DC has proven once more that they are catering to the comic book reading masses by delivering an animated movie that is not only true to the graphic novel of the same name but also expands on the great work done by DC animation. This is not your parents’ Batman, and after a few tweaks to the introduction of the story, you get insight into the Joker’s origin story. Although this is one of many iterations of the relationship between the Caped Crusader and our favorite villain, Alan Moore made sure you saw their kinship as more than a necessary evil; you can see that they are so intertwined that one cannot live without the other. This is the aspect of the relationship between the two that was used to fuel Heath Ledger’s Joker portrayal in The Dark Knight.
If you haven’t read The Killing Joke or any of the comic book serials the animated feature film may not mean much to you. Why? Because Batman lore covers a lot of territory and if you are not well versed you won’t be able to recognize what is unique about this particular story. The Joker was introduced as a one time villain whose popularity grew so fast that he was made permanent back in 1940. It wasn’t until 1998 that we were given an origin story worthy of our favorite antagonist. This was the first time the character was given an identity that could explain his madness in a rational manner. He was humanized, made vulnerable by circumstance. By the end of the comic and movie you realize that he knows he has crossed a line from which he can’t come back. He is lost, and not even Batman can save him from himself.
Check out the extras and companion materials included in the DVD/Blu-ray format. Mark Hamill’s interview was worth the price of admission. The movie itself is short and sweet but it wasn’t meant to be a feature film. Keep this in mind and read The Killing Joke. It is the sane thing to do.