You’d Turn It Off Halfway: A Review of Batman: The Killing Joke Animated

Another mixed bag from DC/WB. I feel as I imagine I would if Zack Snyder had directed this. The parts that are right are exactly right. The parts that are wrong are dumbfounding.

People need to stop adding to and changing Alan Moore stories as if they’re smarter than he is. They aren’t. His stories are not unadaptable, as is sometimes said — they are impossible to alter. Every element depends on every other element. If you add things, the story becomes unbalanced. The additions shift the focus of the story so that this was not Batman: The Killing Joke, any longer. This was “Batgirl: The Difference Between Batman & Joker’s Fucking Techniques.”

I am a fan of Brian Azzarello. His Wonder Woman run was the only “New 52” book I truly loved.  That being said, almost no one, barring perhaps Grant Morrison, is either smart enough or qualified to add to or change a Moore narrative. This would appear to include Azzarello.

I have to assume the changes were studio-mandated because they make so little sense from a writing standpoint. The shape of the DC logo and amount of time it takes to animate indicates these additions are from the Batman v Superman decision-making era. In the wake of a controversy over a recent variant cover, DC/WB policy seems to have swung toward  the “Joker literally raped Barbara” misinterpretation. Let me not mince words: it is not in the text, plain and simple.

Joker metaphorically rapes Barbara with a bullet. The end. If Alan Moore writes a rape, he lets you know. If Joker raped Barbara to get to Gordon, guess what the photos in the carnival would’ve depicted? Otherwise, the Joker would not rape someone he’d already made sure couldn’t feel it.

If you have to alter the text to support your thesis by removing ambiguity, ambiguity was purposeful. There is no support in any continuity or any version of the Joker that he has either literal sexual intercourse or interest in such. The continual joke of he and Harley’s relationship is a marked lack of interest in her affections in favor of his relationship with Batman. It’s both a gay joke and a reference to both hero and villain’s Sherlock & Moriarty-style asexuality. Joker doesn’t fuck. You can add all the prostitute scenes implying he’s a regular poon hound you want. You can literally have him scream, “I swear, I love the pussy!” But the idea that TKJ‘s Joker is a regular with prostitutes that he doesn’t kill shortly thereafter is laughable. Even Caesar Romero’s Joker would’ve killed those girls. Joker kills. Joker maims. That is how he “gets off.”

The Joker and Batman have a sadomasochistic, homoerotic relationship, one of several in Batman. Warner and DC’s newfound conservatism seems intent on overcompensating for this interpretation. Their prevailing technique is to have him screw each female cast member on a rooftop. It won’t work, though. Also, Batgirl is more of his niece, and it was gross. Leave the Elektra complexes to Daredevil, please. (As an addendum to this, see this article. I believe Harley’s over-sexualization is part and parcel of a campaign to “de-gayify” the entire Batman mythos in the New 52 era of DC/WB.)

“Well, Doug, what did you want them to do? They had to flesh out Batgirl and make a feminist message and add to the runtime.”

Twenty minutes of thought gave me: Batgirl fights Harley in the opening. Flashing back to Harley’s origins, we parallel the “one bad day” theme. Since Harley’s bad day is when Joker drives her mad, it reinforces all the primary themes. Batgirl vs. Harley also mirrors the Batman vs. Joker plot. This gives Barbara a glimpse into her own future. In the end, she quits rather than letting it consume her. “It’ll never end,” she says to Bruce, “until one of us dies.” Her resignation sets up Batman rethinking his own approach with Joker. Cue rain. If you insist, let them have sex. But even for faithfulness, this should be older Barbara, in her late thirties. It’s two adult equals who’ve worked together a long time. She’s arriving at the moment where she needs to decide whether this is gonna be the rest of her life. Writing Batman into a mansplaining, misogynist role that Barbara overcomes only forces the actual Killing Joke to undermine and reverse that message later in the film.

Each addition took away from the whole. The positives, however, are that unlike The Hobbit films, when all the additions are cut out, it leaves a near perfect Killing Joke adaptation with tour de force swan song performances by Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy.

The Superman Effect

So — I think we all know what this means. Zack Snyder has the hots for Matthew Goode.

