Ever since Deadpool became a sensation, the idea of another R-rated superhero movie has started doing the rounds. Despite reducing its audience pool by being R-rated, Deadpool has become the highest grossing X-Men movie worldwide, which just goes to show that if your content is spectacular, it will sell. Many fans would love the next standalone Wolverine movie to fall in this category. Wolverine could be unleashed with such ferocity if the studio would agree to a R-rated version. But it’s a gamble I doubt would be taken when the production budget is kept so high. And would Disney/Marvel ever consider entering into a bloody expletive-strewn superhero world, that is a big question mark. These things may happen though over a period of time, as the success of Deadpool is likely to get the studios to attempt something different within the superhero genre. In the meantime, there is one superhero movie releasing later in 2016 which is fine with a R-rated version. And it’s not one you could have guessed easily. It’s an animated film!
Warner Bros. Animation is currently working on the next Batman movie in its direct-to-video animated film series, and this one has been R-rated. The movie titled Batman: The Killing Joke is based on Alan Moore’s famous graphic novel of 1988 that went by the same name. If you’re a regular Batman comic reader, then this cover photo will bring back some memories. some haunting, chilling memories!
Alan Moore’s piece was supposed to be a one-off story, exploring the origins of the most famous villain of the DC superhero universe, Joker. It’s a dark piece of work, infamous for the brutality that Joker unleashed on Jim Gordon’s daughter, Barbara, which led to criticism from some sections of the readers. But overall, The Killing Joke became a big part of the Batman saga, and future comics even continued some of its story arcs. Tim Burton, the creator of the initial Batman movies starring Michael Keaton, has said to have been influenced by Moore’s work, and Christopher Nolan has also acknowledged Moore’s portrayal of Joker to have played a big part in his presentation of Joker in The Dark Knight. So you see, The Killing Joke is no joke in the Batman world, and its film adaptation is long overdue.
Warner Bros. Animation has released about 25 direct-to-video film projects so far in what it calls the “DC Universe Animated Original Movies” which are supposed to target a more mature audience. The movies have been fairly well-received, but none of them have been R-rated. Not until now. With Batman: The Killing Joke, Warner Bros. Animation is willing to take its series in a new direction, with a grittier and tougher look that is generally not associated with animated films. It will also allow director Sam Liu to keep his movie truer to the source material in terms of its feel and the magnitude of the horrors that the Joker unleashes.
Batman: The Killing Joke will also bring back our favourite Batman/Joker voice duo, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. The latter in fact had asked the fans to petition for a movie adaptation of Moore’s book back in 2011 where he wanted to voice Joker once again. His wish has come true now, and Hamill will definitely be pumped up about it. Tara Strong will be the voice of Barbara Gordon and Ray Wise will voice James Gordon. Batman: The Killing Joke will be released in July 2016. Even though this movie won’t have a theatrical release and thus its impact on the growing superhero cinematic universe will be limited, it might just be a sign of things to come in the future… a truly bloody battle between Batman and Joker on a bigger screen may not be that far away.