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"Batman: The Killing Joke" Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'The DC Comics Animation Forum' started by James Harvey, Jul 26, 2016.

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Batman: The Killing Joke - Review and Rate the Animated Feature!

  1. *****

    21.4%
  2. ****1/2

    7.1%
  3. ****

    28.6%
  4. ***1/2

    14.3%
  5. ***

    7.1%
  6. **1/2

    14.3%
  7. **

    0 vote(s)
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  8. *1/2

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. *

    7.1%
  10. 1/2

    0 vote(s)
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  1. James Harvey

    James Harvey The World's Finest
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    Here's to Crime!

    [​IMG]

    Batman: The Killing Joke

    Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
    Release Date: July 26th, 2016 - Digital; August 2nd, 2016 - Blu-ray/DVD

    Synopsis: Based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name, Batman: The Killing Joke takes a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime – from his humble beginnings as a struggling comedian to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. Years later, and now escaped from Arkham Asylum, The Joker devises a plan to prove that one bad day can make anyone as insane as he is – setting his sights on Commissioner Gordon. It’s up to the Dark Knight to put a stop to The Joker’s latest scheme and save one of Gotham City’s finest. Following a gripping prologue introducing Barbara Gordon’s heroic adventures alongside Batman as Batgirl, Batman: The Killing Joke stays true to the authentic tale that has held fans’ imaginations for nearly three decades – spotlighting the birth of a Super-Villain, the fortitude of a Super Hero and the punchline that will leave you speechless.

    The celebrity-laden cast is led by Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) and Mark Hamill (Star Wars franchise) as they reprise their seminal roles as the voices of Batman/Bruce Wayne and The Joker, respectively. The cast also features Tara Strong (Teen Titans; Batman: Arkham games), as Barbara Gordon and Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, RoboCop) as Commissioner Gordon. Batman: The Killing Joke is directed by Sam Liu (Justice League vs. Teen Titans) from a script by Eisner Award-winning writer Brian Azzarello. Bruce Timm and Sam Register are executive producers, and Alan Burnett is co-producer. Benjamin Melniker & Michael Uslan are executive producers.

    Discuss the Batman: The Killing Joke animated feature!

    Please note this discussion will contain spoilers!


    Post all discussions concerning about the Batman: The Killing Joke animated feature in this thread! Discussion on the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital release of Batman: The Killing Joke can be found in the proper talkback linked below. Please note this will be the last talkback with the feature and release discussions in separate threads.

    Related Threads:
    -Batman: The Killing Joke Animated Feature Review (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Killing Joke Digital/Blu-ray/DVD Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Killing Joke Graphic Novel Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Killing Joke Soundtrack Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Deluxe Edition Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part Two Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: Year One Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: Under the Red Hood Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Superman/Batman: Public Enemies Feature Talkback (Spoilers)

    Note: Remember, this talkback thread is for discussion of the feature film. If you wish to talk about the home media release, please click on the appropriate link above. We appreciate and encourage discussion, but please keep your posts civil, relevant and insightful. Please do not post any improper or inflammatory material, as we will issue warnings if we believe it necessary. And remember to keep the discussion ON-TOPIC!
     
  2. ToonLoon

    ToonLoon Member

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    After seeing the movie, the words of GWOtaku in the other thread rang very true to me. The writers, producers, and director spent their time on a bizarre prologue instead of fleshing out TKJ for a theatrical and home release. The actual adaptation of the story itself was lifeless and bland. You can pay respect to the comic and do something, anything interesting with the source material, which was a huge missed opportunity. Very disappointed.

    Take Joker's flashbacks, they have no natural transitions and feel jarring. They have an ugly sepia color that doesn't work without the great sense of lighting in the comic. It could have been told vividly in color, gone deeper into Joker's desperation and his comedy career. Show us how badly he bombs instead of just telling us, the audience who isn't laughing might appear in Joker's mind, laughing at him. Show us how he hits rock bottom so hard he wants to work with criminals. Then show us his descent into madness. Make us feel sympathy for him.

    There are many scenes they could have done more with. Batman's kangaroo trial standing out in particular. You want Gordon to reconsider his whole world view, you have to really hit him with the reality of his relationship with the vigilante. You want us to feel connected to Barbara, have more of her recovering in her hospital bed, have a longer epilogue where she is doing rehabilitation training, and then at the end we see her triumphantly take the mantle of Oracle. That is giving her agency in the story, not that this one time a criminal had a thing for her and she brutally beat him up. That told us nothing of importance, just that Batman is a jerk.

    I'm not going to bother speaking to the silly sex controversy from bloggers (which has overshadowed legitimate criticism) or the mediocre animation we have sadly come to expect from DC's animated movies, I'm just sad they blew this project so badly when they had the original voice team on board.
     
