I’m not going to compare the movie to the graphic novel, other than that it seemed to stay true to the source material, It’s been way too long since I’ve read the book, so my memories aren’t likely to be accurate anyway.
First things first, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are fantastic in their roles. Animation styles may change, live action actors come and go, but those two will always be Batman and the Joker. The rest of the voice actors are also excellent. Overall, the production of the movie is great. The animation is beautiful and the music is fitting without being overpowering. These can seem like small things, but they have a big impact on the mood of the movie.
I wasn’t as impressed with the story. Unfortunately, the first third of the movie has little to do with the real plot. It’s almost like a prologue about Batgirl and a mob boss. When it ends, about half an hour into the movie, it’s never mentioned again and has no connection to the Joker storyline. That led to a couple of issues. First, it made it hard to stay in the story since there was such an abrupt shift, and second, I kept expecting there to be some reference to the prologue, but it never happened. Once the Joker is introduced, things pick up and it’s great.
The final scenes of the movie were a little bit of a letdown. There wasn’t anything wrong with them, they just felt a little anti-climactic. And, without spoiling anything, the laughter at the close was a little disturbing. There is an early credit epilogue, which almost feels like a sequel teaser, but is probably more of an easter egg for those who know the comic book storyline.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending, but like I said, I can’t pinpoint anything wrong. Maybe it’s just a little too open ended for my taste, so the movie didn’t feel finished, but I also recognize that that’s the point. One purpose of the story is to show that Batman and the Joker are more similar than they are different, and that leads to the two of them being stuck in a never ending cycle of conflict. The somewhat ambiguous ending plays into that.
DC has a reputation for creating excellent animated movies, and The Killing Joke was no exception. While I don’t think it was one of their best, it’s a solid movie and worth watching.