Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke is practically a hallowed text in the Batman universe. His one-off laid the groundwork for the Joker being taken seriously as one of the most complex villains in the history of comics. Since then, we’ve seen the character become darker and more lethal; a man whose insanity seems to be deeply rooted in a philosophy of nihilism. The Joker has become a larger than life figure in general pop culture, appearing on television, video games, and movies. So, when DC’s animation wing started to crank out consistently high quality films that retained many of the darker elements of the comic books, it seemed to be just a matter of time before they would arrive at The Killing Joke. And when it was announced that the film would feature the voice talents of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill (the definitive animated Batman and Joker, respectively), and that the film would be rated R, anticipation grew and grew. But, sadly, through an unfortunate and unlikely mix of loyalty to and deviation from its source material, Batman: The Killing Joke is a pale imitation of Alan Moore’s masterful comic, and deeply unsatisfying.