Tag Archives: Joker

Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders. West and Ward are back!

Batman will see 2016 as one of the biggest years for the character! Yet another film has been announced starring The Dark Knight, but this one has got a little edge over the others…its cast! Bringing in Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar will be returning to their roles from the 60’s Batman series for this animated adventure. Said to feature Batman and Robin against their biggest foes; Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman (Julie Newmar will definitely be a welcome return). The feature will show the dynamic duo face the villains on earth…and in space? Well, according to Adam West at least!

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As part of the 50th anniversary of the classic show, this film will certainly have a place for many fans and bound to be popular on its release this November. Capturing the essence of the original show with its bright colours and possibly silly set-ups, be sure to enjoy this fun romp later this year! Ka-Pow!!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Batman: The Killing Joke. “All It Takes Is One Bad Day…”

In the last few years, Batman has definitely saturated every available market he could appear in. We have had video games, live action and animated films, countless new comic books and this year is no exception. The Killing Joke by Alan Moore has always been considered one of the most essential comic books of all time. Showing a deeper insight to The Joker, we get to see what could be his origin story and experience one of the most adult pieces of work in the DC line. And this asks many questions such as…is Batman and The Joker connected to each other deeper than either will admit? And what does it take to truly go insane?

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This film, though is mainly faithful to the original Graphic Novel, does take a few leaps. The biggest one was the 30-minute prologue to the main story. We get a narration from Batgirl/Barbara Gordon as she speaks of her story. The comic gives minimal focus on Batgirl, even though her part is rather integral to the story. Her arc in this prologue gives you a look at what got her to quit being Batgirl and how strong her relationship with Batman was. After dealing with a criminal who takes a lot of interest in Batgirl, we then get into the main storyline which we are familiar with…almost as if this was a whole different film. A lot of people have commented about this, and I feel that although it does feel a bit bloated, it goes some way to set up to the main events.

While a murder scene is investigated by Batman with him believing it to be the work of The Joker, he then goes to speak to his nemesis and Batman begins to talk about what the possible endgame will be between the two of them! Without giving too much away, The Joker then goes on to create one of his most terrifying schemes ever; to drive someone completely crazy. The Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordon in a scheme to show that anyone can go mad with just “one bad day” and Batman heads out to save his friend. During this story, we also get flashbacks to The Joker from before he had his “bad day” and became the clown prince of crime. Even though I read this story years ago, it still does give you an uncomfortable feeling when you see the images in front of you. Fair to say the story needed to be given a stronger age rating than many of the DC animated movies that came before, but I don’t want to give away too much to why it deserves the mature certificate.

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To have the winning combination of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as the Dark Knight and the sinister clown is always bound to be a winner. Since their debuts in the 1992 animated series, these two have continued to be the most recognisable voices of these legendary characters. As this story is set quite late into their lives, it is good to have an aged and perfected cast for these parts. Tara Strong fits in well as Batgirl (am sure that the critics like her acting too), though is it fair to say she does a better job as Harley Quinn and it’s a shame the character has no part in this story. Ray Wise, though a distinctly different voice to Jim Gordon, definitely fits in well for the film. The animation may not be perfect, but the hand-drawn style which the animated DC films are known for is still striking. The Killing Joke had to look like the graphic novel was on screen, that was a great way to get the fans of the book to really leap into this film. There may be a lot of people disappointed with the prologue and think it’s nothing more than filler, and to a degree, it is. But I can see why it was needed for the film.

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Overall, the highlight is seeing Conroy and Hamill as they show that they ARE Batman and The Joker! Hearing the legendary lines and beautiful images come to life will certainly bring a smile to lifelong fans of these characters and of The Killing Joke. Alan Moore won’t agree with this being made into a film, and with just The Killing Joke section, it may not have been able to come out as a film. Writer Brian Azzarello indeed does keep everything that made The Killing Joke a success, but his addition to the source material is a more hit-and-miss affair. I think cutting at least two Batgirl scenes (you know which ones) and adding a bit more on Joker or Batman would have been much better. But, to have Mark Hamill deliver that joke at the end giving one of the most ambiguous endings in comic book history will always sit with me! I grew up with Mark Hamill as The Joker, and this was indeed his best ever performance of the character. Whether or not we do learn his true origin (“If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”), he indeed owns every second he is seen and heard. No matter my other thoughts or small quibbles on the film, Mark Hamill got to do the part we all wanted, and he killed it (no pun intended).

Final rating: 8/10 (4/10 for the prologue, 10/10 for the main story and 10/10 for Mark Hamill)

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Here is the final scene from Batman: The Killing Joke, only watch if you have already seen the film or read the book…or want to see that “Joke” for yourself!

