‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ Team Defends the Batgirl/Batman Romance

By July 23, 2016

For several months now, the anticipation surrounding DC animation’s upcoming adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke has been palpable, following several promising teaser trailers and a R-rating that seemed to guarantee a faithfulness to the brutal source material. However, earlier this week, a scene from the film leaked online that seemed to plant some serious doubt in some fans’ minds about the film, and specifically – it’s depiction of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.

The scene shows a moment from the film when Batgirl and Batman, well, they basically have sex, which surprised a number of fans considering the usual paternal relationship that Bruce is shown to have with Barbara in the comics and other Batman stories.

Taking into account the reputation that Killing Joke already has for its treatment of Barbara Gordon, the notion of turning her into nothing more than a romantic interest for Batman before she gets (Spoiler alert) shot by the Joker.

During a post-screening Q&A with the film’s creative team though, writer Brian Azzarello and executive producer Bruce Timm defended the choice behind the relationship, with Azzarello saying that she isn’t pining for Batman in the film, she’s “pining for the violence.”

Timm admitted that their relationship in the film though is “complicated” before adding:

“I actually like that in that opening story both Batman and Batgirl make a series of mistakes and then it kind of escalates, because Batman kind of overreacts and then she overreacts to her overreaction. That’s a very human thing.

There’s clearly an unstated attraction between the two of the characters from the very beginning and I think it’s there in the comics. If you go back and look at the Adam West show, its’ there in the Adam West show. It’s subtle, but to me it’s always been there.”

Right now, the reviews for Killing Joke seem to be mixed, with a number of critics and fans praising this as possibly being Mark Hamill’s best performance as The Joker, but it seems like all of the movie’s biggest problems come from the prologue with Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, which originally may have been intended to flesh out her character, but by the sounds of this, could have just damaged the story’s use of her even more.

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Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable