Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke is known for many things; a plausible and respected origin story for The Joker, realistic artwork (pushed into the realms of awe inspiring with Bolland’s recolouring,) a classic battle between Batman and the Clown Prince of Crime, and an ambiguous ending that leaves audiences reeling for more. There is one thing however, that stands out from everything else: The stark violence almost stings the retinas of even the most desensitized reader and there was always a question as to whether or not the new animated adaptation could hold up to the novel’s lead. Particularly with it being animated, the violence could have been toned down. Well have no fear, there is good news for fans that paid for blood!
That’s right, The Killing Joke has been given an R rating and this can only make fans even more optimistic for the release than they already were. What was clear from the huge success of Deadpool is that when it is appropriate and organic to the characters and situation, an R rating gives real freedom to a production team.
On the subject of Deadpool and changing ratings there is something that needs to be addressed. The decision to rate The Killing Joke an R is not a decision to ride on the very successful red and black coat tails of the Merc with the Mouth. (A rumor that circulated after David Ayer’s Suicide Squad went into reshoots and Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice was tipped for an R-rated Blu Ray release.) This is a decision made on the bloody merits of The Killing Joke and its unquestionably graphic nature.
Let’s be honest, where the Joker appears, chaos is never far behind, particularly with Mark Hamill behind the clown paint! Audiences will be treatedto a menagerie of mangled faces, broken backs and more bullets than Deadshot would know what to do with. One thing audiences can revel in is the fact that there will be nothing held back as Bruce Timm and the production team try to stay as true to the story as possible. I mean, who would want a Gotham with a watered down Joker?
The movie will premiere this summer at San Diego Comic-Con.