Batman The Killing Joke walks in with that same old stunning Joker lore with a bit of Barbara’s emotional turmoil hooked to it. We find Paris Franz here, another badass villain that talks through the smug of a pyscho, and you can’t help but wonder about the similarities he shares with Batman’s archenemy Joker himself.
It’s like he’s fallen off the face of the Earth.
There are two main stories galloping here. Halfway through the movie, you can’t stop yourself from appreciating what you are served – extraordinary psychopathic Paris Franz story with Barbara’s constant battle with herself to confess her love for Batsy. But then the later half gradually degrades, without a strong cemented backbone to uplift the story. No doubt The Joker was magnificent as ever, but the story falls down in respect to Joker’s evilness as it reaches climax.
STORIES IN BATMAN THE KILLING JOKE (SPOILERS INCLUDED)
There is an ambiguous disconnect between two main story-lines, that seem to work in different parts of Batman The Killing Joke. We have an exciting, ballsy, different and emotional tale to the Batman-Batgirl relationship that continue with Joker shenanigans that try to rampage past human sanity.
THE FIRST PLOT: PARIS FRANZ QUANDARY
BATA starts off with a diegesis of sorts, Batgirl narrating her story beautifully. Animation keeping up with her as she scales down the city explaining rare accounts from her head. This side of the vantage is well thought of and well written. It engulfs you almost instantly.
I realize this is probably not how you thought the story would start, not with a big shiny moon or a city that or me.
A smug introduction to a titular Paris Franz character compels you to ponder upon those rare shades of psychopaths that the city of Gotham houses. He pulls off the villainy fairly well until he is battered down by the decimating Batgirl fury, which was actually nothing but a vent from her relationship trauma. You will see how smug Paris Franz is, and how cool he behaves even when there is someone breathing down his neck. That rare air of confidence helps Paris Franz to ace perversion in a way it never has been before.
Batman’s portrayal will bring all those memories back from the past. The way he puts it:
You haven’t been taken to the edge yet. The abyss, the place where you don’t care anymore. Where all hope dies.
Barbara’s constant reasoning with herself to win a dead man’s love will have you feel sorry for her. Her emotions are so real that it beats the inanimate off the CGI. Her incessant scrimmaging with herself to prove herself, to prove her love for Batman, is as gorgeous as she looks in Batman The Killing Joke.
The beauty of it all as they make love right underneath a Gargoyle silently watching on a rooftop, is so poetic that you can’t help getting mesmerized by its sheer description. Brilliantly pulled off!
As she describes it:
It was fantastic, like fireworks.
The aftermath – the avoidance, brims her up with thousand questions. There is poetry everywhere. When she sits amongst pigeons like a delicate bird she is, for hours thinking about him. It is an enchanting frame.
Maybe it was too soon, even after all this time.
Unfortunately she ends up getting devoured by the ugly side of insanity, and makes one of the most difficult choices of her life. Leaving Batman, one true person she wanted to be with, as she decides to get out.
I saw that abyss you spoke about, very scary, but so tempting. I don’t know how you resist it. I don’t think it’s humanly possible.
THE SECOND PLOT
Batman the Killing Joke moves on to a different enclave altogether after leaving the Batman-Batgirl story right there. Enters the main event after which the moniker finds its meaning. Joker is absolutely stunning with that wicked gleam in his eyes, and the delivery Mark Hamill brings home is simply majestic.
You see this rare side of Batsy who tries to reconcile with Joker too, trying to squeeze in a reason for him to hold on to.
How can two people hate so much without knowing each other?
Joker’s madness is drenched in stark psychosis. He does a loony song too to pull Gordon towards the ugly clutches of insanity. His take on memories, his past and craziness is so brilliantly written that is hard not to applaud him for his ingenious comportment.
Remembering’s dangerous. I find the past such a worrying, anxious place. Yes, memory is so treacherous. One moment you’re lost in a carnival of delight, childhood aromas, the flashing neon of puberty, all that sentimental candyfloss. The next, it takes you somewhere you don’t want to be. Somewhere dark and cold, filled with damp, ambiguous-shaped things you’d rather forget. Memories can be vile, repulsive little brutes.
At one point, you see Batman hunting down Joker and ends up facing Maroni. He puts Joker’s perversion in perspective with:
We might be scared of you, but we are terrified of him.
As if those stories weren’t enough, there is another backdrop side-plot that oscillates occasionally to and fro, taking you to the Joker’s past every now and then. If only they were shown at junctures worth revisiting, it would have been perfect.
The final bits are left for viewer’s interpretation. It is actually a nice way of leaving the story like that. You can’t help but wonder if Batman might have killed Joker in the end or if he might have taken him to the Arkham Asylum yet again, overlooking his horrific deeds to prove he doesn’t win.
THINGS THAT DON’T WORK OUT
Given the colossal theme of the movie, we expected something much more exhilarating eventually. Climactic bits wizen down gradually during the final bits, as Batman hunts down Joker to a Carnival. Gordon fails to succumb to the insanity Joker had planned for him. Given the monstrosity of Joker’s villainy the tale ends quite stale, leaving us with a weird sense of disconnect, as it fails to merge with the leftovers.
I’ve demonstrated there’s no difference between me and everyone else. All it takes is one bad day. That’s how far the world is from where I am, just one bad day.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Batman The Killing Joke is different, yes, no doubt. Screenplay absolutely brilliant! Story wise, I am afraid I liked the Barbara story more. Music is just as gorgeous, forever complementing every single frame. The movie also pays homage to a lot of previously depicted materials that will at once throw you into pits of nostalgia.
Whilst Batman The Killing Joke might not be the best of Batman Joker movies, it certainly stands in the vanguard as one of those rare movies to serve us a breathtaking glimpse into their enmity-inevitability. Also, it poses a daunting question out at the end. What did Batman really do?
Check out the trailer of Batman: The Killing Joke here: