Two Opinions I hold about the Dark Knight
Opinion the first: My favorite Batman is Adam West. With the immortal line “Hand me down the shark repellent bat spray” never failing to me me smile.
Opinion the second: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the best Batman movie of all time. The voice acting, the music, the plot, the voice acting, the complexity, I really truly do love this film and cannot urge you enough to see this film if you haven’t already done so.
Because there was something about The Killing Joke that just didn’t click for me.
And believe me, this should have clicked big time. I love Bruce Timm’s take on the Batman mythos. Mark Hamil and Kevin Conroy are amazing voice actors who know their characters inside and out- Hell this is the team that made Batman: The Animated Series which is arguably the greatest animated series of all time!
Its also based on the graphic novel written by the Alan Moore, who wrote not only The Watchmen, but V for vendetta as well as working for Marvel, DC and 2000AD over here in the UK.
Why then, with this much talent and money behind it was my reaction merely lukewarm?
Well, the pacing is really bad. The first 28 minutes of this 76 minute film is basically a prologue that could so easily have been cut to ten or even five minutes as it has very little impact on the actual story that I paid my money to go and see.
Which means that the central ideas- can one bad day change a mans life for good or ill, are Batman and The Joker really two sides of the same coin condemned to eternal war or can there be peace? Hell, even The Jokers possible origin story feels slightly rushed.
And, at the risk of sounding slightly ghoulish, the torture that Commissioner Gordon (a miscast Ray Wise) goes through doesn’t really seem to be that extreme, and again, there are good ideas here- watching what happens to his daughter, his support for Batman’s methods even though they show complete disregard for the law that he’s sworn to uphold that are barely even scratched.
About the only thing that does work is a random song that gets stuck in there for good measure, comes out of no-where and is the most cartoony part of the film. But, it features some of the most striking images of the film. Alas though, it’s also over too soon.
Strip down the prologue, allow the ideas to breathe and this could have been the classic that it so clearly wants to be. As is?
My Score- If Nothing Else