Ever since it was announced, DC's animated adaptation of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's "The Killing Joke" has attracted as much criticism as it has anticipation. Now, it's getting the ultimate critique from Screen Junkies' Honest Trailers YouTube series, which calls the film a "below average extended episode of the animated series" that's "trying really, really hard to justify its R rating."
The trailer saves most of its mockery for the film's first 40 minutes, which were added to increase run time and address the controversy surrounding Barbara Gordon's storyline. In the original graphic novel, Barbara (Batgirl) is gravely wounded and tortured by the Joker, but her perspective is almost entirely glossed over; this drew many criticisms of the attitude toward women in "The Killing Joke" (and comics in general). However, Screen Junkies emphasizes just how badly the movie's new intro fails to gives Barbara a modern, fleshed-out arc. The narrator points out that DC instead "fight[s] fire with gasoline" by adding a host of other sexist tropes -- Barbara sleeps with her boss, complains about men and flirts with criminals -- on top of the original problem with her torture and humiliation.
The trailer also throws a few shots at DC and Warner Brothers' live-action films. They introduce "The Killing Joke" as coming "from the division of Warner Brothers that's still making good superhero movies," and describe the lackluster plot as "bring[ing] DC cinematic-level storytelling to the DC animated universe."
"Batman: the Killing Joke" is on sale now, on digital platforms plus Blu-ray and DVD. It features the voice talents of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Tara Strong as Batgirl, Mark Hamill as the Joker and Ray Wise as Commissioner Gordon.