Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

Go To

"You know, kids, a lot has changed while your old Uncle Joker's been away. New Gotham, new rules, even a new Batman. But now I'm tanned, I'm rested, and I'm ready to give this old town a wedgie again!"
The Joker

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is a 2000 feature-length tie-in of Batman Beyond, the DC Animated Universe installment that focuses on Terry McGinnis, the Batman of a future Gotham and his mentor (an aged Bruce Wayne).

Decades after his supposed death, The Joker returns to Gotham while being eager to face his old Arch-Enemy (or at least whoever is "pretending" to be Batman). Puzzling both Terry and Bruce is that The Joker seems not to have aged at all in the time since he supposedly died. As Terry tries to solve this new mystery and protect Bruce from Joker's attacks, he delves into old man Wayne's dark past, unraveling the long-kept secret of what split apart the Bat-Family and how the longstanding fight between Batman and the Clown Prince of Crime finally ended.

The movie had the unfortunate timing of being produced right after the Columbine shooting, so several scenes were changed mid-production to lessen the violence. Warner Bros. held onto the original print, however, and later distributed it as the "uncut" version of the film.note 


Return of the Joker includes the following tropes:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Terry quits being Batman halfway through the movie, because Terry does not know why Bruce keeps him Locked Out of the Loop.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Downplayed, but in spite of his old age Bruce still manages to survive the poison the Joker injected him with long enough for Terry to return to Wayne Manor then find and administer the antidote. Either Bruce has already inoculated himself (Bruce was brewing the anti-toxin before Joker attacked) or he fought it out courtesy of the years of experience in their rivalry.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Matt yells that there's a stranger in his house while pointing at his brother, Terry gives a sarcastic laugh but their mother can't help but smile at the quip. As the boys get into childish bickering, with Terry flicking cereal at Matt, she leaves the room with a half-amused sigh.
  • Advertisement:
  • Adaptational Self-Defense: In the original version, Tim turned the gun Joker gave him to shoot Bruce on the Clown Prince himself before firing. In the edited version, Tim tosses the gun away and tackles the Joker, ultimately getting the Joker dosed with water, entangled in wires, slipping, and grabs a level connected to the wires in the process, electrocuting the Joker.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Tim was kidnapped and then completely mentally destroyed by The Joker.
    • Because of what happened with the Joker, Bruce forbids Terry from wearing the suit and going after him. He admits it's because he didn't want Terry to suffer Tim's fate. This is even worse if you go by the events of "Epilogue". Bruce feared The Joker torturing his biological son.
    • After the events of that night, Harley undergoes a Heel–Face Turn and adopts a civilian life, and having an offscreen Heel Realization about what she did to Tim. Then forty years later, when she's an old woman and unable to fight, "Pudding" recruits her granddaughters to enter a life of crime. Does anyone blame her for smacking them with Anger Born of Worry?
  • Advancing Wall of Doom:
    • The first time Batman learns of Joker's satellite is when he has to outrace a tidal wave while carrying Jordan Pryce.
    • When Joker's satellite starts chasing the Batmobile throughout the city. Whichever direction Terry went, the satellite's crosshairs are right in his heels. And during the climax, the satellite goes out of control, rendering another path of destruction heading straight towards Joker's headquarters, where Batman willingly trapped himself inside with his adversary.
  • All There in the Manual: The Jokerz seen here all have backgrounds, real names, etc., which are only given in supplementary material like official websites.
  • Alliterative Names: Delia and Deidre Dennis (better known as "Dee Dee").
  • Always Identical Twins: Dee Dee (real names Delia & Deidre Dennis).
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In one of the film's most iconic sequences, the Joker successfully invades the Batcave and almost kills Bruce.
  • Animation Bump: Done by TMS, one of the best animation studios in Japan, and the results shine through. In the DVD Commentary, the creators will occasionally just pause to watch the show, Bruce Timm and the other DC Animated Universe regulars being unaccustomed to that kind of quality for most of their projects.
  • Arch-Enemy: You know who. It's also discussed.
    Terry: It's funny. I know about all your other major enemies, but you never mention him. He was the biggest, wasn't he?
    Bruce: It wasn't a popularity contest. He was a psychopath, a monster.
  • Arc Welding: Retroactively. As a result of being in the distant future, events in the chronologically earlier Justice League hint towards certain developments that would culminate in the story of this movie. "Epilogue" eventually came full circle via tying the Cadmus story and explicitly explaining where Joker got the technology to perform a digital Grand Theft Me on Tim.
  • Art Evolution: The flashback sequence features yet another re-design for The Joker that combines the elements of his Batman: The Animated Series design (general appearance and details) and his TNBA one (the color scheme and triangular jawline). This design was re-used for his chronologically earlier appearances in Static Shock and Justice League.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Bonk, in both the original and edited cuts. Never, ever trash talk the Joker.
    • Joker himself too, since he tortured Tim Drake into becoming a mini-joker, and prior to that, he taunted Bruce over the death of his parents, making his death at the hands of Drake completely well-deserved.
  • Ass Kicks You: Dee Dee does this to Dana when they are dancing with Terry to get her out of the way so they can gang up on him.
  • The Atoner: Harley Quinn is implied to be this in her brief appearance near the end. She apparently settled down to start a family after her apparent death at Arkham, and she tried her hardest to keep her granddaughters from going down the same path that she did. The last part didn't exactly work out.
