Edinburgh Vue Cinemas took part in a special preview viewing of the full length animated Batman movie The Killing Joke.
The Killing Joke is based on Alan Moore’s infamous and popular graphic novel which reveals the origins of the Joker. The book is known for being dark, showing what happens to people who get caught up in the dark gravitas around Batman – including, but not limited to, the Joker himself.
The animation is rated R in America.
There was a lot of hype around this feature length. The voices of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark (Star Wars) Hamill are iconic and the animation is drawn in a similar sort of style as the TV toon series that became so popular. Tara Strong does well as Batgirl.
It’s not a movie that can live up to the hype, sadly. Some fans greeted early previews unkindly – disappointed with the way writer/adaptor Brian Azzarello handled Batgirl. Is she a hero in her own right or just an accessory for Batman? I’m torn. I see the need to build up the Batgirl character, especially for people who might be watching the film but who didn’t know the character well (that could happen, right?), I don’t think she was reduced to token female but do understand the concern.
What I don’t understand is the competition of the animation. It felt very much like two adventures sewn together by a shocking scene.
While there are some shocking scenes in The Killing Joke there are also times when it seems to suddenly remember it’s a cartoon and jumps to censor itself. I don’t think they got the balance right.
The animation wasn’t as I recalled from the TV series. Yes, the scenes set in Gotham and the spooky circus worked well and I think the Joker was striking to look at. When there wasn’t a great backdrop then the character animation fell down, though, and I think that was especially true in the song and dance scene.
I’m glad I went to see it on the big screen. The Vue in Ocean Terminal certainly seemed to do well with it, pretty much filling up one of the larger screens, and having a table of comic book merch to sell on the day. I didn’t see too many takers, though, nor people at the food and drink cart at the start of the film but that may be because everyone seemed to turn up at the last minute and had to find their seat in torch light.
I think Batman fans should watch the animation – because they need to make a decision for themselves whether the film hits the right spot for them and to avoid having strongly held opinions over an adaptation they’ve not seen. For everyone else? Hmm. Maybe wait for Netflix.