When speaking with Gordon, The Joker uses the line, "There is no sanity clause," mirroring a joke delivered by Chico Marx in A Night at the Opera (1935). See more »
First of all, I realize this is probably not how you thought the story would start, not with a big shiny moon or a city that could look stunning in spite of itself... Or me. But I wanted you to know before the horror began, before it all came crashing down, there was a time when capes and cowls and fighitng crime really was exciting.
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In a mid-credits scene, Barbara is in her wheelchair entering a secret room in her apartment. As she turns on her computers, Oracle's logo appears on the screen. She says "back to work." See more »
It may seem like this is a high rating given the backlash DC animated The Killing Joke has received, however this is an averaged out rating. In honesty this isn't a very good movie, despite the fact that when the filmmakers and adapter Brian Azzarello (do I hasten to call him a 'screenwriter' after this one credit?) stick to the original Alan Moore source it's a dark and involving delight. It's what comes before it, how they make it into a "full movie" that things fall apart. This is a schizophrenic experience full of high highs, generic lows and some what the almighty Jesus bloody hell for good measure.
And I get what they tried to do or felt they had to do as far as making it a complete experience as a 75 minute film. Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, is more of a plot device in the comic (spoiler? Joker shoots and paralyzed her before kidnapping Commissioner for his amusement park nightmare games), so to flesh out her backstory with Batman is good. On paper. Actually, not on this paper, as it turns into a half hour story where Batgirl is chasing after a ho-Hum "charming" criminal who I don't even recall in the comics (if he was in it he's certainly not memorable) and it's all here to make it a Batgirl story with Batman mostly as the ornery father figure...
Which makes that 'thing' that happens between them so jarring; if this was squarely a batman/batgirl story theoretically it could go somewhere )I'm not saying it's a good idea in most any context, again those like Robin or Batgirl are more like the kids to Batman not those he gets uh down n dirty with). But Azzarello crams it in where it doesn't fit and if anything makes the motivations for what comes in the actual Killing Joke story hamfisted. Not to mention how it's presented is silly especially given what room is open with an R rating (the first for any Batman film, ironically you could show this to most kids 12 and up and it'd be fine).
Despite this troubling and/or just typical Batman/Batgirl story that squanders potential with really delving into backstory the comic hinted at, or because of it, when that second half of the film kicks in to gear and we get the story of the comic it'S presented largely faithfully and the genius and power of that story comes through; the Joker as a 'sympathetic' being with his own origin story which, by the end, is satisfying as its own story and is brilliant as a circumspect narrative from an unreliable storyteller.
I may also be a sucker for Hamill as the Joker but how can one not be when he always sinks his teeth in and makes him a real PRESENCE in a room? Adding to this he creates a good, relatable voice for pre.transformation Joker in the flashbacks and we get drawn in to his story in large part because that voice acting comes through. The animation is also top notch (as far as the limited budget allows), and some moments in that fun-house/amusement park are shown to be iconic for a reason; if you get any allusions to the Burton 89 Batman there's a reason for that.
I think my high rating is due to finding that main story so compelling - what a hero or villain means when they have to face existential questions and how they relate to one another through "one bad day" (interestingly though Moore recently says he doesn't like his own work here I find he underrated it, that he got under the skin of these iconic figures to show them as people). So I wanted it to be great, and it flirts with being as strong as the first part of the Dark Knight Returns movie or even Mask of the Phantasm. But that first half hour drags it into a murky, middle feeling where overall you come away saying 'it's alright, I guess,' with an ambiguous ending not landed with the weight that's required either.
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