  • Automated Automobiles: In the commentary, Bruce Timm makes a sarcastic comment that the cars being blown up while the Joker chases Terry with the Kill Sat are these.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Joker, of course. It’s more pronounced than his other appearances in DCAU too since he's actually allowed to kill people.
  • Back from the Dead: The Joker via a time-share.
  • Badass Boast: When the final fight begins, the Joker mocks Terry for trying to take him on.
    "You're out of your league, McGinnis. I know every trick the original Batman and Robin knew at their peak."
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: This being The Joker's weapon-of-choice, it's more dangerous than one might think.
  • Batman Cold Open: Lasts for nearly six minutes before the opening credits begin.
  • Batman Gambit: Terry pulls a gambit off that makes Bruce proud. He finds out that Joker has taken over Tim's body via a microchip, and has a ring-sized buzzer strong enough to incapacitate Ace. Terry realizes that Joker is too focused to give him the means to destroy the chip, and must distract him. So he kills the lights, grabs the joy buzzer, and starts taunting Joker about how he's not funny. The clown suffers a Villainous Breakdown and tosses bombs to knock down Terry before strangling him with his bare hands. This was exactly what Terry wanted because the Joker left himself vulnerable and thought he won; he reveals he was wearing the joy buzzer and presses it to Joker's ear, where the microchip is. Cue the Joker dying again, and Terry rousing a semiconscious Tim.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Joker always wanted to make Batman laugh. When the new Batman does laugh, he's laughing at how pathetic the Joker really is.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Zigzagged. Tim Drake is tortured/mutated/brainwashed into becoming a "Joker Junior". This is subverted when he shakes it off, refuses to hurt Batman, and turns on the Joker instead. Then this is subverted when it's implied that, years later, Tim turned evil again and became the new Joker, probably as a result of the original torturing/brainwashing. Then that is subverted when it turns out that Tim has been completely unaware of the recent unfolding schemes; he only turned into the new Joker because the original had planted a microchip in his brain, thus causing his transformations.
  • Berserk Button: Terry exploits Joker's Fatal Flaw by mocking him in a way Bruce has never done so before: he tells the clown that he's boring and the only reason for his rivalry with Batman was to make him laugh. Trash-talking him is the one thing the Joker won't tolerate.
  • Big Bad: The Joker, having seemingly returned from the dead to enact his revenge on Batman.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Despite Matt complaining that Terry is a stranger in their house, a prone Terry clenches his fist when Joker threatens his family.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ace attacks the Joker out of nowhere and removes the electrocution cuffs Joker slapped on Batman. Just as Joker prepares to electrocute Ace fatally with a joy buzzer, Terry returns the favor and tackles the clown.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": The Joker invokes this after one too many taunts from Terry.
  • Black Comedy: The Joker provides it by the bucketful, he wouldn't be the Joker if he didn't.
  • Blood from the Mouth: The Joker, when he gets tackled and punched by Batman after the latter has pushed the former's Berserk Button too far in the original version. Batman has this too afterward when he gets knifed by the Joker.
  • Blown Across the Room:
    • Terry, a couple of times.
    • Joker when he gets spear-gunned in the flashback.
  • Bond One-Liner: "Double-down," after Terry beats Dee Dee.
  • Boring Insult: Terry realizes the Joker's true weakness is being an Attention Whore whose sole motive for his rivalry with the original Batman was to make Bruce laugh. The Monster Clown becomes a real monster when Terry deconstructs him.
    Terry: [Bruce] wouldn't know a good joke if it bit him in the cape. Not that you ever had a good joke...I mean, joy buzzers, squirting flowers—lame! Where's the "A" material? Make a face, drop your pants, something!
  • Bowdlerise: The frenzy surrounding Columbine in 1999 resulted in extensive debates on media influences, which put some pressure on Warner Bros. Despite having a completed film, executives feared backlash on releasing a particularly violent animated movie and had certain scenes reanimated (which is different than normal, as it resulted in new material being written instead of simply cutting material). The original film was released later under a PG-13 rating but even the edited version isn't particularly "kid-friendly", the majority of the differences is minor edits including digitally removing blood, changing bits of dialogue implying death/insanity/sexuality/swear words and trimming some of the more bone-crunching violence (including turning the "bang" flag gun murder of Bonk into a gas gun). The most significant edit comes in the flashback sequence when Tim shoots the Joker with the "bang" flag gun, whereas in the edited version he threw the gun away and attacked the Joker into the lab space, who ended up soaked in water, covered in wires, slipping and grabbing a switch, electrocuting himself.
  • Break Them by Talking: Terry disses the Joker in a way Bruce has never done so before. He tells the clown that he's boring and the only reason for his rivalry with Bruce was to make him laugh. It works.
  • Brick Joke: Batman's opening line telling the Jokerz he's going to have to call their folks. At the end of the movie, at least one legal guardian (of the Dee Dees, to be exact) did get informed of their activities.
  • Call-Back:
    • The "HA-HA"s spray-painted in the Batcave call back to when the same "HA-HA"s were found at the crime scene of Warren McGinnis, which probably adds an even higher traumatic tension for Terry.
    • A subtler instance occurs when Tim Drake (really Joker in control of Tim's body) tells Bruce he wants Bruce to watch as he transforms Tim's body into his own: "It's a killer", echoing Dick Grayson's advice to Tim the first time they met way back in the TNBA episode "Sins of the Father".
    • The movie offers an explanation for the skeleton that was briefly seen in "Joyride".
