One of DC’s biggest animated superhero movies is coming to Netflix in October. We’re talking about 2016’s Batman: The Killing Joke, an adaptation of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s iconic 1988 one-shot comic. The Joker-centric tale provides an origin for the villain, showing the circumstances which turned a failed comedian into the Clown Prince of Crime. It’s a classic story and one that’s gone on to have an enormous impact on Batman comics, not to mention being a major influence on last year’s Joker.
The movie features the voice talents of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as Mr. J, with both actors explaining in interviews that throughout their long tenure in the roles, they’d always wanted to do The Killing Joke. But there’s a fly in the ointment.
While most of Moore’s story is faithfully adapted, the studio inserted a questionable subplot that had fans up in arms. This begins in a prologue that shows Batgirl and Batman getting into an argument and then, uh, having sex in costume on a rooftop. It feels kinda gross, especially as Batgirl is presented as much younger than the Dark Knight and he’s effectively her teacher.
Fans and critics alike hated the addition, which was accused of having “the creep factor,” with one commentator saying it felt like Chris Hansen was about to show up. The rest of the movie mostly follows the comic’s plot, but those new scenes left a really bad taste in the mouth. Writer Brian Azzarello was asked what they were trying to achieve and replied: “The thing about this is that it’s controversial, so we added more controversy.”
Well, I guess he succeeded. If you want to check it out for yourself, Batman: The Killing Joke will hit Netflix on October 15th.