Look at the evidence: Zack Snyder, for being not only a comic book fan but also a film director, is incredibly buff and into sporting activities, which is just not natural. Working out a lot…well, it’s a symptom of a few things. I thought he was just one of those geeks that has issues about being a geek, so pretends he’s into jock stuff (which would explain Watchmen), but now I’m not so sure.

He cast Matthew Goode as Ozymandias, who was supposed to be this sort of gentle vegan ultra liberal pacifist type until the last quarter of the story. The fact that Rorschach thinks he might be gay is supposed to be more telling of Rorschach and his assumptions about liberals than it is a character point for Ozymandias. Snyder portrayed him standing in front of Studio 54, speaking with a strange German lisp and Hitler hair in purple with nipples on his outfit. Not exactly subtle, Zack.

So anyway, that would all just be down to interpretation, but I have a long-standing theory that there is a direct correlation between whom a Superman fan casts for Supes and whom they would totally do if they were gay. First off, I plain ole have a hypothesis that all die hard Superman fans (“All-Star Superman” notwithstanding) are closeted homosexuals, latent homosexuals, or homophobic homosexuals. I have no explanation as to why, it is simply an observation that has yet to be proven wrong. Next, whomever they cast as Superman if one were to inquire, is whomever on which they have a homosexual crush. This conclusion comes from the fact that all logic seems to be out the window, and it will, 9 times out of 10, be an actor they talk about / watch the movies of as much as they talk about / read Superman.

Now I’ve cast Superman in different ways, some on this blog — mostly as part of a larger idea, like my role call for Identity Crisis — but there have been reasons, for the most part, that I choose whom I choose. Brendan Fraser, from around the time of the first Mummy, I just think has the goofiness and seriousness to pull of the two completely separate roles. Think Bedazzled Fraser for Clark, School Ties Fraser for Superman. But when I talk about it being Sean Maher now, even I have to admit that part of that is just because I think the man is pretty, wholesome, and has a strong jaw and black hair. Not exactly the best acting requisites. So, maybe if, to quote Norm MacDonald, “if I had to be gay, like, if they made it mandatory one day or something…”

I’m not a Superman fan, big or otherwise, but the none of us are entirely straight, ladies and gentleman, but merely degrees of both. I can dig Superman at times, is what I’m saying.

Well, Donner hired Reeves, which does not implicate him in the Superman Effect — Reeves was perfect casting and just makes too much sense to tell us anything about Donner’s preferences — but Singer hired Routh. While I admire Brandon Routh’s comedic timing in films since Superman Returns, his performance in that film was either coming off as a Reeves impersonation or, well, a little gay. Now, Snyder has been hired. All wrong in my opinion, perhaps because I think Superman and in fact, DC superheroes are homoerotic enough without having anyone with those tendencies that aren’t already dealt with to helm them. Give me a straight guy or a guy who’s completely out of the closet to do a Superman film or a Green Lantern film. Snyder, with his love of Frank Miller and the Spartans and huge muscles and Studio 54…that just leads to more nipples.

Either way, Snyder has been rumored to be casting Matthew Goode as Superman, which would seem to be too much to ignore — he’s hiring the actor who helped him make a sexually ambiguous character out and out gay to play the gayest superhero of them all, and he’s probably gonna be using that whole Green Lantern skintight bodysuit, CG the costume on after technique. Come on, Zack. Sucker Punch isn’t fooling anyone.

I am so glad I got through this whole post without mentioning Dr. Manhattan’s massive blue dong. Shit.

John Hughes


Didn’t realize just how many movies I loved had been written by Hughes till I checked out his imdb page just now. There are the very closely associated ones — Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller, Weird Science. There’s the mistaken identity ones — Say Anything and Fast Times at Ridgemont High are Cameron Crowe. But here’s a rundown of the best of the rest, so you can get a scope of what we’ve lost here.
Mr. Mom
European Vacation
Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
She’s Having a Baby
The Great Outdoors
Uncle Buck
Christmas Vacation
Home Alone
I mean, Jesus Christ, man.