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Suicide Squad. “I’m a soldier! You’re a serial killer who takes credit cards.”

Plenty of things happened in this 2-hour comic book film, all of which were great. The Harley and Joker pairing happened (and it worked well), the extension to the DC Extended Universe went swimmingly and Jai Courtney finally happened (more on that later)!

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We start with introductions to our characters beginning with Deadshot (Will Smith) who is currently incarcerated following his capture by Batman. We also see Harley (Margot Robbie) in a similar situation. Then we get to meet Amanda Waller, possibly one of the greatest villains in DC, who definitely lives up to her reputation in this movie. Amanda Waller has started putting together a team that she calls Task Force X, this is to take villains and give them the chance to do some good and have time taken off their prison sentences, possibly prepare them for the next meta-human threat. She also backs up this team by showing off the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and her unique powers. Amongst the “Suicide Squad” there is pyrokinetic El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, Katana, Slipknot and their team leader Rick Flagg as well as Deadshot and Harley. Some may think how do you keep villains in line and to co-operate with you? Well, Amanda Waller has got a way which could leave you with an almighty headache if you disobey her.

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Throughout the film, we see the team come together and see what brought them to their current situation. We then also get to see the big bad emerge from a familiar point as Midway City becomes a war zone. The team is then sent out to extract an individual from the city before things get worse. While we have the Squad heading out to fight, there is a certain Joker going around too trying to get back to Harley. Without giving away too much, there is a lot of backstory filled for Harley to understand her relationship with her Mr. J, and the scenes do work well between all the action. Though this is a comic book film and there is a great number of CGI shots, this truly does still feel like a grounded movie throughout. It doesn’t feel as big as Batman v Superman was, but it does still impose a scale which is epic.

I don’t want to give too much away, but there is a great chance for many characters to shine and they do. Deadshot and Harley definitely get the most to do in this movie and get the most development. Will Smith really makes this part work for him and I can’t wait to see where Deadshot will show up next. Margot Robbie makes Harley a breakout character and you know there is so much more for her to do in the DCEU in the future. If the rumours of a spin-off with Harley are true, I hope this means more Joker too and maybe an introduction to Catwoman and Poison Ivy. Jay Hernandez for me was a character we needed a lot more screen time with, playing the powerful El Diablo came to him with ease and was by far the deepest portrayal in the movie. You do feel most for this guy out of all the characters featured.

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There were very few characters I didn’t like, but some I think got a rough deal. Jared Leto’s Joker was actually rather fun, I enjoyed the scenes he was in, but he should have been in the movie more for a better effect (but hopefully he will be back in the solo Batman film and maybe Justice League). Viola Davis definitely nailed the part of Amanda Waller, and you will feel a lot of hatred for her but be amazed how much you enjoy her character (hopefully more of Amanda to come). If I was to say one that did make me laugh, it was Captain Boomerang. Jai Courtney was a very funny character and brought some good laughs to the screen but was relatively absent till nearly an hour into the film (though his scene of him getting arrested was great). Then there is The Dark Knight himself, Ben Affleck may not get a lot of screen time in Suicide Squad, but Batman is definitely a big force in the movie. Batman may be next leading the screen in Justice League, but it’s great to see him weave throughout this universe.

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This film is a success, throughout it is very funny and will keep your attention throughout. The action scenes are intense and the special effects both practical and CG are done superbly. The dialogue does crackle throughout and there are so many great lines in its runtime. The music throughout is brilliant, the mix of rock classics and modern hits really shines. Hearing a mix of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eminem, Queen, White Stripes and many more really work well in the movie. There is a sense of Guardians of the Galaxy in this movie, the similarities come from its fun soundtrack and the way the characters come together from all different places and work as one solid unit. Overall I loved this film! A few minor gripes are the main mission they are trying to accomplish, then there is the under-development of a few squad members. But a strong cast, some great cameos and a super mid-credit scene make this film a resounding success. The Joker and Harley share a much different relationship to how I was expecting and I won’t spoil it here, but I did enjoy it and hope to see that expand in the future. Suicide Squad 2 should be on the list, and I hope we get more Deadshot, Harley, Joker, Amanda Waller and Captain Boomerang (They tried for years to make Jai Courtney happen, and he finally happened!) in the near future. David Ayer knows how to make a true Comic Book film and I hope he sticks with the DC Extended Universe for a long time. And just for once, bad is good!

Final rating: 9/10 (10 if the DVD release features more Joker and a few more DC easter eggs).

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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