I loved the comic book. I've read it multiple times. And given that the purpose of the book and consequently, the movie, was

for the Joker to prove that anyone can be driven mad simply because of "one bad day", all he needed was the Commissioner right?

Why would they need to have us, as viewers, bond with Batgirl emotionally for around 25-30 minutes, have her frolic around with Batman and try to prove herself to him, etc.?

Sure, you feel deep sorrow for Barbara when she gets shot and molested by Joker. And this obviously is what affects Commissioner Gordon (in part),

But it isn't essential to the crux and the essence of the movie in my opinion (and going by the book, so to speak). Did Sam Liu or Brian Bolland offer any explanation to this end?

  • 1
    Recognizer's answer is right, but as a comment, it's not so much that they couldn't, but that they didn't feel the length of TKJ was long enough to sell alone. I agree, but to sell it as 1 long movie with something unrelated was wrong. A much better solution would have been to market it as a double feature sorts, but even that wouldn't be the perfect sell because they'd want to focus on TKJ and making it a double feature would put focus on whatever else you say you're putting on there with it. I'd have gone with a brief telling of "Death in the Family" which would have added to it overall. – Durakken Jul 31 '16 at 18:49

This was actually discussed not by Liu or Bolland, but by Mark Hamill and Bruce Timm in an interview with Empire.

According to Hamill, he wanted them to adapt the graphic novel strictly as written, but he was told there simply wasn't enough material for a full-length feature:

Mark Hamill (actor, "The Joker"): I can't imagine how people are going to react to this, because I'm a Killing Joke purist. When they first talked about it, I said, "The only way we can do this is as a book on tape so that we honor every comma, every word, every letter, every syllable of Alan Moore's script. We can add music and special effects to enhance it." They kind of said, "What are you talking about? Nobody is doing this as a book on tape. It's not commercially viable for us to do it that way. See if you can get the rights and record it in your basement or something if that's what you want to do. This story has to be expanded." If we just adapted The Killing Joke as an animated film, it would maybe be fifty-five minutes. They've actually done a really incredible job of supplementing it with Barbara Gordon/Batgirl material.

Timm then explained that they chose to use Batgirl more extensively in the story both to feature a character who didn't get enough attention, and to make the climax of the story more affecting:

Bruce Timm (producer): We thought if we were going to expand this to feature length, we didn't want to just pad out the original story by putting in a bunch of stuff between sequences of the story, because it's literally a whole other half of movie that we could add. So we took that opportunity to basically tell a Batgirl story, which we don't often get a chance to do these days. And it was great, because we could spend more time with her as a character and get to understand what she's all about and how she's similar to Batman in some ways, and really different in others. They come at the crime fighting thing from two completely different places. The good side of that is we get to spend more time with her and learn that she's an interesting character. We get to really like her. The bad side of that is that we get to like her so much that when The Killing Joke part of the story happens, it's, like, "Oh, no!", because we really like her. So it's a double-edged sword.

  • 1
    Ah. So there Was a creative explanation. Pity they chose to tell the Batgirl tale in This iconic story. It mars the experience as a whole. – lightsong Jul 31 '16 at 18:32
  • 2
    @abhiii5459 I haven't watched the movie, and I probably won't. I actually found out about this interview from an article criticizing the new Batgirl story in the movie. Giving Batgirl her own story was surely well intentioned, but it seems like a lot of people think Bruce and Barbara are both out of character in the new scenes, and that Barbara is treated in a sexist manner. – recognizer Jul 31 '16 at 18:36
  • 2
    @abhiii5459 mine to...along with the horendous editing of the script that they did do adding the grotesque mischaracterizations which is derived from a misguided understanding from pop-psych nonsense about the relationship between joker and Batman. I literally popped open the comic and read it side by side while watching and I was disgusted with the edits... The Babs additions is likely the result of this idea of hooking Babs up with everyone other than Dick and telling a story that doesn't need to in why Batgirl hung up the cowl. It makes no sense when she becomes Oracle that she would. – Durakken Jul 31 '16 at 18:36
  • @recognizer It's not so much sexist as it is just wrong and out of character for her. The same way that the other story that tries to given an explanation for why Babs hands up the cowl (Batgirl Special #1 The only work of fiction that I react to with denying its existence to some level ^.^). Batman treats Stephanie Brown like he did Barbara for a different reason though. And the Bruce/Babs relationship is largely a product of, it seems, Timm which simply doesn't really have a place in the characters as it goes counter their relationship in every form ever written other than Timm's stuff. – Durakken Jul 31 '16 at 18:41
  • @Durakken Well, you even described it as "the idea of hooking Babs up with everyone other than Dick"! If it seems like the creators are thinking "How can we get her in bed with someone?", then that's probably what people are seeing as sexist. – recognizer Jul 31 '16 at 19:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.