by Aaron Wise
HARDCORE Batman fans have been left shocked with the dark twist unveiled in Warner Bros’ Batman: The Killing Joke.
The much-anticipated animation adaption of the 1988 graphic novel by DC Comics was released in cinemas on Monday (July 25) and starred the voices of Kevin Conroy (Batman), Mark Hamill (Joker), Tara Strong (Batgirl) and Ray Wise (Commissioner James Gordon).
Despite featuring some new additions to the original superhero novel written by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, the script generally stays faithful to the comic.
While the core of the first-half of the film is centred around depicting Batgirl as a jilted romantic interest, it is hard to understand why she doesn’t play a more serious role, despite the lengthy airtime.
Add to this the controversial sex scene between Batgirl and Batman – in almost all media, Batman has had a primarily parental relationship with Batgirl – and the movie suddenly becomes very ugly in the sense it blurs the boundary of a confusing rom-com with a gory action film.
However, the appearance of Hamill’s Joker brings us back to the similarity of the original DC Comics’ novel.
His new-look Joker is darker than ever, having escaped from the infamous Arkham Asylum to shoot Batgirl in the spine, paralysing her from the waist down, in front of her own father who is taken captive.
The story on how the Joker came to be the Dark Knight’s nemesis is also shown and the action that follows between the two is what you’d expect to read in the cult comics.
Overall, the movie explores the darker and more complex personalities of all three characters, but fails to deliver the true DC Comics authenticity. A fractured storyline which tries too hard to emulate the original novel.