    • Bruce's reaction to Tim Drake's transformation into The Joker echoes Alfred's words when he first saw Bruce in the Batman suit in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
    Bruce/Alfred: My God...
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Terry calls out Bruce and Barbara for thinking he can't handle the Joker, especially after the Jokerz put Dana in the hospital.
    • Subverted with Tim and Bruce. As Barbara tells it, Bruce blamed himself for what happened to Tim and forbade him from wearing the suit. Tim admits that Bruce probably did him a favor by taking the suit away from him after the Mind Rape. He happily greets Bruce when the latter visits him in the end.
    • There's a humorous moment towards the end where the Dee Dees call out their grandmother for calling them "rotten little scamps" and being a Hypocrite with four words: "Shut up, Nana Harley."
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: When Terry quits being Batman out of anger at Bruce, Joker sends his gang to attack him and Dana whilst out at a club. Whilst this is going on, Joker makes a personal house call to Wayne Manor. Dana is hospitalized, Ace is injured, and Bruce is poisoned by Joker toxin and almost killed.
  • Came Back Strong: Due to inhabiting Tim Drake's body, the Joker has access to his training from his Robin days, allowing him to give Terry a tough fight.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Terry manages to exploit a weakness of Joker's that Bruce himself had been too terse in combat to discover: for all his snark about others' failings, being heckled for his lame attempts at humor is one thing the Joker absolutely cannot stand.
  • Cartesian Karma: Averted. Barbara knows that Tim was brainwashed by the Joker via microchip and covers for him. She tells Tim it wasn't his fault and he was "along for the ride".
  • Cast as a Mask: The Joker (Mark Hamill) is actually revealed to be Tim Drake (Dean Stockwell) being possessed by Joker. To make it more surprising, there is a Red Herring suspect who both looks a lot like Joker and is also voiced by Hamill.
  • Casting Gag: Dean Stockwell as adult Tim Drake, inspired by one of his earliest roles as the lead in The Boy with Green Hair as a child actor.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Joker's orange-tipped "Bang!" Flag Gun. In a flashback sequence, the Joker tosses it to a brainwashed Tim Drake, who uses it to kill the Joker. It's a piece of easy to miss foreshadowing.
    • Terry wondering how the Joker is still alive and kicking until Bruce told him to cut it out. It's revealed that, technically, Terry was right on the very first guess.
    • In the flashback, Joker and Harley sarcastically mention they didn't want to conceive a child, so they "borrowed" one to make into a Joker Jr. Joker wasn't kidding; he reveals later he implanted a microchip on Tim to make him into another Joker in the case that the Batman encounter went wrong.
    • About halfway through, Terry dodges one of the Joker's booby traps by tricking it into destroying its own power source. The Kill Sat goes the same way when Terry and the Joker accidentally short out the controls.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A middle-aged man watches the news broadcast of Joker's attack during the party at Wayne Enterprises, and later visits Barbara. Halfway through the film he is revealed to be an adult Tim Drake.
  • Clone by Conversion: Tim Drake was turned into one of the Joker.
  • Combat Parkour: Dee Dee often tag-teamed Batman and used flips and high jumps to get away from his attacks or find a better position behind him from which they would attack. He eventually gets around this by using the suit's cloaking device.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Terry delivers a low-blow in his fight with the Joker. Twice. note 
    Joker: What are you doing?
    Terry: Fighting dirty.
    Joker: The real Batman would never— AAGH!!!
    Terry: Told you you didn't know me.
  • Connect the Deaths: Played with. After the Joker marks his first three targets — all locations where Terry's loved ones resides — he uses them them to plot a giant smiley face which he'll carve into Gotham. This doesn't have any greater significance other than Joker doing it For the Evulz (virtually any three distinct points could be used to replicate this effect).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Commissioner Jim Gordon, Dick Grayson/Nightwing and Leslie Thompkins are mentioned, but they are not seen. Also, in the uncut version, Bruce is practicing his batarang-throwing against replica statues of some of his old Rogues Gallery.
    • When Bruce is comparing audio files to determine if the Joker that appeared at the party is the same as the one he fought, the first sample he examines is from a threat video Joker made back in the episode “Holiday Knights”.
    • In the original version of the flashback sequence, Batgirl questions her informants from the TNBA episode "The Ultimate Thrill". (cut from the bowdlerized version, presumably because they appear to be hookers.)
  • Conveniently Empty Building: While Joker is trying to blast the Batmobile with a Kill Sat, the beam passes over what seems to be an abandoned building. Originally, it was a full, operating movie theater, until the animators were forced to change it. Similarly, the commentary sarcastically notes that all the cars knocked off the road by the beam were empty robot-driven cars.
  • Conveniently Placed Sharp Thing: Batman starts to cut himself free with a switchblade. But when he sees that Joker has brainwashed Robin into "Little J.J.", he finishes freeing himself through sheer force, and then throws the knife at Joker's face. He ducked, but jeez.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Jordan Pryce, a young executive looking to own Wayne-Powers, is none too happy that Bruce returns to his company again and hires the Jokerz to take him out.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: A scene involves Bruce Wayne being found after an attack by the Joker with "Ha! Ha! Ha!" written on the ground in red. It was changed to purple in the censored version to avoid looking like this trope.
  • Cow Tools: During the flashback sequence, there's a shot of some innocent junk lying around (a toilet plunger, for example). Word of God says originally Joker's tray was originally going to have bloody surgical instruments, but the execs put their foot down.