A Few Reactions to Some News

Those assholes finally did it. They’re getting me to watch Smallville again. Not only is Zod going to be showing up in the flesh, and played by an actor I love, Callum Blue (the English guy from Dead Like Me), but there’s a rumor that Tom Welling will finally be donning the goddamn suit next season, and they’ve been talking to Michael Rosenbaum’s agent, so we may in fact be getting Lex back as well. If they do all these things it means they think it’s the last season, but if they do all these things, who gives a shit? I might be in it for the long haul again. Fuckers.

I have got to start watching more Eureka. The show’s frikkin golden everytime I watch it. It’s one of those USA/Syfy level series (i.e. Monk, Psych, Burn Notice) that’s like a warm Winnie the Pooh blanket. Maybe it’s not that awesome for the freezing nights or the hot summer ones, but it’s perfect for a cool autumn evening when you’re curled up, enjoying a cocoa because you’ve got a chest cold. Comfort food.
WTF is Stargate doing? When I look at the new trailers for SG: Universe, I don’t know what to think. The cinematography is more kinetic, more epic, darker. The series itself seems more dangerous and realistic. All in all, it’s the first Stargate I’ve been truly interested in — but they’re just stealing a bunch of the Battlestar tropes and shoving them into a Stargate show. We know the show won’t be serialized that way, and even if they kill a bunch of people right off, it kind of has to stop there — they’ve got a limited number of cast members. In essence this will be old school SG cosplaying as Battlestar. I think I’ll be calling it BSG-1.
If Megan Fox keeps doing weird, low-budget horror movies now that she’s rode the corporate Bay train into stardom, I might end up liking her. Jennifer’s Body, which as far as I can tell from early previews is going to be awesome as long as you don’t have some weird, knee-jerk reaction to Diablo Cody dialogue. I actually am the exact opposite of that, and to be honest, we all know it belonged in this type of movie to begin with. Reitman directed it in a more indie hipster way and made Juno what it was, but Diablo was always trying to do the Kevin Smith/John Hughes thing. Then Jonah Hex, which is apparently a Spaghetti Western with monsters shot with the kinetic insanity of a Sam Raimi film. Fuck yeah! So, if this is Fox’s actual taste in films, and she keeps cursing in every fucking interview she does while also showing the proper amount of jaded when talking about Transformers, I will become a fan. Fuck you all for judging me.

Transvestites: More than Meets the Eye!

Many people think that Michael Bay has a small penis. While most likely true, this cannot explain him in whole. No one has the kind of elevator button/inny penis that would be necessary to compensate by being Michael Fucking Bay.

For a while I theorized that he was gay. But once again, while probably true, and certainly explains the military obsession and the flames on Prime, even both of them in unison do not explain Michael Fucking Bay.

No, it all became clear while watching a scene from Bay’s most recent foray into accidental, postmodern metahorror masquerading as action/science fiction, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Sam Witwicky, the unfortunately pathetic version of the geek stereotype without any of the winning compensatory qualities (like book smarts, quirkiness, or hobbies, you know, traits), leaves his home for college. He continues a long distance “relationship” with his “girlfriend” made of Megan Fox. Megan Fox plays an unfortunately Voltron-like combination of male fantasies that do not go together, do not agree, and make her an unattractive mutant. Once at college, he is stalked and pounced on by another superhot Baybot. But here is where Bay’s fears finally pop to the surface.

The Baybot straddles Sam, holding him down, when an extremely phallic metal tail protrudes from her posterior and attempts to violate Sam. It doesn’t matter how Sam gets out of this. What matters is how Michael Bay has been and will continue to deal with the issues developed from being raped by a she-male in college.

And, of course, having a small penis and being gay (you see, he knew she had a penis subconsciously). That is all.

Also, Rocket Science is absolutely hilarious. I’ve had it on my computer for months, and just got around to having the patience to watch it. Mostly because I do not like watching movies alone at home. So far, my favorite part is the string and piano versions of Violent Femmes songs that the couple keep doing for musical therapy.

Let the Right One in is also still on the list, just sitting there, being something I’d rather watch with someone else.

There’s not going to be anyone else for awhile. I just wouldn’t feel right about it, being such a technical loser right now.

Technical loser, in that I have no job, no money, I live with my mother and I don’t drive. I am working on several things that any woman in her right mind should talk me out of and force me to get a real job and grow up. But fuck that. I’m just not going to have a girlfriend until I’m someplace where I deserve one. And that may be a little bit.