Batman The Killing Joke Animated Movie Review

Batman The Killing Joke. One of the most famous or infamous (based on how you feel about the whole thing) Batman comics of all time has been animated into its own movie. The comic which came out back in 1988 was a one shot comic attempting to delve into the insanity and background of the perhaps most famous comic book villain of all time in The Joker. The Joker had been around for more than 4 decades at the time and had never had a story delving into his origin and how he came to be (I think). And that’s the key we gotta think about when it comes to this story.

This. Is. A. Joker. Story.

Not a Batgirl story. Not a Gotham City story. It’s barely a Batman story. It’s a Joker story. This story was designed to highlight his apparent tragic past and his psychotic tendencies. This isn’t a story of empowerment. This isn’t a story of sexism. This isn’t even a story of misogyny. It’s a comic book where screwed up things happen like murder and assault committed by  a psychotic clown who gets pursued by a grown man in a bat costume. If you were expecting anything less than that, what are you even doing here reading about fictional comic book characters?


That’s the Joker wearing his own FACE as a mask.

Anyway before I get on to talking about the movie, let me just voice my opinion on the original comic.

I personally didn’t like it much. It felt sparse and incomplete. I guess because I tend to read stories longer than 50 pages that I just didn’t get into it because there wasn’t much to read. There were 2 stories interconnected, one highlighting Joker’s apparent past and then the present time with Joker crippling Batgirl in her own home, kidnapping Commissioner Gordon and then leading Batman to an abandoned carnival to save Gordon. It didn’t feel like there was a lot going on but it also didn’t feel like a full fledged story. It felt half written. So I didn’t like it too much. Do I like some of the writing in it? Yeah sure, Joker explaining his story, torturing Gordon and then his confrontation with Batman was great and well written when it related to his character but otherwise, it didn’t feel like much. I don’t even have a grudge against him crippling Batgirl. Joker is a horrible person and does horrible things. It didn’t feel like sexism. It felt like a psychotic person doing psychotic things. He has killed a Robin before and committed numerous incidents so I don’t see how misogyny or sexism is even remotely involved here.

Batgirl cover variant art by Rafael Albuquerque.

So on to the review.


The story is based on the source material of the comic plus an extra Batgirl story. For those who don’t know the source material, it’s simply this. Joker shows up at Batgirl’s house, shoots her point blank in the spine and then kidnaps Commissioner Gordon. He takes Gordon to an abandoned carnival. He tortures him until Batman comes and saves him.

Now the Batgirl story was her simply trying to capture a criminal that she gets too involved with. Not even gonna bother with the dude’s name. Now the story wasn’t boring so to say. I wasn’t like “Fuck me, I’m bored.” I was more like “Saitama OK” on this. Didn’t really care for it but it was somewhat entertaining. Didn’t care too much for it until Batman got involved. And by involved I mean INVOLVED.



Anyway the story eventually shifts back to the source material of Joker’s origin and eventual capturing of Gordon and crippling of Barbara. Lots of good stuff.


Voice Acting:

As with most DC animated movies, the voice acting was top notch with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their iconic roles as Batman and the Joker. Nuff’ said.



Shoddy animation:

There are way too many frames where the characters just look like crap sometimes.
Unfortunately, Google won’t share an example so I can’t post one.

Batgirl’s Side Story:

Could have done a lot better with an actual credible bad guy being involved. Then again I’m not a giant fan of Batgirl outside of what I’ve seen her do in the Batman animated series which I can’t even remember very well. What she did in the show I mean.
I ain’t even mad with what she did with Batman.Her sidestory was just something to pad out the movie since like I said, the source material in which the movie was based on was pretty short so in order to make it into a whole movie, we needed something to pad the screen time. Which isn’t a bad thing but it showed with the lack of quality regarding Batgirl’s story.



Final verdict:

I can’t tell you I was ever a fan of the original comic. I think I tried reading it originally a few years ago and just couldn’t get into it. I read the comic the day before I went to see the movie and thought it was honestly okay. I liked some of Joker’s dialogue and how Gordon bent but didn’t break to seeing Barbara the way she was and being tortured by the Joker. For some reason, I can’t ever see Joker as being a regular person before he become what he was so I guess his origin never really gravitated to me. It was well written, don’t get me wrong, especially some of Joker’s dialogue but like I said, it just didn’t gravitate to me.


As for the movie itself, I thought it was great in the sense that we got to see Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy together again reprising their iconic characters. While there have been versions of the characters that I’ve enjoyed without their iconic voice actors (Batman: Under the Red Hood, Crisis on Two Earths, Young Justice), there’s just no beating these two since I grew up with them with Batman the Animated Series and Justice League being two of my favorite cartoons ever. I didn’t mind the art style too much because the art style of the comic is quite a bit realistic and would have been a bit difficult to translate to cartoon animation in my opinion.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. Mark Hamill was great as the Joker, Kevin Conroy was great as The Batman. Batgirl’s story was okay. The art style was passable, I don’t have gigantic standards and expectations for animation as long it doesn’t look like Dragonball Super.

Again, I just want to go ahead and apologize for disappearing. I’m trying to have a new review every week especially since I ended up missing on a few music releases throughout the last few months. I need go to watch some movies. I hope whoever is reading these continues to do so cause it’s pretty cool to have people read my writing.


Otherwise, thanks for reading. Catch you next time.




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