  • Creator Cameo: The film's writer Paul Dini voiced the ineffectual guard at the beginning.
  • Creepy Circus Music: Heard in the flashback after Batman (Bruce) gets to Arkham.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: Jordan Pryce is introduced as a Red Herring in determining Joker's real identity. Implying that Pryce has deduced Bruce's secret, he also physically resembles the Joker in build, hair and facial expressions (yet obviously not with the clown coloring) and is voiced by Mark Hamill. However, while not actually Joker, Pryce did work in connection with him and is turned in to Gotham PD by Terry.
  • Cry Laughing: A deadly serious example in the second Robin, Tim Drake, in the flashback sequence. The Joker applied ample amounts of Cold-Blooded Torture to Tim, leaving him Brainwashed and Crazy. When ordered to kill Batman, after The Joker has him in a position he wouldn't be able to protect himself, Tim breaks through the brainwashing and murders The Joker instead, laughing like a maniac the whole time. Once The Joker succumbs to his injuries and Batgirl arrives, Tim's laughing abruptly turns into uncontrollable sobbing, as the weight of everything that transpired suddenly sets in. The flashback sequence ends with Barbara/Batgirl trying to console him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Terry's final fight against the Jokerz gang consisted of one move on each of them: crashing the damaged Batmobile underneath Chucko's high perch, getting Dee Dee to knock each other out, siccing Ace on Woof, and a Batman classic on Ghoul.
  • Darker and Edgier: In comparison to both the series (although it certainly had its moments) along with the other DC Animated Universe installments.
  • Death by Irony:
    • Oh, if only Joker had not been so thorough in shattering that little mind, things might have turned out quite differently for him.
    • Especially in the censored version, where Joker dies by accidentally electrocuting himself while fighting Tim. What was it he did to Tim in order to break him again?
    • And again in the climax. The Joker finally dies, by his own joy buzzer.
  • Death by Secret Identity: The Joker "dies" shortly after learning Batman's identity.
  • Deconstruction:
    • The flashback sequence presents why having a child fight crime is a terrible idea.
    • In-universe, the characters Break Them by Talking offering deconstructions of their enemies.
      • The Joker points out that, for all the fear he invokes being The Cowl, Batman is nothing more than a pathetic Manchild crying out for mommy and daddy after all those years.
      The Joker: I must admit, it's sadly anti-climactic. Behind all the sturm and batarangs, you're just a little boy in a playsuit, crying for mommy and daddy! It'd be funny if it weren't so pathetic.
      Tim: We gave our best, but in the end that wasn't good enough for the old man. When I was younger, part of me thought I would go on and on and someday...ah, capes, costumes, playing hero—it was kid's stuff! Bruce probably did me a favor. In the end, I was so sick of it I never wanted to see that stupid Robin suit again...! note 
      • Terry admits that The Joker is a successful supervillain, but a pathetic comedian: he never made Batman laugh, nor corrupt or break him. He never was Affably Evil, just Faux Affably Evil. And after all, the natural enemy of a comedian is The Heckler.
      Terry: The real reason you kept coming back was you never got a laugh out of the old man.
      The Joker: I'm not hearing this...
      Terry: Get a clue, clowny! He's got no sense of humor! He wouldn't know a good joke if it bit him in the cape...not that you ever had a good joke.
      The Joker: Shut up...shut up!
      Terry: I mean, joy-buzzers, squirting flowers—lame! Where's the "A" material? Make a face, drop your pants, something!
      Batgirl: How could you help Joker do it, Harley?
      Harley Quinn: Okay, so he roughed the kid up a little. But I'll make it right.
      Batgirl: Yeah, you're Mother of the Stinkin' Year!
      Batman (McGinnis): (after his interview with Drake) Were all of you that bitter when you left?
      Barbara Gordon: Comes with the territory, McGinnis. Look up Nightwing someday; has he got stories.
      Tim: Fun and games. Boy Wonder playing hero. Fighting the bad guys and no one ever gets...oh God. (I killed him./I did it.) I didn't mean to. I tried so hard to forget. But I still hear (the shot/his scream). Still see his (dead/frozen) smile. Every night, the dreams get stronger...he's there when I sleep. Whispering! Laughing! Telling me I'm just as bad as he is! We're both the same!
    • Locked Out of the Loop also gets a painful deconstruction, because the old Bat Family's refusal to come forward with the truth Terry needs about the Joker gets him fed up to the point where he quits. Of course it doesn't stick, but the damage the Joker does in the short span of time ends with Dana hospitalized and Bruce and Ace nearly dead. Terry eventually coaxes the story out of Barbara, citing that he's involved in this mess whether they like it or not, and convincing Bruce to allow him to face the Joker.
  • Decoy Damsel: Harley Quinn, in order to capture Tim Drake.
  • Deface of the Moon: The Joker plans to use his hijacked Kill Sat to carve a giant smiley-face into Gotham City (taking out Terry's family, Wayne Manor, and the hospital Dana is staying at along the way) as a way of showing everyone once and for all that "this is Joker territory."
  • Designated Girl Fight: Harley vs. Batgirl. It ends tragically as Harley plummets to her death while Batgirl looks in horror. Or so we think.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the uncensored movie, Robin shoots Joker with his own gun to kill him while the censored version goes down differently with Robin attacking Joker and knocking him into a vat of water, which then leads to Joker electrocuting himself to death when he accidentally pulls down on a lever.
