Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)

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Sam Liu directs Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Tara Strong in this achingly faithful animation of the controversial graphic novel where the Joker breaks Bat-Girl and Commissioner Gordon yet reaches a moment of clarity with the Caped Crusader himself.

Watching this transgressive tale be brought to life is a treat in the main – within there’s a keen exploration of the Joker / Bats dynamic, moment of harrowing nastiness and a surprisingly hot sex scene between two costumed freaks. You can see The Killing Joke’s far reaching influence on Nolan, Burton and Snyder for at times this could be storyboards for the universes’ live action stablemates. But… it’s a very bitty narrative – many of the first and second acts’ plotlines are just left ignored and unresolved at the credits. Part of that is due to fidelity to the source materials arch punchline but you really would like to see Barbara, Gordon and the initial goons journeys reach some kind of epilogue. As a standalone movie this abrupt dismissal of key players once they’ve served their unfortunate purposes leaves a casual viewer unsated.

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