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For Your Consideration: Batman: The Killing Joke [2016]

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Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman, is arguably one of the darkest animation series, along with samurai jack probably, aimed at an age group, that takes inspiration from fictional superheroes. Most of the animated movies released in the Batman franchise have taken comic books as their basis for reference. Batman: the killing joke is one such movie, that is inspired by the comic from 1988, written by Alan Moore, which has origins as far back as the story ” the man behind the red hood” in 1951. It is the very first time that the origin of Joker is revealed, and how he turned into what he is now.

The story starts off at an unlikely terminal, with Batman and Barbara Gordon as the Batgirl, working together, to stifle the crimes of the dealers and smugglers. The significance of Barbara Gordon in the story, which is revealed later on, is also paramount in the movie, although it is overshadowed by the original plot line which is all about the joker. Joker and Batman have been at it for ages, and the reason being that, Batman never kills and the Joker will not stop until Batman is forced to kill him.

The story reveals, how joker, a once mediocre and benevolent man, is transformed into a repulsive, psychopathic and hateful criminal, just because of one bad day, which is quite similar to the creation of Batman from Bruce Wayne, where one bad day changes the entire course of the life of a small boy. The movie forces us to feel sympathetic towards Joker, despite his crimes, and asks us to truly question our judgments, as to whether good or bad is just within us, or is a reaction to an external stimulus.

There is a point in the movie where Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and tortures him to the breaking point. This is where he talks about memories, and how they influence our perception of life, and is probably one of the most powerful monologs that Joker has delivered. He points out that everyone has a chance of choosing between sanity and madness, between holding on to memories or just letting go. Despite all the torture the commissioner chooses sanity over madness, which says a lot about the grit and determination of a man who has been dealing with criminals for his entire life.

The finale of the movie is equally debatable, where Batman offers the joker a helping hand, to rehabilitate him, which Joker refuses of-course, and instead decides to share a cynical joke with Batman. The movie ends with both of them laughing at the joke, and Joker’s laugh dies down while Batman continues laughing, which forces us to ask the question, whether the Joker finally succeeds in breaking the Batman, and pushes him to ignore the one rule he never breaks.

All in all, it’s one of the masterpieces that Alan Moore had written in the Batman comic franchise, and the movie has most certainly lived up to its expectations, with the voices of Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, bringing the characters in the comic to life.

Author: Vivek Devane

Batman the Killing Joke Links: IMDb, Wikipedia.

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