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    #2 ToonLoon, Jul 26, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  3. RoyalRubble

    RoyalRubble Moderator
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    It's pretty disappointing that the part I was mostly looking forward to from this movie, the Batgirl prologue would turn out to be so controversial. It wasn't too bad, there were some neat ideas in there though I don't think it really managed to make Barbara's role in the story more compelling. Her relationship with Batman was a surprising twist, one I didn't see coming and don't really have an opinion on it either. It's not a pairing I ever really considered canon to just about any continuity. I remember it was implied a couple of times back in the DCAU but that's about it.

    The rest of the movie does a decent job at adapting the original graphic novel, for better or for worse. I admit I've never been a huge fan of the story - I appreciate the impact it had and the art-style but other than that, not much to add. The story went along nicely though there were a few times when the transitions between the plot and the flashbacks could have been handled better. The creepy atmosphere was present and the action and violence was about right even if I felt it was pretty much consistent with the other movies in this line when it was supposed to more brutal.

    Other than that, I don't really have any complaints. The voice acting was great, and it was nice having the iconic voices of Batman, Joker and Batgirl for the past 20 years or so, play their respective roles in this adaptation. And then there's a neat mid-end-credits scene showing more of Barbara, which was a pleasant surprise and an interesting way to end the movie.
     
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  4. SweetShop209

    SweetShop209 Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to do a bit of defending. As someone who hasn't read the source material, I think the Batgirl prologue fits well. This movie also serves as a story for Barbera Gordon. In the prologue, she wants to be seen as a true superhero by Batman. After almost going off the deep end and getting critically injured, she then becomes Oracle so she can still help Batman even in her crippled state. They showed that scene a few seconds after the end credits started.

    The movie isn't perfect since they probably should've introduced the Joker earlier and some things should be been toned down down a bit, but other than that, I think it's a good movie. It expands on the Joker and Barbara Gordon while showing the consequences of going off the deep end.
     
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  5. Troy Troodon

    Troy Troodon Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I'm going to be blunt here, I do not think any of Alan Moore's work were meant for adaptations. Not that I mind the idea though, however there is context to his work that either shouldn't be altered or isn't intended to be translated into cinema; and that's particularly the case when creative teams take their own liberties to the film and do things that only hurt the story.

    Another chip that's been bugging me, DC seems to have this very obsessive love affair with the story, as well as Batman Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and even Watchmen. It's always those particular entities that they keep glorifying and milking for how "Deep and Edgy" they are, when there is a full library of other stories in the mainstream DCU they can be working from.

    And even then, if the Killing Joke is such a super duper awesome comic... then I really wouldn't or shouldn't actually care for a movie! I mean don't get me wrong, I love seeing superhero stories adapted into other forms of media, but I don’t sit with baited breath just to see if Kevin Conroy is voicing Batman again in an adaptation of something like, Batman: Fortunate Son or whatever.

    The Killing Joke already exists and I enjoy reading it in the medium it was made for. Short, simple, but right on point.

    Again I don't object to an animated adaptation, but we all know the story: The Joker's one bad day drove him nuts, a plausible origin, and he assaults Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle) and tried driving Jim Gordon nuts to prove his point, got it! I mean, most of us practically read the damn book, since Kindergarten! And frankly I think a lot of people don't seem to understand what the real problem with the original graphic novel was, and that was the purpose of Barbara herself!

    It was a prime example of, 'Women in Refrigerators' something which Alan Moore himself regretted but DC apparently was all for it (Even outright telling the guy to, "Cripple The B!+(#!" (Yeah I have this quirk to censor myself, kind of a habit but whatever.)

    And to anyone who thinks this was what made Oracle... well, that's true in one way... but false in another. It's the same thing as crediting Rob Liefeld for creating Deadpool, he may have made up the character initially, but if it wasn't for people who wrote stories with the character afterwards we really wouldn't have the definitive Deadpool we have today; and the same goes for Oracle, because since the Killing Joke it was, it was Kim Yale and John Ostrander, a husband and wife team who build upon Barbara's new entity as Oracle, and other writers since then continued building up on it from then on, but not the intent of Alan Moore! It was intended to be a solo piece, but since it was a success of course DC sought to treat it as though it were canon.

    It was a double-edged sword frankly. On one hand it was a prime case of "Frigging" but on the other hand it built the character of Oracle afterwards, setting a more positive example of not only feminism, but also how people who generally lost their ability to do something in life can still came out on top and make a positive difference in other ways. Plus it also further developed character for the rest of the bat family, as well as Jim, the Birds of Prey and other characters in the DCU, pave introduction to the Cassandra Cain Batgirl, followed by Stephanie Brown, and it also taught readers another important lesson on how certain characters aren't always going to be the same character. (Exceptions aside)

    And I get what they did, they want to establish Babs' position as Batgirl, prior to her latter involvement in the middle, and even build closure and resolution with her more prominent entity; and it did so... but in a misguided direction, especially considering the controversial Bat-Sex thing, which convulsed the character's position when confronted with the Joker, two twists don't make a straight line!


