- NOTE: This page is mainly for the Joker from "The Killing Joke" animated film, while the Joker from original comic event of "The Killing Joke" belongs to the mainstream version.
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|“||Yes, memory is so treacherous. One moment you're lost in a carnival of delight, childhood aromas, the flashing neon of puberty, all that sentimental candyfloss. The next, it takes you somewhere you don't want to be. Somewhere dark and cold, filled with the damp, ambiguous shapes things of you'd rather forget. Memories can be vile, repulsive little brutes. Like children, no?||„|
|~ The Joker, taunting Commissioner Gordon|
The Joker is the main antagonist of the 2016 animated adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke. He is a psychotic, clown-like criminal and the archenemy of Batman, who is bent on proving that anybody can be driven insane simply from one bad day.
He was voiced by Mark Hamill, who also voiced the Joker's DCAU incarnation, Chucky in the 2019 Child's Play film, Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Hobgoblin in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Trickster in Arrowverse, Darth Bane in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Arnim Zola in Ultimate Spider-Man.
Supposedly, he had initially been a nameless chemical engineer for Ace Chemicals that had been married and an expecting father before he quit his stable job, both due to his being creeped out by the location, and to do a dream job of being a comedian due to wanting to make people laugh and feel good.
However, he ended up struggling regarding his job, and was forced to contend with a landlady who hated him. Upon returning from his job where he was uncertain that he did a good job (the people in charge of the club indicated that they may call him back, but he was certain he blew a punchline for one of his jokes). He eventually lashed out at Jeannie, his wife, when the latter gave an "oh" response, before profusely apologizing for his behavior. He then vowed to make sure they find a nice neighborhood for them rather than a cheap apartment. Despite several attempts, he failed.
Eventually, he became desperate enough to turn to two crooks for help regarding aiding them in a heist toward a card shop next to Ace Chemicals. The men then offered a means to conceal his identity: The infamous Red Hood, which the man recognized from papers as being the same guy who raided an ice company the month before. Despite his hesitance in doing it, he ultimately decided to do so, in the hopes of getting his wife and himself a better future.
On the day of the heist that weekend, he was prepared to go through with it, even making sure to claim he was going out to a gala to ease Jeannie's concern. Unfortunately, just before he could go through with it, the police arrived at the bar he was at, and proceeded to escort him outside. He then learned from the police that Jeannie had died from a baby bottle heater accident that electrocuted her, his child dying with her. He then tried to call it off, realizing there's no longer a point to go through with the operation. Despite this, the crooks strong-armed him into committing the heist by heavily implying that they'll kill him if he doesn't cooperate, thus leaving himself with little to no options of backing out.
The man eventually arrived with the goons at the Ace Chemicals premises. The man then briefly reminisced about his walking to work. When noted that he had a funny-shaped head, in ominous foreshadowing of his future, he mentioned that he may become a clown over a comedian next time.
The already bad events of that night got even worse when he discovered that the Ace Chemicals had managed to include security after his departure (he had earlier told them that there was no security). With the men strong-arming him eventually killed by the security personnel, he then tried to flee. He then ended up cornered by Batman just as the former pondered out loud what he did to deserve it.
The man then tried to bargain for his life, but then tripped and fell over the railing, falling into one of the drainage vats below. After his trip through the drainage vat, he removed his red hood, wondering why he's feeling itchy only to discover his face, and most likely his entire body, had been discolored due to the chemicals he was exposed to in the drainage vat, his hair being turned green, his face becoming chalk-white, and his lips becoming red, giving him the appearance of a clown.
This, as well as the traumatic events of the overall night and what happened before, proceed to drive the man completely insane, causing him to laugh hysterically in anguish at the revelation, thus giving birth to the Joker. Whether this was actually true or not is unknown, as Joker later admitted that even he isn't sure exactly what transpired on his day since his memories tended to change every time.
He then spent time fighting Batman various times, and being locked up in Arkham Asylum, with his frequent escape attempts having him see prostitutes. Sometime later, he ended up trapping people and gassing them with Joker venom.
3 years later, his earlier action attracted the investigation of Batman after they uncovered the gruesome crime. Batman, who was planning on seeing the Joker anyways due to being troubled by their bleak future of ending their feud by killing one or the other and hoping to avert such a future, then proceeded to visit Arkham Asylum. Unfortunately, by the time they had arrived, Joker had not only escaped from the Asylum, but even went as far as to leave behind a body double in his cell, which Batman realized when talking with "him" due to his white "skin" coming off.
He then went over to an abandoned amusement park, and after conning the carny into giving him control, poisoned him with Joker venom after gaining control of the park. He then arrived at Commissioner Gordon's place, proceeding to shoot Barbara Gordon in the lower abdomen in a way to ensure paralysis, and made sure to do it right in front of her father. Gordon angrily attempts to stab Joker with a pair of scissors for this, but the Joker's thugs stop him by beating him up. Telling his goons to take Gordon away, Joker proceeded to take Barbara's clothes off and take pictures of her in various states of undress, although assuring to her that he's only doing this specifically to prove a point to her father.
