Get POP-Cultured! Comics, Movies, TV, Video Games & more!

Your daily source of all-exclusive pop-culture news, reviews & opinion by eXpertComics    Follow ENR on Facebook Follow ENR on Twitter Follow ENR on Google+


5 Reasons The Killing Joke Is The Best Batman Movie Of All Time

Written by  Published August 5, 2016 07:27
The animation department at DC/WB has done something that the live action department has yet to accomplish – they made a near perfect Batman movie. This in my opinion is the best Batman film ever made. How do I make this claim? I do not take my animation lightly and if you read my columns at all you will know that I am especially obsessed with Warner Bros. As a reviewer of all things Warner, I feel uniquely qualified to break down this film for you. Lego, Scooby, Tom and Jerry and of course, DC animation are the pinnacle of the direct to video market but Killing Joke was released theatrically and thus puts it alongside BVS, the Nolan and Burton batfilms, not to mention Mask of the Phantasm when comparing the franchise.

With that being said I wanted to be very specific when laying out my argument. Below I laid out 5 reasons that The Killing Joke is the king of all films Batman related.

So let’s get this monkey smoking…


The SYNOPSIS from (credits from as well)

As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.


1. Best Source Material

13918572 10206433295821355 1688598428 o

The Killing Joke took the world by shock and awe when it was released in 1988. Alan Moore and Brian Bolland brought layers to the relationship between Joker and Batman, showed the real horror of the Clown Prince of Crime and left audiences stunned with the ramifications of the events within.

Never before has a Batman movie had such a pure and polished source of reference to pull from. This is the freedom of animation and the wisdom of this choice at work. The Killing Joke is the perfect Batman film because while it explores more mature themes it is also at its core 100 percent Batman. By that I mean, the plot perfectly depicts the personality and character of Batman while emphasizing his weaknesses.

2. Best Adaptation

This is the best and most faithful adaptation of a classic Batman tale. Period. Sure there are a couple of changes for the impact of video and storytelling in the medium – and granted an unnecessary but acceptable scene – but in the places it matters most, in the most crucial elements of the tale it is nearly shot for shot, word for word. No matter your opinion on Azzerello as a comic writer there is little doubt his adaptation of The Killing Joke is a masterpiece from the opening sequence to the closing credits. It is superb work. At no point did he lose the tone, feel or point of the source material and at all times engaged the viewer by letting the source material do the heavy lifting for him.

3. Best Creative Team

13900973 10206433295661351 693021790 n

Starting with executive producer and working down, this has the best creative talent ever to work on a Bat movie. Bruce Timm who spent a decade in the DCAU has studied, breathed and understands these characters. Having comic pro Brian Azzerello adapt the screenplay was a stroke of genius and pays off in the grandest of fashions – Batman finally feels like he does in the comics. Never before on a Batman film has a creative team been so closely bonded to the characters nor so involved in the history of them.

In short, you can tell that the creative was in love with the project not simply filling a studio quota of explosions per second or written and made by people from outside the comic industry. In fact, Timm should be in charge of the DCEU and all its problems would fade away. Sam Liu is the Justice league vs. Teen Titans director and DCAU veteran responsible for some of its finest moments. Because he is also a storyboard artist and comic lover he is aware of the way shots must be done to lift them from the two dimensional page and into motion. He is by far the most knowledgeable in regards to characters that any batfilm has ever had at the helm.

Executive Producer
Bruce Timm

Directed by
Sam Liu              

Writing Credits 
Bob Kane - (character created by: Batman) &
Bill Finger - (character created by: Batman)
Alan Moore - (graphic novel)
Brian Bolland - (graphic novel illustrator)
Jerry Robinson - (characters: Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth & The Joker) (uncredited)
Brian Azzarello - (screenplay)

4. Best Cast

13940139 10206433295741353 1551281326 o

From Adam west to Ben Affleck, no actor has logged more hours in the role of Batman than Kevin Conroy. He is and has been the best Batman since he donned the cowl in 1992 and his performance here is his finest yet. Even better than his Arkham Asylum game series and his best performances from TAS. He IS Batman, from his overprotective mentoring to his dark brooding side. The abyss mentioned in the film oozes out of him.

 If no one is more qualified to play Batman than Conroy, then the same is true about Mark Hamill’s Joker. Hamill has found new layers (provided by creative and source) and levels a new depravity to the role that even Leto will not be able to top.

But Tara Strong steals the movie as Batgirl. Her performance is flawless and makes the audience care about the horrific plight of her character. Add to these actors a host of other veterans and you have a cast built for Batman that no live action movie can come close to replicating. Kilmer? Clooney? Bale? Affleck? Pshah.


Kevin Conroy - Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice)
Mark Hamill - The Joker (voice)
Tara Strong - Barbara Gordon / Batgirl (voice)
Ray Wise - Commissioner Gordon (voice)
John DiMaggio - Francesco (voice)
Robin Atkin Downes - Detective Bullock (voice)
Brian George -Alfred (voice)

5. Best Execution

Because of the four items above (all the preparation that goes with it) The Killing Joke came off as it was supposed to – a piece of moving powerful fiction about evil and light and the victims in-between.

Experience. It is the intangible missing from all the other Batman movies from West to Affleck. The vast amount of experience by this team from producer to storyboard, source material to actor reward the viewer time and time again and it feels like no flaw exists because it is obvious these people now what they are doing. This experience chose Killing Joke, chose the rest of the experienced team and trusted their own long standing knowledge to give us the Batman film we deserve.

Until next time…

Tell the monkey to crush his butt…

Steve DAMM

DAMM is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. As one of ENR's founders and passionate comics' lover, he is committed to bringing you fair but passionate reviews as well as breaking news without the overreaction. A Colorado born curmudgeon, comic purist and pop culture crusader, he's on a mission to make new readers aware of the legends who came before in an in-depth way, how they changed comics and why the Silver Age is the most important era to modern American art (comic, commercial & fine). His opinionated style and audacious boldness making him a must read. As a reviewer, opinion columnist and con reporter his objective is the acquisition of truth, justice and the American comic book way, though he's been known to pursue foreign comics voraciously too. A champion for the creator-owned, a proponent for Indies and intolerant of towing corporate lines DAMM brings praise to those who deserve it and lays out the bad news without pretention.

Login to post comments
Show me all new releases

Breaking News

Buy Comics Online on eXpertComics

Sign up For Our Newsletter:
Please wait
©2009 - 2017™/ | eXPress News & Reviews/™ | All characters © of their respective ™ owners | Terms