  • Disappointed by the Motive:
    • Invoked by Terry during his battle against The Joker. Terry is basically trying to piss the Joker off. It works.
    Terry: So you fell in a tank of acid, got your skin bleached, and decided to become a supervillain. What, you couldn't get work as a rodeo clown?
    • Which is something of an Ironic Echo from the Joker's own disappointment upon learning Batman's identity.
      Joker: It's true, Batsy - I know everything. And kind of like the kid who peeks at his Christmas presents, I must admit, it's sadly anticlimactic. Behind all the sturm and batarangs, you're just a little boy in a playsuit crying for mommy and daddy. It'd be funny if it weren't so pathetic. (Beat) Oh what the heck, I'll laugh anyway!
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted by Harley who appears to fall to her death but is revealed to have survived.
  • The Dreaded: The Joker. When he first reveals himself to Gotham, everyone present is terrified, even more so than when his minions attacked. Even though he told Terry about his other villains, Batman never talked about his Arch-Enemy, pointing out that "it wasn't a popularity contest."
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Terry is annoyed that Bruce and Barbara are keeping him Locked Out of the Loop, Bruce for fear of the Joker targeting Terry, Barbara to protect Tim's privacy. He tells Bruce that he's not that vulnerable, and once Barbara tells him what happened to Tim, Terry manages to get a few leads on how to find the Joker. Later on, when Bruce admits he was scared of Terry being tortured the way Tim was, Terry says no offense but he was never a sidekick and he knew what the Batman job entails.
  • Due to the Dead: Discussed only by Barbara at the end of the flashback (in the uncut version, that is):
    Commissioner Barbara Gordon: We buried the Joker deep beneath Arkham. The only other person who knew what happened that night was my father, the first Commissioner Gordon. He promised to keep our secret.
  • Dumb Muscle: Bonk. In the opening heist he's more focused on fighting Batman than getting their objective (to the point where him going off to go after Terry ends up causing the device they were there to steal to blow up, and almost kills one of the Dee Dees), then mouths off to the Joker because instead of doing petty robbery he's having them get high-tech machinery for something he won't tell them about. Unsurprisingly, the Joker doesn't appreciate this stupidity and kills him.
  • Dying Smirk: In the censored version, The Joker dies via electrocution, and it's mentioned that he has a grin on his face. (Averted in the released version, as he does not laugh or grin during his death and he even says "That's not funny. That's n—" before keeling over.)
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • The Joker is FINALLY dead and Tim Drake has restored his friendship with Bruce.
    • Harley Quinn, at some point after the Joker's death she became a normal, decent law-abiding person (likely due to the Joker not being alive to abuse her or tempt her into evil). Downplayed, as her granddaughters are part of the Jokerz gang, much to her dismay.
  • Electric Joybuzzer: The Joker's usual weapon is back in this installment. And it is used by Terry to destroy the chip that allowed him to control Tim Drake.
  • Electric Torture: Tim suffers and breaks under it, as well as Joker drugging him with serums. In both the uncut and censored version, either Terry or Tim makes Joker pay for it.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: When we first see the Jokerz speak with their leader, he is partly concealed in the shadows at first, except for his red Glowing Eyes of Doom and his grin, but then, after shooting Bonk dead for defecting him, he emerges from the shadows, revealing himself to be the newly-resurrected Joker.
  • Engineered Public Confession: "I gave you the security codes..."
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Terry asks Bruce how the latter is certain that the Joker is dead. When Bruce says he's sure because he was there when the Joker died, Terry theorizes that Batman was forced to break his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule and kill the Joker before he did a terrible thing. What actually happened was much worse - the Joker abducted then tortured Tim Drake for three weeks on end, culminating in the erstwhile Robin snapping then killing the Joker.
  • Epileptic Trees: In-universe, Terry's suggested "theories" about how Joker is still alive and kicking.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The Joker establishes his when he shoots Bonk. He even comes out of the shadows for it.
    • The opening scene serves as one for Terry for any viewers that haven't seen the series. His fight with the Jokerz shows that he's skilled enough to toy with them but also inexperienced enough to let the Dee-Dees get the drop on him because they played possum. Most importantly, his quipping with the Jokerz establishes that he likes to trash talk his enemies, which is crucial in his fight with the Joker.
  • Eureka Moment: Terry has not one, but two in this movie:
    • "Nothing against your old partners, but I'm a completely different Batman. I was never a Robin, I never—" Terry notices the Robin costume is the only one out of all the other suits that was trashed, and remembers what Tim told him about his days as Robin.
    • When Bruce advises Terry to ignore the Joker's taunts and not respond, Terry realizes he's not Bruce. He has his own style.
    Terry: He's tough. Any suggestions, boss?
    Bruce: Joker's vain and likes to talk. He'll try to distract you, but don't listen. Block it out, and power on through!
    Terry: Wait...I like to talk, too.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: An interesting combination of the "lack of humor" and "sick sense of humor" types. As much as Joker loves messing with people, he can't stand being the butt of a joke, which Terry uses against him.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • One of the originals.
    • Another one provides an awesome Call-Back: Terry's laugh when confronting the Joker mirrors Batman's own Evil Laugh back in TNBA so that it manages to be just as creepy, if not more so, than the Joker himself.
  • Exact Words: The Joker in the flashback sequence was in A-Grade form:
    Batman: (pinning the Joker with a Neck Lift) I'll break you in two!