Afterwards, he then had his goons strip Gordon naked and, after giving a philosophical speech about how Gordon is to be an experiment in regards to how even the most common man can be driven insane, then proceeds to psychologically torture the commissioner with a song about going insane and showing a slideshow of Barbara Gordon in various states of undress and in pain. Afterwards, he then caged him up and showed him off as an exhibit just as Batman arrived.
He then briefly fought Batman before fleeing, dousing him with acid. Confident in his victory, Joker then proceeded to tell Batman that even if he arrests Joker, he's already too late as Gordon's now insane (or so he believes), and proceeded to deduce that Batman had a bad day just like he did.
He then ambushed him and gave him a beatdown in the upside down room of the funhouse, and proceeded to rant about how monstrous and pointless the world and morality is before demanding to know why Batman not only doesn't see the funny side, but isn't even laughing.
Batman then turned the tables on his nemesis literally by flipping him right on the upside down table, before telling him that it is because he had heard the joke before and it wasn't funny the first time. Batman then told Joker that Gordon had told Batman to bring him in by the book, making it clear that despite Joker's actions, he actually failed to drive Gordon insane, with Batman then theorizing that maybe not everyone cracked and maybe Joker is alone in his madness. Joker widened his eyes briefly at this possibility, but then denied it before trying to shoot Batman, who tackled him out of the funhouse.
Outside of the funhouse, Joker retrieved his gun, but it ended up being a flag gun. Frustrated by the failures and possibly affected by the revelation that maybe he is alone in his insanity, Joker concedes defeat and tells Batman to finish him off. However, Batman refused to do so, saying that if what Joker said about having a bad day is what drove him to insanity was indeed true, he can help him recover from his insanity.
Batman offers to help him get rehabilitated, but although Joker seriously considered the possibility for redemption, he sadly declined, saying that it is far too late for him because of his actions, showing regret over what he had done. Joker then chuckled due to it resembling a joke he heard about inmates in an asylum, and explains the joke to Batman. The joke ended up being so funny that even Batman bursts into laughter with Joker, who is delighted that he actually made Batman laugh. Joker's laugh then suddenly stops as Batman continues to laugh. It can be assumed that Joker was arrested afterwards. However, as with the comic this movie is based on, it's left unclear what happened to the Clown Prince of Crime.
|“||All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once. Am I right? I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up like a flying rat? It doesn't hide the fact, it screams it. You had a bad day, and it drove you as crazy as everybody else... only you won't admit it! You have to keep pretending that life makes sense, that there's some point to all the struggling! God, you make me want to puke! I mean, what is it with you? What made you what you are? Girlfriend killed by the mob, maybe? Brother carved up by some mugger? Something like that, I bet. Something like that, I know! Because something like that...happened to me, you know. I'm not exactly sure what it was. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another. If I'm going to have a past...I prefer it to be multiple choice. Ha Ha Ha! But my point is...I went crazy! When I saw what a black, awful joke the world was, I went crazy as a coot! And I'm smart enough to admit it! So why can't you!? You're not unintelligent, you must see that by clinging to reality you're denying the reality of the situation! I mean, do you ever think about how many times we've come close to World War III over a flock of geese on a computer screen!? Do you even know what triggered the last world war? An argument with Germany over how many telegraph poles they owed their war debt creditors. Telegraph poles! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Silly Goose, it's all a joke! Everything anybody's ever valued or struggled for - it's all just a monstrous, demented gag. So why can't you see the funny side!? WHY AREN'T YOU LAUGHING!!??||„|
|~ The Joker ranting about his awful relationship with Batman while senselessly beating him.|
|“||Oh, God damn it. Well, what are you waiting for? Kick the hell out of me and get your standing ovation. Well, come on!||„|
|~ The Joker after Batman defeats him|
|“||I’m sorry, but no... no... it’s far too late for that.||„|
|~ The Joker reluctantly refusing to accept Batman’s offer for redemption, also showing regret over his actions.|
|“||It's funny - this whole situation reminds me of a joke. See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum...and one night, one night they decide they don't like living in an asylum any more. They decide they're going to escape! So, like, they get up onto the roof, and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in the moon light...stretching away to freedom. Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend didn't dare make the leap. Y'see… Y'see, he's afraid of falling. So then, the first guy has an idea...He says "Hey! I have my flashlight with me! I'll shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk along the beam and join me!" B-but the second guy just shakes his head. He suh-says...He says "Wh-what do you think I am? Crazy? You'd turn it off when I was half way across!"||„|
|~ Joker's most famous joke to Batman.|
- This is one of the few Joker incarnations to be portrayed as a truly sympathetic character, with another being Martha Wayne from the Flashpoint timeline, John Doe from Batman: The Telltale Series, and Arthur Fleck from the eponymous 2019 movie. This is because unlike most other versions, this one has a fleshed-out backstory.
