Batman: The Killing Joke misfires as an adaptation of a classic graphic novel.
Producer Bruce Timm has been making brilliant and beloved adaptations of DC's most popular superhero since 1992's Batman: The Animated Series for WB Kids. But his stellar record now has a blemish on it what with this misbegotten adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke. Perhaps Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's 1988 graphic novel should have remained unfilmed, as its controversial story is dated and extremely polarizing. Even Moore distances himself from it today. But Timm and company bravely attempted an animation take on it and it's wrong on most every level.
The cartooning style drawn here looks far too friendly for a narrative whose main story beats include Joker shooting Batgirl in the abdomen and paralyzing her, as well as kidnapping and torturing her beleaguered father Commissioner Gordon. Yet Timm and company add more insult to those injuries by creating a Batgirl back story that has her sexually tryst with Batman. Even the return of Bruce Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (The Joker) reviving their iconic vocal performances from the 1992 show can't rescue this botched adaptation that blunders from first frame to last. No joke.