Batman: The Killing Joke is the 164th episode of Screen Junkies comedy series Honest Trailers. It was written by Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell, Joe Starr, and Andy Signore. It parodies the 2016 animated superhero film Batman: The Killing Joke. It was narrated by Jon Bailey as Epic Voice Guy. It was published on August 30, 2017, to coincide with the film's release on home video and Blu-ray. It is 3 minutes 59 seconds long. It has been viewed over 3.7 million times.
"If you've always wanted a version of the classic Batman cartoon where Batgirl is paralyzed and humiliated, two of your favorite characters have random gratuitous sex, and an iconic graphic novel is ruined with a boring first half that adds nothing to the story, then we've got the direct-to-video movie for you. Also, you desperately need to see a therapist." ~ Honest Trailers - Batman: The Killing Joke
From the division of Warner Bros. that's still making good superhero movies (Warner Bros. Animation) comes the adaptation of the best Batman-Joker story of all time, which should've been amazing but somehow ended up including this (shows Batgirl kissing Batman). Wait, is he with Batgirl? (Batgirl begins stripping off her costume) Ah, oh, oh man. Oh, that is so wrong on so many different levels! The Killing Joke.
The joke is on us in this wannabe edgy misfire that looks like a fan-made flash animation and sounds like some of the actors read their lines at gunpoint, in a movie that brings DC's cinematic-level storytelling to the DC Animated Universe, plus a dash of LEGO Batman for good measure.
Batman: You haven't been taken to the edge yet...
LEGO Batman: Darkness!
Batman: ...the abyss, the place where you don't care anymore, where all hope dies.
LEGO Batman: No parents!
Experience the long-awaited adaptation of the 48-page comic, with a forty-minute intro tacked on to beef it up to feature length, that takes the greatest Joker story ever told and adds all these new non-Joker characters, like a generic mob boss (Carlos Francesco), his dumb nephew with his dumb nephew name (Paris Franz), and a 90's sitcom writer's idea of a gay person (Reese), in this below-average extended episode of the animated series that's trying really, really hard to justify its R-rating.
Paris Franz: I don't think they could plug computer in the a**.
Carlos Francesco: The Bat and his b***h breathing down my neck!
Joker: Can't quite make out whether it's bums out or rats, but it's piss.
Joker: Goddamn it!.
Fans loved the Killing Joke comic for its twisted Batman-Joker storyline and criticized it for glossing over Barbara Gordon's victimization and torture. Now, Warner Bros. is fighting fire with gasoline by adding even more Batgirl, except now, she also gets roofied, flirts with a criminal who's giving her attention, has sex with her boss, complains about men, and gets talked down to by a grown man in a bat suit --
Batman: He doesn't know you. He's objectifying you.
Holy batsplaining, Batman!
Batgirl: I thought we were partners.
Batman: We are, but we're not equals, not even close.
-- prompting this strong female character to just give up and quit, and only then get victimized in the exact same way as the original source material. So, problem solved by creating many, many, many more problems.
So if you've always wanted a version of the classic Batman cartoon where Batgirl is paralyzed and humiliated, two of your favorite characters have random gratuitous sex, and an iconic graphic novel is ruined with a boring first half that adds nothing to the story, then we've got the direct-to-video movie for you. Also, you desperately need to see a therapist. (shows Harleen Quinzel from Suicide Squad) Awww, not her. That's a whole other set of issues.
Starring Badman and Cradle Robbin' (Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman), Bratgirl (Tara Strong as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl), '90s Gay Best Friend (J. P. Karliak as Reese), The Red Triangle Gang (Carnies), Kilgrave (Mark Hamill as Joker), and Six Flags Gotham (carnival).
Batgirl: Sex and the Gotham City (Followed by The Killing Joke)
James Gordon (to Batman): He showed me pictures of my daughter. Have you seen her?
Oooh, that's gonna be an awkward talk.
- Honest Trailers have been produced for virtually every other Batman movie, including Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman (1989), Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Suicide Squad, Batman: The Animated Series, Batman v Superman and Justice League. See list of Honest Trailers for more.
