I woke up this morning to a surprise copy of BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE. So before I even made my coffee I dove right in. Like many I have been anxiously awaiting this animated film. DC has a good track record with their animated films and this is one title that super fans have been asking for in animated form for a long time now. One of the main reasons that there has been so much excitement for this title is the fact that they brought back the core cast from the beloved nineties classic, BATMAN:THE ANIMATED SERIES. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their roles as both Batman and The Joker respectively. In many eyes Hamill is the best joker, be it only in vocal performance, but his take has always been critically adored. So to have the main two pieces from the nineties series back together is enough to get many excited with anticipation.
Unfortunately THE KILLING JOKE does not deliver. The first thirty minutes of the seventy five minute running time is dedicated to an unnecessary prologue involving Batgirl. It deviates from the source material. I see what they were trying to do, show a back story between Batgirl/Barbara Gordon and Batman. A girl desperately trying to show her worth to Batman while at the same time having feelings. Using her sex appeal as a weapon, with criminals and with Batman. They even throw in a rooftop sex scene between the two bats. That right there was a little off base to me, because I always felt that Batman was more of a mentor towards her and not a love interest, kinda creepy if you ask me.
By the time the first useless thirty minutes of this Batgirl story is over, my interest was already waning. Finally the real Killing Joke story begins and it is lackluster from the get go. I know it’s animation, but Kevin Conroy seems bored and going through the motions in his performance of Batman. The basic jist is the Joker once again again escapes Arkham Asylum and has a big plan for Batman. I’ll leave out the main details so I don’t give everything away in case you never read the graphic novel. Basically that Batgirl prologue sets up what happens to her, I guess so we would care more?
The whole thing just goes through the motions and never gives us any time to get invested in the story or really care actually. It seemed real quick to me and very watered down. Not enough Joker by far, if you are bringing back Mark Hamill for the first time in a while to reprise a role he was great at, then please give him more screen time and better material. When the final act comes, I just wanted it to end, there was no big climax and my interest was long gone. It is very unfortunate because I Was really looking forward to this release, especially after that abomination that was Batman vs Superman. Most of the DC animated films are very good. I am a big fan of both Dark Knight Returns films and The Red Hood. In animated form they usually kick ass with the Batman stories. This one was a complete letdown.
1 out of 5 stars *