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Review Batman: The Killing Joke (2016): Sinister, dark but ultimately boring!

genre: action, crime, comic book adaptation, super hero





The Killing Joke is considered to be one of the best Batman stories ever published. While I have not read the graphic novel itself I know enough about to see why it's so popular. In essence it's an origin story of The Joker as a tragic character and to point out that both The Joker and Batman are very similar.

It is therefore strange that Batgirl / Barbara Gordon takes center stage and both The Joker and Batman seem more like side characters. There is a pretty long Batgirl centered prologue before the source material atually gets picked up. And while it makes sense to explore Batgirl a little more all the events including her apart from the vital one doesn't seem to blend that well with the original story. I would even go so far to say it detracts completely for what The Killing Joke was going for. Strange thing is that the ambiguity for some reason has been preserved basically making the whole prologue even more pointless. In the pivotal scenes some gruesome and horrible acts are implied but never shown where it is up to the viewer to fill in the blanks. One could argue that this is fine and adds to The Joker being the ultimate villain. Although there was no need to do this concerning the relationship between Batgirl and Batman. Yes they go places where no one should ever go and it undermines what they both stand for. Almost making a mockery of everything Batman. Even if it's not that big of a deal to you it does not really make sense regarding the relationship between The Joker and Batman where this is conveniently forgotten or dismissed. 

This adaptation fails to tell the origin story of The Joker effectively. I know the idea was to create more understanding and even making us care about him. While it helped a little in showing the similarities it failed to bring out the tragedy that has occurred to him. It's told in a way that it is hardly interesting. To me it felt like more pointless filler making an already boring story even slower. Did I mention that Mark Hamill reprises his role as The Joker? He is excellent as always. Just imagine how boring the tale must be if even an magnificent Mark Hamill fails to redeem the film.

At one point I stopped caring and wanted the film to be over. The ending sort of was interesting but does not have the impact it should have had. It is obvious that The Killing Joke only works as a graphic novel and I wished more people in the film industry would come to this realization. Sometimes certain stories should be left on the media they were presented on. The film only has a duration of 76 minutes but I can assure you that it felt longer. I hate to say it but this animated Batman film is a giant waste of your time. 


Click on the show / hide button where I discuss some elements of the film that include spoilers. 




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