    But as is, the movie was okay. I just wish DC can stop praising the ever loving crap out of it, as well as the other aforementioned stories, thus giving them credit for something they didn't really deserve and focus elsewhere.
     
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    #5 Troy Troodon, Jul 26, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
  6. The Flash

    The Flash Fastest Man Alive
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    My car got broken into while I was in the movie theater, and I'm seriously tempted to give that a better review.

    I knew the first half was controversial, but I went in very open minded -- it's Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett, it's probably going to be just fine -- right? Wrong. I can swallow the Batman / Batgirl dynamic but this was poorly executed in every way possible. Horrible dialogue and horrible characters. It's just bad. It's boring. It's horrific. And it's long. Good god, is it long. The only redeeming thing it had was some nice overviews of Gotham City, which was very immersive on the big screen.

    The actual adaption of the graphic novel, well, it was okay. Not the greatest, but I certainly can't call it bad. Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy are fantastic as always. I hope they both come back to those roles in the future, because this isn't the high note to end it on. I'm glad the cast was on point because this wouldn't have been salvageable otherwise. The animation ended up landing somewhere in the middle, certainly looked better than the trailer.

    Aside from my car getting broken into in the parking lot, I'm still glad I went. The Mark Hamill feature before the movie was fairly well done. It was cool to see an animated Batman film starring Kevin Conroy on the big screen again -- I saw Mask of the Phantasm on its opening day way back in 1993, so it was nice to book end that. If the reviews are this bad on the next one, even with a full DCAU cast and producers, I'll be skipping out. I'm sad to say this is the last time I'll blindly spend money on anything from DC Animation.
     
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  7. Pfeiffer-Pfan

    Pfeiffer-Pfan Makin' Whoopee!

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    I honestly think this one was doomed from the start...

    I saw the film in the cinema last night. My first theatrical animated Batman film as Phantasm didn't get a cinema release in the UK/Ireland (I was only 3 at the time anyway). As a one night only event, I'm certainly glad I went.

    The introduction by Sam Register, the little walk down memory lane with Hamill, and the music featurette were all wonderful additions to the film (Not to mention a Wonder Woman trailer). I'll just get down some initial ideas, before posting a more substantial review after watching the Blu-Ray.

    I liked it, but I won't be raving about it any time soon. The best thing about the movie? The voice cast. Each actor gave their all to the movie and you can hear it. Both Hamill and Conroy were fantastic for the most part, but I was surprised how restarined and powerful Conroy could be when he wanted (He's been cranking that Bat-voice up to 11 lately). Truthfully, I think Andrea Romano should have been brought back for this, she would have smoothed out any rough edges.

    The main issue with this film is that it just didn't go for broke. The designs are lacking, the animation is shockingly weak at times and the colour palette is bland beyond compare. Outside of the actors, I don't think any love went into this one. If WB wanted to give the film this much exposure, they should have increased the budget and schedule to really allow Timm to think outside the box.

    As it is, Timm has done no wrong in my eyes, but this is one of his weaker efforts. A second viewing should hopefully provide some clearer thoughts.
     
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  8. Mostezli

    Mostezli Corroborating with EVIL

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    3 chuckle worthy moments:
    Batgirl initiating the make-out + her reaction after that,
    Tara Strong voicing other characters, and
    Batman throwing down one of Joker's minions down a spike pit.
    If only Joker used that to rebuke Batman's "by the books" line. That would be one heck of a killing joke.

    This movie better not have gotten an R because of the mere inclusion of prostitutes and attempted rape.

    ToonLoon pretty much made most of the points I was planning toward this review as far as the adaptation portion is concerned. I wouldn't have focused more on her bedridden & rehab state because it's a cheaper way to care about a character that's been fridged and her time in the cowl could have been written better. As is, it's an interesting Batgirl take, but was more repetitive than dynamic, which was the first reason for my boredom. This is also about the umpteenth time where Batman is having this issue with another vigilante (under his wing or otherwise). Another reason being it had little to no bearing as it shifted to the comic adaptation wherein the theme is also practically, entirely different. Batman's and Gordon's role in this justice system relative to Barbara's or their relationship with her let alone each other should have been better developed.

    I thought Conroy phoned it in and/or he wasn't given much to work with.
    I thought Hamill's portrayal and performance was tonally out-of-place.
     
  9. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Yes, have some.
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    Box Office Mojo reports a domestic total, as of Fathom's Jul. 25, 2016 screening, of ticket sales of $3,175,000.
     
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  10. Troy Troodon

    Troy Troodon Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if that kind of income will add more budgeting to future dc animated projects...
     
  11. RoyThomasConan

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    I saw the screening last night. I'm conflicted. I felt that for the most part, the large portion of the movie that was an adaptation of The Killing Joke was exceptionally well translated and the dialogue came to life satisfyingly thanks to top rate performances by Conroy and Hamill. I did however feel that the flashbacks lacked proper emotion from Joker after learning of his wife's death, making the "snap" lose its impact, it's believability. The last 10 minutes were rewarding though.

    Now, that prologue.. that was a poor effort. It was completely seperate from the narrative of the story, and served to give little character to Barbara. My girlfriend, after the screening, said something to the effect of "The movie was good, but they shouldn't have adapted all the comics they did for the arc or whatever. It's fine when you're reading comics month to month, but when you're watching a movie, you need one whole story, not a bunch of connected little ones." I had to explain to her that her assumption was wrong and that the prologue was fabricated for the film, and she was even more put off by it upon learning. I really don't understand what went wrong. It felt like a subpar episode of Batman tacked to the start of the feature. The frustrating part is, with very little effort it could have worked and served the film well; it could have actually enhanced the experience of the adaptation by making it an earlier encounter with Joker that Barbara had, and have the Joker become the one who toys with her and ruins her relationship with Batman because Batman knows the temptation of wanting to best the Joker and the danger it puts Barbara in. Then when Joker shoots her later, the prologue serves to tie into the story and have a meaningful impact. Oh well, too late.

    I did quite enjoy the feature beyond the prologue, but as a film on the whole, it becomes disjointed. So as much as I want to say the film is great because of the aspects of the adaptation, which is the majority of the feature, I must take it for the sum of it's parts, and as such, it's a good but not great film.

    A side note: The R-rating, as suspected, was a totally bogus stunt. This film isn't near as violent, sensual, or just "disturbing" as a large portion of the other films in this line, and there are a few that trump it quite heavily in those areas.
     
  12. Road to Gotham

    Road to Gotham Well-Known Member

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    The Theater was 85% full at the screening I saw in Des Moines.
    Most people wearing Batman or Joker T-Shirts. One gal was dressed as HARLY QUINN.

    The movie itself was OK. Although Nothing really stood out for me.
    Fine voice acting by: Conroy, Strong, and Hamill.

    As for the the Batgirl begining. I dislike the villain. Guess I would have rather seen a custome villain or at least a familiar face from the Mob Scene.
     
  13. Lord Sidious

    Lord Sidious Active Member

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    Is Bruce Wayne in the movie or is it just all Batman???
     
  14. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Well-Known Member

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    I can't remember a time in the movie where Bruce appears out-of-costume, unless there is just a scene in the Batcave where he has removed his cowl.
     
  15. Mostezli

    Mostezli Corroborating with EVIL

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  16. ToonLoon

    ToonLoon Member

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    The sex scene isn't the reason, that was really tame. Batgirl beating a guy into a bloody pulp might have crossed into R territory.

    As to psychological torture, I have to bet that people still believe the Joker raped Barbara and that interpretation could move the carnival scenes into R territory as well.
     
  17. Mostezli

    Mostezli Corroborating with EVIL

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    One too many sexual implications possibly, including from the guy she beat to a bloody pulp, the Joker's promiscuity and the Joker trying to add rape to the crippling assault.
    Assault on Arkham had a very clear encounter, implied nudity of Killer Frost, and blatant tension between various characters. It was also one of the more violent features of the line.
    So, I'd wager it boils down most to psychological torture through what you mentioned.
     
  18. Dallas Kinard

    Dallas Kinard Active Member

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    Minor detail, but in the graphic novel, Batman visits Penguin in prison when he's looking for Joker. I wonder why this scene was cut from the film?
     
  19. ToonLoon

    ToonLoon Member

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    As we have been told in previous movies, Timm and company aren't allowed to exceed a certain running time set by WB, which is why most adaptations they do require edits, but in this case they needed to make the prologue have enough meat on it as well.

    The Penguin was probably seen as another character design they would have to make and voice actor they would have to cast when they were already hitting the maximum allotment of time, so they cut it for the sake of expediency.
     
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    #19 ToonLoon, Jul 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  20. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Well-Known Member

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    How old do we suppose Barbara is in this? The graphic novel probably includes her period as a U.S. Congresswoman which puts her well into her 30s (and I've seen the age of 40 years cited). Assuming that is not the case in the animated movie, can we assume that she still received her Ph.D. and this is at least three years after that? Even if Babs graduated from high school early and immediately went on to college, I figure that she has to at least be between 27 and 30 years old.
     

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