- An Honest Trailer Commentary for this episode was recorded and was available on the Screen Junkies Plus until the website/app was discontinued. Screen Junkies don't currently have any way of releasing the video.
Honest Trailers - Batman: The Killing Joke has an 96.8% approval rating from YouTube viewers. Many reviews commented on the harsh tone of this Honest Trailers. EW noted that Screen Junkies "aren’t kidding about their dislike" of the film. Uproxx called the Honest Trailer "brutal" and wrote "it may not be the most scathing trailer they’ve ever put out, but let’s just say the Honest Trailers team reflects the rather low opinion the movie was greeted with when it arrived on DVD and had a limited theatrical run. And while the Screen Junkies heroes are their usual funny selves, underneath there is a fairly good point: This is, in the end, the past, and DC needs to embrace its future." Tech Times wrote that "the folks at Screen Junkies have crafted an Honest Trailer for Batman: The Killing Joke, and it perfectly captures all of what just went horribly, horribly wrong in the adaptation. The video compares "fixing" Barbara Gordon's storyline by having her shack up with Batman on a rooftop with 'fighting a fire with gasoline.' The movie is also described as trying far too hard to be edgy and justify its R-rating, with gratuitous sex and language thrown in."
Screen Rant described the Honest Trailer as "a hilariously sardonic review that pulls no punches and appeals to fans from a fan's standpoint." Screen Rant also observed that according to Screen Junkies "the movie takes the graphic novel's worst elements - like its representation of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl - and amplifies them, while downplaying its strengths.... it's not the offensive bits of source material that make this movie so bad, it's the filmmakers' impulse to expand on them. Screen Junkies wryly puts these frustrations into words in their Honest Trailer dedicated to the film."
The Mary Sue remarked "What’s interesting about this Honest Trailer is that it’s not very funny; instead, it’s a surprisingly serious critique of the film’s failings. The lack of one-liners and jokes isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it sounds like The Killing Joke animated adaptation is so dismal that it would be hard to make light of the narrative choices made therein." In the same article, The Mary Sue also commented on the perspective Screen Junkies took on the film, noting:
The Honest Trailer comes from the angle of already having enjoyed the original Killing Joke comic and finding it to be a good portrayal of the Joker (opinions vary on that point, especially around these parts). Still, even the writer for this Honest Trailer concedes that the animated adaptation just doesn’t cut the mustard. So, basically, even a self-proclaimed fan of the original Killing Joke still didn’t like this adaptation and found it to be disappointing and gross.... Still, this trailer makes for an interesting watch, even if only because it unwittingly provides an example of how even a Killing Joke fan might take issue with the decisions made by the adaptation. (Maddy Myers, August 31, 2016, The Mary Sue)
Production credits Edit
Voiceover Narration by Jon Bailey
Title design by Robert Holtby
Edited by Bruce Guido
- Batman: The Killing Joke: Honest Trailers takes on the animated DC movie - EW article
- Batman: The Killing Joke Gets An Honest Trailer - Screen Rant article
- Honest Trailers Provides The Killing Joke Animated Movie With a Well-Deserved Takedown - The Mary Sue article
- ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ Gets A Brutal Honest Trailer - Uproxx article
- ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ Honest Trailer: The Joke Is On Us - Slash Film article
- HONEST TRAILERS HAS A FEW PROBLEMS WITH BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE - Nerdist article
- 'Batman: The Killing Joke' Gets an Honest Trailer — and It's Not Pretty - The Hollywood Reporter article
- ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ Honest Trailer Claims The ‘Joke Is On Us’ With This Wannabe Edgy Misfire - Indie Wire article
- Honest Trailers Presents ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ - Geeks of Doom article
- Batman: The Killing Joke Gets the Honest Trailer Treatment - CBR.com article
- Honest Trailer For 'Batman: The Killing Joke' Skewers The Film's Batgirl Storyline - Tech Times article