Written by: Brian Azzarello (written by), Brian Bolland (based on the graphic novel illustrated by), Bob Kane & Bill Finger (Batman created by), Alan Moore (based on the graphic novel written by - uncredited)
Directed by: Sam Liu
Starring: Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong
My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous TV reviews!
Batman hunts the Joker, while the Joker enacts a diabolical scheme involving the Gordon family that mirrors the Joker's origin.
It's a little under cooked. The thirty minute Batgirl prologue has little to do with the story proper. It's there just to stretch the run time to feature length territory. While the Joker's past is revealed, I wanted to get into his psychology.
Focusing the story and really delving into the question of whether one bad day is all that stands between the average man and the Joker could have made this better. It tells us the origin of the Joker without developing the character.
While I've never read the graphic novel of the same name, I'm aware of it's popularity.
The Barbara Gordon prologue didn't seem to fit this movie. For a movie about the Joker, the first thirty minutes has nothing to do with him. I had to look it up, and that was not part of the comic. It's thirty minutes of filler. You can pinpoint the moment the 'real' movie starts.
While the artwork from the original comic is really dark and brooding, that is not translated. This looks like Batman: The Animated Series. If you look at the comic art, you'll wish the movie had mimicked it more.
The dual plot focuses on the Joker's plan to break Jim Gordon while revealing Joker's backstory. One bad day ruined the Joker, and he wants to prove one bad day can ruin Gordon. The Joker wants to justify his existence by proving that certain events could drive anyone crazy.
I got the facts, but I didn't really get a story. This doesn't build the character of who the Joker was to a point that I felt like I knew him. Doing that could begin to make the Joker a slightly sympathetic character. We get no real insight, and this doesn't really delve into what could drive someone crazy. Gordon is abused and assaulted, certainly, but he never seems like he's on the verge of breaking down. This isn't just a fault of the animation. The Animated Series managed to make Mr. Freeze a tragic character.
While you can compare the Joker's "one bad day" with Batman's. The movie never points you towards that. Maybe it's an obvious conclusion, but it should have been more overt. One bad day made a failed comic the psychopath Joker while it made Bruce Wayne Batman.
While it's been a while since I've seen the animated Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, I recall liking them more.