Movie Review: Fathom Events' Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke
Released: July 25, 2016
Director: Sam Liu
Writers: Brian Azzarello (screenplay)
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong
Genres: Animation | Action | Crime | Drama | Thriller
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some bloody images and disturbing content
Production: Fathom Events, Answer Studio, The (animation production), DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros.
Due to overwhelming fan demand and sold out theaters in major markets, more than 300 theater locations have been added for the big-screen debut of “Batman: The Killing Joke,” now showing at over 1,000 U.S. cinemas and making this the widest rollout for any event in Fathom Events’ history. The acclaimed graphic novel-turned-film will be shown for just one night on Monday, July 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time. This event reunites the foundation of “Batman: The Animated Series” with Bruce Timm returning as executive producer, and actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their seminal roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively.

In addition to the animated feature, audience members will get to experience a special introduction from Hamill, plus a never-before-seen documentary about the actor and his passion for this project. The event also includes a special behind-the-scenes look at how the Joker’s memorable, yet disturbing, song and dance number was recreated for this feature. “Batman: The Killing Joke” is a 2K presentation that has been remastered for this theatrical event.

Patrick's Review: Alan Moore is considered one of the most famous graphic novel writers of all time. Many of his novels have made it to the screen "V for Vendetta," "Watchmen," and now "Batman: The Killing Joke." The new animated Batman is an origin story following the Joker. Along with having a great story, having returning cast Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, and being my favorite comic book it is needless to say that I was very excited. Unfortunately, the added prologue was thirty minutes of Barbara Gordon (Tara Strong) and her intimate relationship with Batman. It was understandable that Barbara should be a stronger character, but the execution was poor and her story ultimately detracted from the overall film. Once "The Killing Joke" from the novel started, the film became enjoyable.

From here on out there will be spoilers: The movie starts with Batgirl stating that the story is actually about her. This will come a great surprise to anyone who has read the graphic novel. The movie then spends thirty minutes showing Batgirl flirting, fighting, sleeping, and then again fighting with Batman. The relationship takes away from Batman's motivation to confront the Joker and thus diminishes the great story.

After the prologue finishes the story begins to follow the graphic novel, and is therefore significantly better. Batman, in fear that a confrontation with the Joker will end in some sort of death, wants to make sure that he has made an attempt to work things out. The Joker is out to prove that one bad day can change someone into himself or Batman. He attempts to give Jim Gordon this bad day, and he reminisces about being a comedian trying to make it. As the comedian, he attempts to make some money for his pregnant wife by helping some gangsters rob a card company. His day spirals out of control as death surrounds him and it finishes with a confrontation with a young Batman.

Overall, “The Killing Joke” is worth a watch. The story is a classic and one of the better origin stories out there. As long as you start the movie as you prepare your favorite snack, this movie is great.

Cheyenne's Review: Warning:spoilers ahead!

The Killing Joke was thoroughly enjoyable. From reading the comic I know that not everything in the movie was going to be the same. This, however, added to the movie for me. I really enjoyed the background on Barbara Gordon, because it not only showed what she was going through before being shot, but what she became afterwards (Oracle). I also liked how the movie shows the struggles that Batgirl went through in trying to get Batman to accept her and take her seriously. She wants to be an equal to him, but he is not the trusting type and would much prefer her to listen and learn from him than to take on things by herself. The only thing I could have done without was the physical relationship between batman and batgirl. It took away from all of the fighting she had done previously to become his partner and earn the name of batgirl.

Otherwise I loved seeing one of my favorite comics come to life. They did a fantastic job with the rest of the film, and it followed the comic very closely. The relationship between the joker and batman was spot on, and the voice actors did a wonderful job bringing their characters to life. Mark Hamill somehow made the joker both sinister and cheerful at the same time. In the movie, the joker emphasizes that one bad day can absolutely change someone's life. His story begins with him as a failed comedian just trying to make a living for him and his pregnant wife. He then takes a job to steal something and ends up falling into the vat of acid that makes him into the joker that everyone knows today. The movie goes on to show the joker trying to give Jim Gordon his bad day and make him as damaged as he is. The musical number was one of my favorite scenes, because it appeared to be an upbeat one but if you listened to the words they were very sinister. It showed that the joker wants to appear as a funny guy, but he is really a very disturbed individual.

I had no real expectations going in, but the Killing Joke turned out to be a great movie, and one that I would definitely watch again.

You can now purchase Batman: The Killing Joke via Amazon: HD Instant Download | Blu-Ray DVD or you can purchase the deluxe edition of the comic book, click on cover below.


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