Warner Bros. new animated take on the controversial Killing Joke makes the problematic Batgirl story arc even more problematic.
This summer at San Diego Comic Con Warner Bros. unveiled the trailer for their newest and most controversial animated film yet, an R-rated adaptation of The Killing Joke. The fine folks at Screen Junkies decided to make one of their patented ‘Honest Trailers’ for the movie, and it is safe to say they are not fans.
The Killing Joke is widely considered to be one of the greatest Joker stories ever told. But as time as passed it has also become infamous as one of the worst Batgirl stories ever told. The story sees the Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) shot in the spine, paralyzed and sexually abused at the hands of the Joker, then discarded — solely to provide motivation for the male protagonists, Batman and Commissioner Gordon.
Writer Alan Moore remembered asking whether it would be OK to dispatch Batgirl in such a cavalier fashion. “I spoke to Len Wein, who was our editor on the project … [He] said, ‘Yeah, okay, cripple the bitch.’ It was probably one of the areas where they should’ve reined me in, but they didn’t.”
The movie adaptation tried to blunt some of the criticism aimed at the graphic novel by adding more Batgirl content to the beginning of the story, but the minds at Screen Junkies were having none of it. From their ‘Honest Trailer’ of the film:
“Warner Bros. is fighting fire with gasoline, by adding even more Batgirl, except now she also gets roofied, flirts with a criminal who is giving her attention, has sex with her boss, complains about men and gets talked down to by a grown man in a batsuit … 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.”