego Comic Con.
Once that finishes and The Killing Joke starts properly, well… everything that we just saw is thrown out the window except that Batman, Barbra, and Commissioner Gordon exist. Really. None of the mobsters seem to carry over even. It is literally just like taking a previous issue of Detective Comics and then a future issue of Batman and keeping them in the same folder. Things are different, something kind of just happened, but it’s not important because this is the story that we are focusing on. So… congratulations Bruce Timm for capturing the feeling of reading comics?
I’ve never been a fan of The Killing Joke. I do not know if using the cast from the 1990’s cartoon was the best idea for this movie, and I sort of agree with Movie Bob, who believes that it is kind of pointless to do an adaptation of this movie now in 2016, when we have already seen so many movies at this point take inspiration from it already, such as The Dark Knight.
I like it when creators adapt years and years of comics into an animated series/movie, and filter out a lot of the waste while being able to add their own unique spin on things. Killing Joke did not do this in any important way, as the two parts do not mesh well and feel pointless.
If you like the comic, fast forward past The Batgirl story, and do not watch the partial credits scene, as it introduces us to something that happens that is also not in the story that helps them flesh out one of the supporting cast members who should really get their own movie/game/whatever at this point.