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Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke


Spoilers Abound! Your only warning people.

OK, The Killing Joke takes an unexpected opening with a monologue by Barbara Gordon. Though many fans were displeased by this take in the animated feature I was not. The writers had already announced they were going to do this in order to fill up more time and add another angle to the story. This monologue also adds a unique view of the Batman world that we don’t usually get to see as Batman fans. The first half of the movie follows Batgirl chasing the estranged nephew of one of Gotham’s top mob leaders as he plans to overthrow his uncle and make a name for himself.

However as Batman repeatably warns Batgirl; Paris France, (above mentioned nephew) is quickly becoming obsessed with our favorite girl in black and yellow. He leads her on a chase tagging her in all of his crimes to try and win her affection. At first Barbara is unfazed by this, even flattered from the work this minor crook is putting into his plans in order to date her. But his plans become severe, even as Barbara reassures Bruce she is fine; and makes love to Batman on the roof.  After their fun night together, Batman distances himself from Barbara in order to protect her. This however confuses her and angers Barbara; until she fights Paris knocking him out cold on the pier for attempting to kill Batman. She resigns her post as Batgirl because she realizes she is making crime fighting too dangerous for Batman with her tagging along.

Now on to the second half of the movie that everyone has been dying to see.

Mark Hamil reprises his role as the Joker, and this half I am pleased to say follows the comic books perfectly. Batman enters Arkham Asylum trying to reach a middle ground with Joker; only to find he has once again broken free. He searches high and low in Gotham asking all the usual people the Joker goes to first; but this time is different.

Meanwhile our favorite clown in purple poisons a carnival owner, effectively killing the poor sucker, and pays the Gordon family a visit. With the classic shadow over his face that is recognized in the comics he shoots Barbara rendering her paralyzed and kidnaps the commissioner for his new show. Gotham PD signals Batman to inform him of what has happened, he finds Barbara in the hospital bed where the doctor informs him she will never walk again. Commissioner Gordon wakes up only to be surrounded by the Joker’s most recent helpers where the Joker tells him that the whole plan is to drive him crazy. He forces Gordon onto a haunted train ride where he sings, dances, and tortures Gordon with pictures of Barbara. Afterwards the commissioner is in an understandable state of shock and Joker has him locked in a cage.

Batman arrives on the scene shortly after, an epic fight commences between himself and the carnies Joker hired. He frees Gordon and assures that the police are right behind him. Gordon convinces Batman to go after the Joker to prove that normal people can’t go crazy.

The Joker believes he has won, as batman follows him into the fun house. Now it’s the Joker’s turn to monologue as he asks Batman. “You had a bad day too once. I know I can tell. What was it exactly?” Batman fights a few more cronies before the climax all the fans are waiting for finally happens. He lunges at Joker, punches him and Joker responds by hitting him in the head with a table leg he broke.  They both eventually reach the other side of the amusement building, where Batman tries, for the very last time to reason with the Joker.  In which the reply is no.

The best part of this whole movie is that they show the Joker’s origin as Jack Napier exactly the same way that Brian Bolland did in the comic. With periodic differently colored flashbacks that tie the whole movie beautifully together. All in all, I was very impressed and glad with the outcome of this film. Yes the artwork is closer to Batman the Animated Series. However, there is only one Brian Bolland.


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