In the battle between DC and Marvel comics, Marvel arguably has the upper hand on the big screen with its live-action films, but Warner Brothers rarely falls short in providing satisfying animated films.
Due to popular demand and constant reboots in DC comics, Batman: The Killing Joke follows the story of the graphic novel of the same name. This specific storyline follows a grimmer tale to the already “Dark” Knight we all know as Batman. The comic has already been released, so plot spoilers follow.
As stated, the film continues to follow the classic detective-esque story that is Batman versus the Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker. This time, however, Joker goes too far bringing about an air of suspense and radically changing the Batman-Joker dynamic over the course of the film’s three acts.
Although slow to start, establishing who our characters are and their relationships with one
another, the film immerses viewers in the gritty world of Gotham. It will leave viewers in question, wondering what the Joker has planned and they will be left in awe and suspense, as the sinister plot is slowly revealed. Killing Joke is a balance between storytelling, fighting, flashback sequences, and references to other Batman- and Joker- related endeavors, hinting at other characters, quoting previous iterations of the caped crusader and the clown prince, and sly homages to other films.
The film’s cast bears the big names of the original 90s voice actors, reprising their roles with Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as The Joker, and Tara Strong as Batgirl. Much like other DC animated films, the cast remains small for more focus on selective character narrative.
The animators gave attention to character detail, lighting, and pacing/sequencing leaving the film with a smooth animation quality, enough to give Marvel a run for their money. However, due to the short length of the original comic, certain parts may feel rushed or dragged too long to fill run-time.
Batman: The Killing Joke was released this week and played in select theaters for only two days. Comic book fans and Batman connoisseurs who have read the comic or are looking to enjoy more Batman before Suicide Squad will enjoy this film, now available on demand.