Film review: The Killing Joke

Okay, it’s not really a movie, but it’s based on a classic piece of comicdom, so in my book that means it’s worth a look.

If you’re even just an occasional reader of Batman comics, then the chances are you’ve heard of the Killing Joke. When it was released in 1988, comics stopped being comics; they became graphic novels. Up until then, Batman was a fairly nice guy; a bit like the fella in the sixties series staring Adam West. Hell, he even smiled. But the Killing Joke introduced a different caped crusader: obsessed, brutal and brooding, and this was a different kind of comi—sorry—graphic novel: gothic, violent and raw. It turns out that Batman is as much of a whack-job as the Joker, but I think we all kind of suspected that.


Fans loved it, and the new Batman stuck.

So of course, the Killing Joke needs to be a movie, or at the very least, a cartoon. The only thing I don’t get is why it took so long. It’s not as if Mark Hamill is that busy.

So how was it? Well, much better than I expected. Really good in fact. I was a bit worried when it started; it deviated so much from the original book that I thought I’d bought the wrong movie. I guess there’s no point making it exactly like the comic book because everyone who’s read it will already know the story back to front.The only problem I had with the change was that it seemed a little bit superfluous to me. They could have run everything as it was from the original story and it would have been fine. Don’t get me wrong; it was entertaining, and a bit of a shocker (I had no idea the Dark Knight had it in him), but just not sure it really made that much of a difference. Your mileage, as always, may vary.

The animation was great, the artwork fantastic, and the dialogue was top-notch, which was no surprise because the script-writing for cartoons has jumped light-years since I was a kid.

I thought about giving it a mark out of ten, but it’s a bit tricky because it’s based so heavily on the graphic novel that I might as well just have marked that instead. Yeah, let’s do that: comic and cartoon; ten out of ten.



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