- Likewise, this is also one of the few versions of the Joker that actually regrets his actions, as shown when that he actually considered Batman's offer of help before he looked down sadly while telling Batman it is too late for him to redeem himself due to his actions and even outright apologizes as he declines.
- Three common misconceptions from the novel are that Batman killed Joker, Joker raped Barbara and Joker had Gordon sexually tortured by his goons. Alan Moore has gone out of his way to deny all of them happening especially the first two. That said that only applies to the novel with the film still leaving those implications thus heavily implied canon for the film version.
- The Joker's origin featured in this film was originated from The Killing Joke comic and it is the most popular theory of the comic Joker's past. This so-called origin story is even regarded as the true origin of the Joker among many fans, since the Joker's past is always shrouded in mystery and this story has been told by Joker himself and is shown in flashbacks, even though it might be highly unreliable.
- On a related note, this also makes this version of the Joker arguably one of the few Joker incarnations to have a definitive backstory beyond his being disfigured by falling into a chemical vat and encountering Batman during this time, with others including the version from the DC Animated Universe, the version from the 1989 film, Martha Wayne during the Flashpoint arc, the version from Arkhamverse, Jerome Valeska, Jeremiah Valeska, and arguably the version from Batman: Under the Red Hood.
- However, it is possible that this tragic past of Joker was real, as himself said he won't try to remember his past, and prefer a "multiple" choice; this showing that Joker was suffering PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
- The Joker's voice actor, Mark Hamill had earlier expressed interest in doing an adaptation of The Killing Joke, and even offering to do it for free. DC Animation remembered this after the success of The Force Awakens. In fact, while The Killing Joke film ultimately received mixed to negative reviews, Hamill's vocal performance as the Joker was well received by film critics and comic book fans.
- It is said that The Killing Joke would be the final Batman-related media for Mark Hamill to voice the Joker. He once stated that he would not return for the role after his portrayal in Batman: Arkham City before the announcement of The Killing Joke movie and his unexpected return in Batman: Arkham Knight. However, Hamill later changed his mind, because he will return to voice the character in Justice League Action and has teased along with Kevin Conroy to make animated adaptations of Batman: Hush and Batman: A Death in the Family.
- During most of the flashback portions, the man who would become the Joker sounded relatively normal sounding, yet after his trip through the drainage duct, he possessed the Joker's trademark high-pitched voice in the brief moment of sanity he had before seeing his disfigurement. This implied that his exposure to the chemicals not only altered his physical appearance, but also his vocal cords.
- Many fans, and even comic book writers like Grant Morrison, believe that Batman kills Joker at the end of the comic book and the film due to the Joker's laugh eventually being silenced by Batman as well as Batman putting his hands very close to Joker's neck. Thus, this act would reference the story's title, as the Joker tells the titular joke and Batman performs the titular kill, making this "the Killing Joke".
- However, Alan Moore has stated that he didn’t intend hint that Batman killed Joker, Richard Starkings said Brain Bolland told him they were just laughing together and Batman leaned on Joker for support and even the original script for the comic doesn't doesn’t indicate or even suggest in any way that Batman killed the Joker (in fact the script echoes exactly what Bolland told Starkings). Considering the comic is also canon to the main DC universe, the Joker clearly didn't die. Nevertheless, it's unknown if the film wanted to intend that or not.
- In the original comic, the Joker had deliberately jumped into the vat instead of tripping over his cape and falling in by accident. The latter was most likely done to reference the version from Batman: Under the Red Hood. The creators likely altered it so they could make him even more sympathetic.
- Though never addressed as Joker, his name was shown on a wanted poster.
- It's revealed in Batman: Three Jokers that the story of The Killing Joke is canon, Batman indeed did not kill the Joker at the end and that this incarnation of the Joker (known as the Comedian) is actually the current Joker that Batman has been fighting from New 52 and onwards, having killed the previous Jokers prior to the beginning of DC Rebirth and taken the role as the current Joker. It's also revealed that this incarnation of the Joker is actually the true and original Joker, as evidenced by how it is shown that Batman wasn't fully known by the public when he confronts Joker at Ace Chemicals (since the cops who were at the scene were in shock that he was real), yet he is fully known by the public in Batman #1 (1940). Coincidentally, this was the first time Joker (or at least the Criminal Joker) appears. Granted the "Three Jokers" storyline isn't necessary canon as the writers had stated they'd only have it be part of the main series if well-received and it would otherwise be its own thing.
- Furthermore, it's revealed that Joker's wife and son are actually alive and have been hiding from him, having asked the police officers to make a fake story about their deaths so they could escape from him, implying him to be abusive. However, Joker is shown to daydream about his wife and child, setting up dolls and having fake tea parties while believing they are with him, showing he does genuinely miss his family.