BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE Shows Us That Madness Is The Emergency Exit.
THE KILLING JOKE has and will always be one of my favorite Batman and Joker stories. When I heard that Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy were coming back to the roles, I had a feeling that this movie was going to be a masterful work of art. The only concern I had was that maybe they would have to tone it down or cut scenes before the final release. Instead, they did something really smart and unexpected. They actually added a prologue to it and basically left the actual ‘Killing Joke’ perfectly preserved. DC Comics almost always nails it on the animation side, and ‘Killing Joke’ was no exception.
The theatrical cut opened with a short interview with Mark Hamill giving some insight on his career and his growth into the Joker role. It was really interesting hearing how he landed the role, and what he went through to make it his own. This segment was almost worth the price of admission alone and it set the film up perfectly. The film started a little different than I had expected, with a lot more backstory on Batgirl and her connection with Batman. In doing this DC actually managed to add more controversy to the Killing Joke story, which is no easy feat. This was honestly a really smart move due to the fact that the ‘Killing Joke’ storyline isn’t very lengthy. I would much rather it set some things up and add more character development, than needlessly drag out the storyline to the point where it wasn’t recognizable. I also think if they didn’t add the prologue we would have all paid to see a 45 minute movie. That may not have been enough to justify a theatrical release. There was a pretty clear point when the ‘Killing Joke’ started and that is when everything went looney. It told the story very faithfully and the tone felt very fitting. The musical score, the voice acting, along with a brilliant animation brought THE KILLING JOKE to life. My favorite part of the movie was surprisingly the genius “I Go Looney” musical number performed by Mr. J himself. It was one of many high notes in Mark Hamill’s performance. Lastly, THE KILLING JOKE ended on a perfect note of insanity and ambiguity. If you missed ‘Killing Joke’ in theaters you can pre-order the Blu-ray now, I highly recommend it.
BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE