'Batman - The Killing Joke'
(Kevin Conroy, Ray Wise, Mark Hamill, et al / Blu ray+DVD+Digital HD / R / 2016 / Warner Home Video)
Overview: To prove that one bad day can make any man as insane as he is, the Joker wages a psychological war on Batman that catches Commissioner Gordon and his daughter in the crippling crossfire and leaves scars on the Dark Knight that even time won't heal..
Blu ray Verdict: The Joker: You know, it's funny. This reminds me of a joke. See, there were two guys locked in a lunatic asylum and one night... one night, they decided they didn't like that anymore. They decided to escape. So, they made it up to the roof and there, just across this narrow gap, they see rooftops, stretching across town, stretching to freedom. Now, the first guy, he jumps right across, no problem. But his friend, oh, no way, he's afraid of falling. So, the first guy has an idea. He says, "Hey, I got this flashlight with me. I'll shine it across the gap between the buildings and you can walk across the beam and join me." But the second guy says, "What do you think I am, crazy? You'll just turn it off when I'm halfway across!"
Now THAT'S a joke, my friends. That's a joke - and it is highly indicative of the brilliant, cutting edge humor that runs throughout this brand new addition to the animated Batman series. But don't be fooled, for 'Batman: The Killing Joke' is a very dark story and sometimes less is more. The Joker on his tirade fails to truly shock the audience sometimes, it has to be said, for what he chooses to do should've been the true horror of the story, and yet is presented as such so it sneaks up slowly on the audience instead. Which is fine, I guess, although this Joker seems way more maniacal, to be honest.
Delving into the plot a bit, and trying hard not to give too much away, the relationship between Batman and Batgirl in the film is completely different from any comic I've read. Batman and Batgirl have a paternal relationship, not a sexual one. Yes, I said sexual. Batman and Batgirl have sex in this movie, and they play it off as if this has ever happened in the comics. How about we talk about the scene where Barbara Gordon is shot. You can tell a comic scene is terribly adapted when Birds of Prey does a better job at it.
Kevin Conroy returns as Batman, which should have made me happy, but there's something really wrong when Ben Affleck does a better job as Batman than Kevin-freaking-Conroy! He's not bad, of course he isn't, but he does seem (at times) a little lackluster, shall we say, sorry. I guess what I'm trying to say is he didn't up his vocal game, or bring anything new to the table. Maybe he wasn't asked to, a form of status quo being just what the doctor (Warner Bros.) ordered?
That said, and laying all the reviewing cards out on the table, if you have unrealistic expectations, like expecting there to be a deep plot and lengthy character development sequences you will be disappointed. You'd be disappointed in any animated movie as that is not what you get with this kind of material. And on the whole animation level, the film is just slightly better than most DC Animation films. But the art is another story. This film does a great job of portraying emotion in it's characters, particularly fear. I can't go any further into that without delving into spoiler territory, so I'll just leave it at that. So, what you get is pure popcorn entertainment true to the DC Universe and that is what you get. Nothing more nothing less.
Which, here is actually ok! I mean, in MHO as far as the movie itself, I enjoyed watching it. I thought it was as great as some of the other Batman animated movies or DC animated movies. I mean, after all it IS one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time that has now come to the small screen. Not only is this one of the most acclaimed novels ever but it's one of the most controversial. The story is basically an origin tale for the infamous Batman villain, The Joker.
When this movie was initially announced back at the beginning of 2016 there was some serious hype surrounding it. Especially when it received an R rating. One thing that really made me nervous though was how quickly this actually released. Obviously, it could've been in production long before it was announced back at the beginning of the year, but after seeing the film, I don't think that's the case. It ebbs and flows perfectly, for the most part, which is as you would hope/expect from the great animation team there at Warner Bros. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:
Batman: The Killing Joke: The Many Shades of The Joker Featurette
Madness Set to Music Featurette
From the DC Comics Vault: 2 Bonus Cartons - Batman: The Animated Series "Christmas with the Joker" + The New Batman Adventures "Old Wounds"
Plus: A Sneak Peek at DC Universe's Next Animated Movie!