Saturday, 8 July 2017

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) - Film Review


*Originally written July 23rd, 2016*

"The joke's on me"

I was very much looking forward to this. I haven't read the comic, but everyone talked about it like it was the second coming of Jesus. An R-rated Batman film. It had potential to be amazing.

Well, this is mostly just a horrible mess. The voice performances are great, Mark Hamill is incredible as expected as The Joker. The inclusion of both Hamill and Kevin Conroy makes me feel like it could be canon to the Arkham game series (Which I love).

It just falls apart in its horribly sadistic and pointless feeling story that borders on torture porn with its treatment of the only female character. Barbara Gordon is so sexualized in this, it is disgusting, it felt like Michael Bay directed an animation at some points. What they do in a scene with her and Batman just felt wrong and a little disturbing.

We spend the first 30 minutes utterly destroying what could have been a really strong female character and reducing her to a immature school girl with a crush on Batman that takes things to a place that had no right to be there. They even shoehorn in an awfully offensive and stereotypically camp gay character that just left me thinking "Wow". The writers must have never interacted with a real gay person and based this character on over the top parodies.

The whole thing about Joker's backstory sucked. What makes The Joker great is his mysterious past. By telling us what happened to him in increasingly uninteresting flashbacks really takes away from his character. i'm really, really confused by what the purpose was to that whole entire subplot.
While I really didn't like this. I will admit they were some inspired moments. The Joker's funhouse ride was effectively disturbing and his musical number was awesome. Aside from that and the animation, everything else sucked.

It did at least earn its much talked about 'R' rating due to its content. There's some bloody shootouts, beatings, an implied rape and someone gets beaten to a pulp. I would have liked to have seen this kind of content in a better written Batman film, but instead we're stuck with this.

The script was just awful. Filled with cringeworthy lines and terrible dialogue that was almost laughable. And at 70 minutes this still felt too long. The first 20 minutes are such a drag too. I don't know how big the comic is, but by the looks of it, they really struggled to get this thing up to feature length.

I really have no idea what they were going for with this. If I hear people say "Oh, but that was in the comic". Well, then the comic sucked too, or it translated better on paper. This was just horrible.

If this truly is one of the best Batman stories ever, then this adaptation of The Killing Joke is a complete failure on all levels. I can only imagine how much better this could have been had it had a real budget and been bought to lice-action with a much better crew behind it. One of my biggest disappointments of the year.

2/10 Dans

Batman: The Killing Joke is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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