As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.
NZ Rating: R13
Being a DC fan this is a movie I'd heard mentioned often but never actually watched until recently. And oh boy was it a ride.
The movie tells the backstory of the infamous villain known as The Joker, and tells of his experiences of love and loss and pain before he became the insane clown we know him as. Tragedies unfold as the story slots into place, bringing forth familiar characters into new light.
Some parts of this are intense. I cannot stress it enough that this is NOT A movie for kids. It's R13 rating is deserved and personally I possibly would have rated it at R15 myself. There are scenes that can be considered gruesome and bloody, which is expected with a character such as Joker, but even with the film being an animation it is still quite intense.
I think this movie is definitely an import part of the batman franchise. Whether your preference is the comics, movies, or animated series, it presents some key instances that shaped the characters into the ones we know today. This isn't a movie about batman. While yes, batman is relevant and in the movie, it's primary focus is around the chaos that is Joker's fall into insanity. There are lighthearted moments but the overall vibe is rather serious and intense.
All that said I would still recommend watching this movie as I thoroughly enjoyed it myself. Again though, it is definitely not a children's movie and the psychological aspects of it would be likely to give a child nightmares. But if you, like myself, are interested in backstory arcs and all the new details of characters, and seeing how events you've heard about went down; then I would highly recommend it to you. If you're not already a DC fan, I would still recommend that you watch it, but I would suggest familiarising yourself with the character that is The Joker beforehand for the story to have it's full effect.
I heard about this movie from a friend who works at a local cinema. He was telling me about explicit gore, rape scenes, disturbing psychological themes, and some pretty graphic violence. I have to say, I was intrigued as to how such a movie could be made and not slapped with an R-18 rating... it sounded like something I wouldn't let a 13yr old within 10kms of! So... I had to see it for myself.
I received the Blu-Ray for review, so I had to pop next door to the neighbour's to watch it on their gaming console, so of course I was able to get their perspectives too. As we are both parents of teenagers, I thought it would be important to get an extra point of view from someone with a different cultural background to help remove any innate bias I had - I'm pretty OK with a high level of unpleasantness in my movies because I don't connect to the violence at all.
So, we plowed through the movie - it's only an hour and quarter long - and by the end of it I was struggling to see what all the fuss had been about. The "rape scene" is never shown, and apart from a very subtle hinting at it near the climax - no pun intended - of the movie, there's nothing to actually indicate "rape" in any overt sense. The "gore" is cartoon blood spray so it's about as realistic as... well... splashing red ink on a piece of paper. As for the violence... well heck, there's worse than this on YouTube, and without some seriously severe monitoring, our kids have free access to that daily!
OK, so putting the "refuting the rumours" aspect aside, was the movie any good? Yes, I actually quite liked it, and so did my far more conservative co-watchers. They were a little more affected by the violence than I was, but even they agreed the movie was a very well done and insightful view into the mind of The Joker, and to some degree the mind of Commissioner Gordon too. We all really enjoyed the culmination of the movie, and thought it showed a glimmer of sanity in the Joker to decide the way he did when Batman gave him a choice... even though Batman's offer was utterly irrational.
Overall, this is a movie I would be happy to show my teenagers, but having an 'R' rating on it isd also something I strongly agree with - I wouldn't let any pre-teens watch this as they just wouldn't have the mental maturity to a) handle the violence and b) understand the core threads of the plot. You have to have some life-experience to give you the perspective to really understand what's going on, and without that, kids are liable to trivialise the violence as 'entertainment' - and that's how we breed a generation of psychopaths. Be a good parent, and keep this away from the younger ones, please?
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