Like most Batman fans, I absolutely adore The Killing Joke. Ya know what else I adore? Batman: The Animated Series. So when I heard that Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, and Tara Strong were all returning for a Killing Joke adaptation, I went nuts with anticipation.
So the big day came. I had my tickets and was all set to go to the theater and witness the story on the big screen. However, before I went to see Batman: The Killing Joke the other night, I came across something shocking on the internet. Or, at least, it was shocking to me. Just watch…`
I want you to know that, as a fan, I’m not okay with this. Now, let me be clear. This is one of only two issues I had with the entire movie. I’m not pissed that there is a sex scene or that the beginning of the film focuses too much on Batgirl. Despite all of this, I actually enjoyed the film immensely and loved it. You can read Zachariah Swope’s review of the film here. I don’t even have a problem with Barbara kissing Batman in a moment of weakness. I mean, Barbara constantly hit on Bruce Wayne in the animated series so this isn’t an issue.
No, my problem (and I’m not the only one who thinks so) is that Batman lets it happen. He didn’t stop her and he didn’t push her away. Now, you may not agree, but this is how I’m viewing all of this. I have always seen Batman’s sidekicks as his adopted children. There’s a father-daughter mentorship between these two. So when I see something like this, it comes across as Batgirl nailing her father. It just doesn’t sit well with me. On top of this, it just makes Bruce come off as an asshole. Not only is he having sex with a young woman he’s watched grow up for years, he’s sleeping with the daughter of Commissioner Gordon; one of his closest allies. It just comes across as so forced and out of character for him. He might as well be Batgirl’s daddy… okay, that came out wrong.
Come to find out, amongst all the controversy surrounding this, that this happened in the comics too. Evidently, she slept with Bruce in the comics, which led to a big falling out between Bruce and Dick Grayson. God, talk about a home-wrecker. But, regardless, I’m not the only one having issues with this. Apparently, the fans attending the screening at San Diego Comic-Con weren’t too pleased either. Many accused the screenwriter, Brian Azzarello, of portraying Batgirl as someone who uses sex as a weapon. I don’t agree with that complaint as that is not what’s happening here at all, but I understand their concerns. Batman: The Killing Joke‘s Executive Producer, Bruce Timm, went on to explain the reasoning for this scene;
“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.”
Now, I like Bruce Timm. I am a fan of his work. That being said, I do not agree with this statement. He’s right about the attraction of the Adam West show. However, even the fact that it happened in recent comics is a bit of a slap in the face. If it was any other female Batman character I wouldn’t care. But given the father-daughter relationship these two have had, it feels forced, lazy and downright uncomfortable. I don’t mind them pushing a sex scene in their first R-Rated DC Animated picture but, my god, not these two. Anything but this. I still don’t understand the mindset behind this scene and, in many respects, I don’t want to.
How do you feel about this scene? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Do you not care at all who Batman has sex with? Let us know in the comments below, be sure to check out Batman: The Killing Joke and stay tuned for more news and read our review for the Batman: The Killing Joke Here!