    Joker: (laughs) Oh, Batman, if you had the guts for that kind of fun, you would have done it years ago. I, (slowly sweeps his right hand outward, palm up) on the other hand.... (instantly draws a switch blade with his left then slices Batman across his chest and stabs him in the patella, blade stuck-tight)
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: After getting ambushed by the Jokerz, Terry calls Bruce only to get the answering machine instead. Terry quickly relates what happened until he realizes that Bruce would never leave the manor at this time of night and he fears the worst may have happened (and it did).
  • Expy: Dee Dee are based on Double Dare, a pair of scantily-clad acrobatic sister thieves from Nightwing's rogues gallery.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Joker and Harley's intentions when they kidnap, brainwash and torture Tim Drake for the sake of modeling him as their own son, dubbed "Joker, Jr.", would have allowed them to effectively become one of these families. Only it didn't work.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The Joker is killed off fairly early in the story. There are actually two versions of the death scene. Originally, Robin shot the Joker with his gag gun; the Moral Guardians thought this was too violent, so the scene was reanimated to show the Joker getting wet and tangled up in wires, slipping, and accidentally electrocuting himself. The Scream Discretion Shot used winds up having the same, if not worse, impact as the unedited take, which was probably the writers' intent.
  • Famous Last Words: The Joker's final words in the uncut version, as seen in the flashback sequence, were: "That's not funny...That's not..."
  • Fatal Flaw: Exploited. Despite mocking others' misery, being heckled at is the thing Joker will not tolerate. Terry points out his fixation with the original Batman was lousy, and for being an infamous supervillain, he's nothing but a stupid manchild once the props are removed. Joker goes bonkers, and only the monster remains from that point.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Dee Dee does this occasionally, befitting their Always Identical Twins.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Tim Drake calls Batman by his real identity, Terry. Then when Terry points this out, the former further calls him by the Joker's "pet" nickname for him, right before he traps Batman and finally reveales himself.
  • Flashback: There's a flashback sequence that is about what happened in Bruce's last confrontation with the Joker.
  • Forced to Watch: Joker in the climax intends to make Bruce watch through the Batsuit camera as he destroys Terry's home, the hospital where Dana is recovering, and Wayne Manor. He also incapacitates Terry so he can watch as well. Fortunately, Joker forgot about Ace; Terry orders, "Sic him!"
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Or rather "Backshadowing." Joker's "That's also how we did it in my day" and one half of Dee Dee almost dying the way her grandma supposedly died.
    • Another part of "backshadowing": The background music that plays when Bruce demands that Terry return the Batsuit because it's dangerous for him to face the Joker (impostor or not), despite the fact that the Clown Prince of Crime died years ago is "Terry Relieved of Duty." When played again as a Dark Reprise near the end of "Arkham Mayhem," we now understand the reason: because the Joker Mind Raped Robin into divulging his secrets about Bruce Wayne as Batman, the Clown Prince of Crime tainted the Bat-Family with compromise and deception "in his last act of cruelty" that led to his demise at Robin's hands and to Barbara and Tim quitting the Bat-Family because of it.
    • The Dee Dee twins are revealed to be blonde when they attack Terry out of costume at the club. Makes sense, since they're the granddaughters of the similarly blonde Harley Quinn.
    • When Joker attacks Bruce in Wayne Manor, he addresses the latter as an old man. Just like how Tim refers to Bruce as of late, and in this movie itself.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • A few patrons at the nightclub pause and gawk at the disguised Dee Dees, at the same time annoying their dates.
    • After Terry hands over Price to the police, with evidence that he conspired with the Jokerz to kill Bruce, he turns away - just missing one of the cops saluting him.
  • Genre Savvy: Joker has shades of this while working on his plan. Knowing that Batman is only a single person, he uses his reveal as a distraction so that his henchmen can steal some technology uninterrupted. Even during his escape the Joker throws two party goers off the edge of a building, forcing Batman to save them while the Joker makes a getaway.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Terry assumes this. Why else would Batman break his One Rule unless the Joker couldn't be stopped any other way?
  • Gory Discretion Shot / Scream Discretion Shot: The edited version of Joker's death involving water, wires, and a lot of electricity. Because the camera cuts away as he's dying, all we hear is his scream. For this reason, some people consider it worse than the uncut version, as it leaves more to the imagination. Knowing the writers, this was likely deliberate.
  • Grand Theft Me: How the Joker survived all these years.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Terry received one from one half of Dee Dee when the Jokerz ambush him. This was cut in the televised airings, because it could be considered an "imitable act."
    • Terry pulls one on the Joker, the first sign that the Joker's drastically misjudged his new foe.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Bonk quickly loses sight of the Jokerz' mission as soon as Batman arrived on the scene. He jeopardizes their job several times in the opening scene alone just to attack Batman.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Woof is a human spliced with hyena DNA.
  • Hate Sink: The Joker was always a monster, but generally Laughably Evil. This film goes out of its way to make him as despicable as possible. To elaborate, he kidnapped then-Robin Tim Drake, tortured and Mind Raped him for three weeks, mutilated him, "fixed" him up as Joker Jr., implanted a microchip doctored with the Joker's DNA into his body, and invited Batman over to see his work in detail (which included a home video of the boy's torture labeled as "Our Family Memories"). He then reveals that he's learned Batman's Secret Identity, mocks him for it (and for not having the balls to kill him after all this), and knifes him before he tosses "J.J." a spear gun to finish him off with. To drive the point home, the Joker's actions are so monstrous that, despite having voiced him for nearly a decade by this point, Mark Hamill actually felt uncomfortable with voicing him this time around.
