Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Batman: The Killing Joke [Fathom Movie Event]

Let me reiterate that I do not read American comics. No matter how much I love the MCU, no matter how much I enjoy the Arrowverse, no matter that I've seen so many of the cartoons... I do not read American comics (aside from the new Marvel Star Wars comics - cause those are Star Wars).

That's a real good and creepy shot. Very morbid. I like it.
I'm saying this because I made a terrible mistake.

I learned too much about this movie before seeing it. I learned about the stupid complaints from the SDCC panel, I learned about the plot on accident... I wish I had not.

4.5 out of 5 stars

I never knew the Joker's back story.
I so wish I had not learned as much as I did.

I kept waiting for moments to come. I knew things that were going to happen... I had the dreaded foreknowledge.

I know this is an iconic image from the comic... but why does he have
a robot eye? I mean that looks like a robot eye to me...
I honestly think that without expanding Batgirl's story in this movie
the emotional impact and weight would have been far less powerful.
These images are actually less graphic than the graphic novel.
And this movie was rated 'R.'
Still the movie has significant impact. It was very well told.

There are really two main characters in this movie, and neither are Batman. That's actually really great.

They are Batgirl, who narrates a bit of the first part, and to whom we form an emotional bond in the first part of the story. And, honestly, if they had not written this new material, made her into essentially the first half's main character... this movie would have been far far less. She lent the movie greater emotional depth.

Oh, I can hear the screams of detractors. "They made her weak!" "She needed to be vindicated by a man!" 

I have no idea what movie you were watching. The first part of the film was her coming to terms with two powerful forces. The obvious one, I need not mention - for it is the one that upsets those who would scream the above phrases. The second one, the one that really gave her depth, was the abyss. She is a strong character that has a day so unbearable that she should break... and... you know this is really plot relevant so I'm going to stop. Just know that she is in no way a weak character.

Oh! And how bloody awesome is it to see a Batman cartoon movie reference Nietzsche's works? I loved it! Happy Philosopher! And it really made a good hero's arc. She learned a lot about herself when she was confronted by the abyss. She learned more than she wanted to know. This is good story telling. (I'd love to elaborate even more... but I refuse to spoil more than I already have, but suffice to say sometimes the abyss is darker and deeper than you think.)

Yes, the Joker surprises her, and what the Joker does is completely abhorrent, utterly disgusting. It was never meant to be nice... he was never meant to be nice. He is chaos and violence and depravity all wrapped up one green haired terrifying clown. And voiced by the super talented Mark Hamill (of whom we heard more of and saw more of in this movie than we did in The Force Awakens.) I've got to be honest again here... I'm worried about the Joker in Suicide Squad because how the hell does anyone do the Joker better than Heath Ledger or Mark Hamill? Will the damage be there?

So it should be quite obvious that despite knowing some of the story, and learning more than I should have before seeing it, I enjoyed the movie.

But there are very few films that are not without a few flaws.
For me the ending was just so abrupt that I found myself really wanting more, just a little be more closure. I was glad for the inter-credits section, it helped make the movie feel like it had a better ending, but at the same time it left me somewhat confused. I'm not a comics reader, so the imagery at the end did not fully make sense to me.

But that was not the part that bugged me the most. This movie was rated 'R' but they only cursed once (they even say 'Fig' instead of the F-bomb), the bullets and blood were still very cartoony, there was no nudity, only implied actions. Yes, the content was very brutal - and perhaps that is enough to rate it 'R,' I'm just shocked they did not do more with that rating. I mean we never even see commissioner Gordon's butt when he is naked. Male butt is like PG-13 material... not that I wanted to see old white dude butt, it just struck me as odd. Female butt with a tiny bit of string is like flat PG or something, right? Ok, even as a film major I don't get half the stuff the MPAA does with it's ratings. But this just seemed weird... the theater was even checking some IDs because the movie was rated 'R.'

It did not seem like it deserved an 'R' rating.

So this is a limited time showing. If you want to see it on the big screen - and hear Mark Hamill in glorious theater level full surround, you need to get to the theater really really soon... like today, cause that is it. The limited run ends Tuesday July 26th, 2016.

This was really good.

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