Now this is a DC property that deserves to be R rated! And yes I’m looking at you Batman v Superman “Ultimate” Edition.
So I was planning to do a review on upcoming DC animated film Batman: The Killing Joke and a friend of mine decided to loan me a copy of the eponymous seminal 1988 comic written by Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta). I read it and boy was it fantastic. It is beautifully illustrated (thank you Brian Bolland), extremely dark and it gives the deepest insight into the mental workings of the greatest comic book villain ever.
The comic tells the story of Joker trying to drive Commissioner Gordon crazy by shooting and paralysing his daughter Barbara (aka Batgirl), taking pictures of her nude and wounded body and putting him in a crazed amusement park. We also get an origin story for the clown prince of crime, though even he admits he cannot remember if it is true.
But you’re here to talk about the trailer so let’s get to it!
#1 What we see and what we don’t
In the trailer (see link below) we see quite a few moments from the comic: Gordon and Batman walking into Arkham Asylum to confront Joker (Bats has a season pass to the place); Batman telling Joker one of them is going to kill the other; Joker in his super creepy tourist outfit; Gordon being tortured in the amusement park; Bats and Joker fighting; Barbara being held by Gordon after she was shot; and Joker uttering his line “all it takes is one bad day”. And, of course, lots of evil cackling.
Conspicuously missing from the trailer is any shots of Joker’s origin story, told in black and white flashbacks, or any new stuff. Co-producer and co-director Bruce Timm reported that they had to “add a lot more story” for the film because the source novel was not long enough to make a feature-length film.
We do see some images of Barbara in her Batgirl outfit which we did not see in the graphic novel, but we will have to wait until the film premieres to see what’s been added to the tale. Timm’s pedigree includes the fantabulous Batman: The Animated Series (TAS), Justice League and a host of other DC Animated Universe (DCAU) TV shows and animated movies, so I have faith that the extra stuff will complement the core narrative. And the film is rated Rated R for “some bloody images and disturbing content” – the first animated Batman film to be so rated – so it may be even more haunting that the graphic novel.
#2 Stellar voice cast
In the film Batman is voiced by Kevin Conroy and Joker by Mark Hamill. If you are not excited at this point then boy have you been missing out. Conroy masterfully voiced the Dark Knight in the aforementioned Batman: TAS, several DCAU projects and even in three Batman: Arkham video games.
And Hamill may be most famous for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise but his work voicing the maniacal Joker for almost 25 years (starting with Batman: TAS in 1992) is his magnum opus. HE IS THE JOKER. There have been other voice actors to play these roles but these are the cream of the crop.
#3 DC rules here
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently running the live action route and DC is playing catch up, the roles are reversed when it comes to animated movies. Marvel animated flicks range from mediocre to sub par while DC has put out hit after hit after hit. In terms of Batman you can start with The Dark Knight Rises two-parter and Batman: Under the Red Hood. Fantastic stuff. So I have faith that the house that Supes and Bats built will be able to do justice to the beloved graphic novel. But I’m sure Alan Moore will still hate it.
Batman: The Killing Joke will be released digitally on July 26 and be available on DVD and Blu Ray on August 2.
So what did you think of the trailer? What are you most looking forward to seeing? Feel free to comment below.
NB – All photos courtesy DC Comics and Warner Bros Animation.