  • The Heckler: Terry discovers this is the Joker's Fatal Flaw: being heckled at. It's something Bruce was too stoic to do, but Terry relished the opportunity.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After helping Joker kidnap and torture Tim, and falling down a pit, Harley disappears. She then adopts a civilian life and starts a family, while trying to keep her granddaughters from repeating her mistakes.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: The resurrected Joker wears a bodysuit made of dark leather.
  • High-Voltage Death:
    • This happens to The Joker in the censored version. After The Joker kidnaps Tim Drake (Robin) and brainwashes him into being insane like himself. The Joker tries to get Tim to to kill the Batman and prove Tim is like him. In the censored version of the scene, Tim pushes The Joker into a glass container full of water, breaking it, which causes him to get tangled in electrical wires attached to the container. The Joker slips on the water and accidentally pulls an electrical switch, and the wires electrocute him to death.
    • In both versions, many years after the Joker's "biological death," Terry destroyed the microchip that was planted in Tim Drake's neck that allow the Joker to return to life with the Joker's own joy-buzzer, putting an end to the Joker's reign of terror forever.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Before that the Joker is killed by Tim Drake using his own spear gun in the uncut version that he gave Tim to kill Batman.
    • Terry destroys the microchip with the Joker's own joy buzzer, killing him once and for all.
  • The Hyena: Woof actually is part-hyena.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Matt complains about Terry being at home because he's used to being an only child. Terry in response flicks some cereal at him. When Joker threatens Matt and their mother, however, Terry clenches his fist and sics Ace on Joker.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • Terry at first assumes this when Bruce says that he's pretty sure the Joker is dead. He's not too far off.
    "You killed him, didn't you? He was gonna do something so terrible that you had no other choice."
    • Bruce, in forcing Terry to quit. After Terry revealed that Barbara told him the whole story, Bruce says that's the reason why he didn't want Terry to face the Joker, even if he's an imposter.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Flashback-Joker uses the inversion.
    Batman: I'll break you in two!
    Joker: (laughs) Oh, Batman, if you had the guts for that kind of fun, you would have done it years ago. I, on the other hand...
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Deconstructed. Yes, Tim Drake still is in there somewhere, but he's so damaged he'll never be quite the same again.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Joker via spear gun in the original version. Also Bonk via the same weapon.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Dean Stockwell as the 50-60-something Tim Drake.
  • Ironic Echo: In spirit, if not exact wording:
    Joker to Batman (Bruce): It'd be funny if it weren't so pathetic. (beat) Oh, what the heck, I'll laugh anyway.
    Batman (Terry) to Joker: You make me laugh...but only because I think you're kinda pathetic.
    • When the Joker berates his henchmen, he says, "Why, in my day..." to which Bonk retorts, "Your day is over, old man!" After the Joker shoots Bonk he quips, "That's also how we did it in my day."
  • Irony: Despite the Joker not considering Terry as a worthy Batman, he and nobody else knew that Terry is Bruce's biological son via the machinations of Amanda Waller using nanotechnology. Terry isn't a wannabe pretender but the metaphorical prince to Bruce's King and true heir to the throne. It's even revealed later that Terry not only matches Bruce in his prime but surpassed him because unlike Bruce, he didn't have all the emotional baggage and had no problem being social with others.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Terry is probably one of the best examples out there, breaking the Joker in a manner the original Batman couldn't do.
  • It's All My Fault: Barbara mentions at the end of the flashback that Bruce blamed himself for causing Tim to be tortured by the Joker, and that the reason he asked Tim to give up his Robin suit was so that he would never put another accomplice in such a horrible situation again. Tim doesn't blame Bruce for what happened, and mentions that it was probably for the best that he gave up the cowl. This is also the reason Bruce is reluctant to let Terry find the Joker, and tells him he shouldn't have forced the burden of Batman on him, since he fears it will cause Terry to suffer Tim's fate as well.
  • Joker Immunity:
    • Finally averted. The Joker actually dies for good twice in the film (the first time is when he's killed by Tim Drake in the modern day and the second time is when Terry fries the chip containing Joker's consciousness and DNA coding attached to Tim Drake's neck in the future).
    • Played straight with Harley Quinn, though. Word of God says it's because Paul Dini couldn't bear to kill off his favorite creation. Word of God also attributes her in-universe survival with the injection she got from Poison Ivy in the episode they met.
  • Karma Houdini: Harley may be The Atoner now, but she still basically got away scot-free with everything she and Joker did to Tim. It's possible she was caught and already served her time by the time we see her at the end (as a decent, law-abiding senior citizen by this point.)
  • Karmic Death:
    • The Joker's first death; in fact (in the uncensored version), when he's shot, he can only say, "That's not funny...". His second and final death topped this however by turning Joker’s own Breaking Speech schtick against him, reducing him to a raving lunatic obsessed with ending Terry at all costs, before giving him some very well needed electroshock therapy with his own joy buzzer straight to the chip in his neck housing Joker’s consciousness, putting him down for good and saving Tim’s life and sanity.
    • The Bowdlerised version was pretty karmic too: Joker is electrocuted to death by the very device he used to torture Tim.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • When The Joker breaks into the Batcave, he attacks Ace. He does so again near the end of the movie.
