The theater is dark, and almost every single seat is taken.
The anticipation of comic book lovers, and Batman fans alike, is evident.
The moon and the beauty of the Gotham City skyline comes to the screen.
It is obvious that this will be the calm before the storm.
Batman: The Killing Joke is a graphic novel that was originally written in 1988 by Alan Moore, illustrated by Brian Bolland, and published by DC Comics. Moore had his own take on this notorious villains source and psychology, and was able to transfer those thoughts beautifully on paper. Uncertainty would be an understatement on whether or not DC Animation studios would be able to duplicate Moore’s work onto the big screen effectively. The animation is reminiscent of other DC Animation titles such as: Justice League vs. Teen Titans, or Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. Keeping the animation style the same allows viewers to have a consistent expectation of the art that is to be seen on-screen. The rated R rating that accompanied the film was appropriate, besides language, the topics that were suggested and discussed were definitely not meant for a PG-13 audience. This is very unlike the titles mentioned above, which grace the side scrolling screen under “Animated” on Netflix with other child appropriate hero related cartoons.
Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl, who is voiced by Tara Strong, was everything would want to see in a strong-willed character. There was a particular scene that felt out-of-place, nor conducive to the story, and had a substantial reaction by the audience but to read more on Batgirl and her role in the film check out this link. Batman is voiced by none other than Kevin Konroy, who has also voiced our hero in Batman: Assault on Arkham and many other titles. With Kevin being back in the driver’s seat, it comes to no shock that Mark Hamill would be the obvious choice to bring the Joker to life. Mark is the man many would consider to be the original Joker, consider he has been his voice actor since 1993 with Batman: The Mask of Phantasm. The star-studded casting already promises for this to be an excellent film.
For some, or maybe even many, this may be the first time that an explanation to The Joker’s insanity is provided. The film goes into depth about his white skin, green hair, and life changing moment that caused him to become the maniac we adore. Bruce Wayne has been given a difficult task on whether or not he will allow this abusive relationship between himself and The Joker to continue. Batman is well aware that one of them will have to die before their madness will ever end, but also realizes there may be another way. Batman wants to explore that option, and also heed the explicit orders of Commissioner Gordon to “go by the book.” To say that this screenwriting isn’t heavy in emotions is an understatement! One of the beauties of cinema is being able to lead an audience to believing something happened without showing anything, and that tactic was definitely used by the director. Some scenes were left to the imagination, which in turn left the audience talking after the film. One would think that’s what any film maker would want to see occur after a screening of their film. Fans of the graphic novel should be happy to see that there were many moments that were exact replicas of the panels drawn in the comic. They were appropriately placed during the right scenes in the film, and to see the song “Loony” being performed in a broadwayesque style was mildly hilarious. James Tucker, who drew that particular scene, did an excellent job making it entertaining yet horrifying.
As a side note, there was a hint that Harley Quinn will be in a following feature with a short cameo in the middle of the film. Also there was a small nod given to the Heath Ledger as The Joker thanks to an interpretation of the iconic movie poster hanging on the wall in one of the scenes.
Batman: The Killing Joke is the 26th film in the DC Universe Animated movies and a beautiful reprise of arguably one of the best Batman graphic novels to have ever been written. It was originally intended to be released directly to home video, but instead was simultaneously released in theaters and on home video. It will also be released digitally on July 26th, before a DVD and Blu-Ray release on August 2nd, 2016. Sam Liu and Brian Azzarello were a dynamic duo in the making of this film, and hope to see them working together in other projects in the future. While there was empty promises being made about Batgirl’s character, which gave plenty of room for negative criticism, the film overall is one that should not be missed by DC fans.
3.5 out of 5 bat wings!