Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Killing Joke Movie

I went to see the movie adaptation of Alan Moore's The Killing Joke last night. I had seen the article on io9 of feminists attacking the film, complete with some of the dumbest comments I've ever seen; this gave me hope.

The biggest offender to the SocJustice crowd is the first 30 minutes, which are new to the film version. Batgirl started fighting crime to attract Batman, according to this. No big deal, she has to have  a reason; they seem to be fixated on the age difference and the "fact" that she's of an age with Dick Grayson.  My response to this is that ages in comics are malleable, and characters have their ages changed almost every major event, and not necessarily with relation to each other. Also, women frequently prefer older men, so what?

What about the relationship with Dick Grayson? They don't get together until well after these events, as she was definitely wheelchair bound at the time. Anyway, it's a Batman story that also happens to be a Joker story, a Jim Gordon story, and a Barbara Gordon story. Honestly, I have more issue with the fact of Batgirl sleeping around; I'd rather question the sex than the romance.  In other words, I have bigger issue with the lack of morals they've shown for years.

Also causing big problems for feminists would be the Batman line: "We're partners, but we are not equals." Oh, so Batman is faster, stronger, smarter, and better trained than she is, with better equipment, and they're supposed to be equal? No., She can't help the equipment part, but she can't keep up with him on anything else, either. Really, that's not a big deal. Nightwing is a touch shy on all of it, and he's currently the best successor. Tim Drake will pass him soon, and Damien Wayne might surpass his father IF he gets a moral compass in line. Point is, NONE of the Bat family is equal to Batman.

There's also the interaction after the one night. Batman wanted her off the case, she wouldn't listen, threw herself on him. He doesn't call, she wants to go back to being partners, etc. She gets really emotional and lashes out at men around her; in short, she acts like a woman. That triggered a few, I'm sure.

I really enjoyed the film. I thought the opening 30 minutes gave a good, emotional setup for the known part of the story. The known part was properly faithful, and had an afterword showing Oracle.  Conroy, Hamill, and Strong give great performances in their old roles and the music is decent. The musical number was just right.

One of the idiotic comments on io9 was "Why can't we have a feminist origin for Oracle?" Because, you stupid git, Bat-family is forged in tragedy, not entitlement. Heroes come out of that fire. Even Jason Todd has had his with the :Lazarus Pit; until then, he was despicable. Dick, Tim, Cassandra, Barbara, Stephanie, Helena(yes, that's murky but I'll count her as Bat-fam) all suffered and it forged their motivation for fighting.

If you found the original to be worth reading, you should consider this to be worth watching. Yes, it's a dark story. Light shines through, in Jim Gordon, Barbara Gordon, and the Bat. My takeaway was that it is our response to darkness that matters.  Now as to Alan Moore's writing, well, Razorfist has a strong opinion, and I'm slowly seeing it; that doesn't change what I think of this story. 

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.


  1. Interesting choice, since having batgirl sleeping with batman kinda messes up the innocence and purity despoiled angle Moore was working. Before they retconned it into canon, I kinda understood from interviews I'd read that Babs in KJ was never supposed to have been batgirl; she was a kinda chubby, cookie eating, cocoa sipping homebody who could represent a fragile innocence and normality apart from the drama of Gordon, Batman and Joker.

  2. Babs was Batgirl before Killing Joke, 1967 in fact. That's a part of what Moore was doing. But to Gordon, she was the innocent and normal part of his life. I dislike the conflation of romance and sex that reigns these days, but the secular crowd would not understand a separation of the two, nor does it have much regard for innocence outside of small children.

    Also, she's well trained enough that if Batman were to resist her(she did fight him and then initiate the act), he'd likely have to hurt her. No cries of domestic abuse from MRA groups, though.

  3. Oh, what I'd meant was that Moore was under the impression (or at least he claimed in at least one or two interviews I read) that KJ was being written outside of canon, and as he wrote her, Babs was not the same Babs as the one who'd been Batgirl (though she'd apparently not been in the comics for awhile, which is why the chief at DC gave him the go-ahead). He hadn't intended the rape or crippling of Babs to be worked into the canon, but Kim Yale was interested in the idea of bringing Babs back as a crippled hero and was allowed to bring her and the Killing Joke into the mainline DC continuity.