    • And in another sense. In the flashback sequence, The Joker shows Batman a video of him torturing Tim Drake and then reveals that, after a few weeks, his mind snapped and he revealed Batman's identity to Joker. Joker then proceeds to mock Batman over the death of his parents. Bodily injury soon followed.
    • After breaking into the Batcave and gassing Bruce the Joker re-creates the "HA HA HA" graffiti from the murder of Terry's father just to torture him. Even the filmmakers admit that that might be a bit too far.
      Bruce Timm: (in the commentary) That's just sick.
  • Kid Hero: Deconstructed with Robin's fate. Barbara also seems to think that Harley Wouldn't Hurt a Child. Both seem to consider crime fighting like a great adventure. Bruce would never have such illusions.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • In a subversion of the very trope named after him, The Joker got this treatment in this installment. He proved to be as much of a survivor in the DC Animated Universe as his comic book counterpart via being every bit the "no one" in No One Could Survive That! — but this installment took the big leap and put him down once and for all. It even did it twice! The first time, Joker is killed in Arkham Asylum note  and his body is buried within its walls. The second time, the chip containing a copy of his DNA and memories is burned out, just to make sure he can never come back.
    • This is subverted with Harley Quinn. In the flashback, Harley falls into a deep pit after fighting with Batgirl. She does not show up again for the rest of the flashback, so you can assume—like Barbara did—that Harley died. But she did survive—and she had her family, too, as the Dee-Dees refer to her as "Nana Harley" and a guard calls her their grandmother.
  • Kill Sat: Government-issued Hyperion class defense satellite.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Harley spent her youth refusing redemption whenever the Joker called, and aided him in multiple schemes. Her reward for this was constant abuse, and finally falling down a pit; even though she survived, she needs to use a cane afterwards. As an old lady, she finds out that her granddaughters are spending their youth as part of a Jokerz gang, and have even found "Pudding".
  • The Last Thing You Ever See: After The Joker injures Batman in the flashback sequence, he says, "You've lost, Batman. Robin is mine. The last sound you'll hear will be our laughter," before attempting to do so.
  • Laughing Mad: It's The Joker! What did you expect?
    • Also, J.J. (a.k.a., Robin/Tim Drake) suffered from it to the extent that the only vocabulary he could give was maniacal laughter. Given what he had to go through, it's not surprising.
  • Lean and Mean: Ghoul.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: This is sort-of inverted—the old Bat-Family has the Dark Secret rather than Terry himself, but they keep a lid on it for his sake because they believe he cannot handle the Joker. This approach backfires on all of them.
  • Made of Explodium: Everything explodes in this installment. In the opening battle, Chuckles fires a laser at Terry, which at first melts the construction hook he was sitting on. The hook then explodes. But this is nothing to complain about, as the explosions in this film look gorgeous.
  • Manchild:
    • Joker points out to Bruce that for all the fear he invokes by being The Cowl, he is really this trope.
      "I must admit, it's sadly anti-climactic. Behind all the sturm and batarangs, you're just a little boy in a play-suit, crying for Mommy and Daddy! It'd be funny if it weren't so pathetic. ...oh, what the heck, I'll laugh anyway!" [Mad Laughter]
    • Terry throws Joker's insults right back at him by pointing out that Joker himself is also this trope: his fixation with the original Batman was childishly pathetic and, once you take away the makeup and the props, Joker was nothing more than a stupid, overgrown man-child trying to make people laugh at a joke that was not even funny to begin with. This sends The Joker off the deep end.
  • Mind Rape: Joker captured Tim and tortured him until he went insane, remolding him into Joker Junior. He eventually mostly recovered, but he was never the same afterwards.
  • Missing Mission Control: After The Joker incapacitates Bruce, Terry is forced to rely on his own detective work for the last 3rd of the movie. This leads to Terry having to chase down leads he thought up on his own, and it's only when Bruce recovers and talks with him does Terry manage to have an epiphany and deduce the Joker's true identity.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • After Bruce "fires" him, Terry goes to hang out with Dana at their nightclub. She snuggles as they slow-dance, while Terry promises there's more time for them...and then the Jokerz appear, to kill Terry.
    • In the flashback sequence, Batman busts in on Joker and Harley at Arkham as they are acting out what appears to be a cheesy 1950s sitcom. They announce their intention to start a family and the mood is quite goofy. Then, The Joker peels back a curtain and reveals what he did to Tim Drake.
  • Monster Clown: The Joker obviously qualifies, but the Jokerz all deserve special mention. The Dee-Dees dress themselves up like ragdolls, Ghoul dresses like a ghastly scarecrow (evoking another longtime Batman villain), Woof spliced himself with hyena DNA, Bonk is a giant rage case, and Chucko wears a creepy mask.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Always Identical Twins of the Jokerz, Dee Dee. Dressed in short shorts, knee-high boots, and midriff exposing tube tops, complete with being as flirtatious in dialogue and posing as a PG-13 rating will allow them. Their entrance into the club scene is classically Femme Fatale, as they dress in form-hugging dresses, turn heads as they approached Terry, and press themselves against him in a clear ploy to seduce him; though naturally it doesn't work for even a second. And do we even have to mention the yacht scene?
  • Mugged for Disguise: One of the Dee-Dees briefly poses as Jordan Pryce's girlfriend Amy as part of an attempt to assassinate Bruce. The real Amy is left bound and gagged at the docks.
  • Mugging the Monster: When the Jokerz attack Terry, they mention their boss didn't mention why he wanted the young man dead. While they injure Dana so that she has to go to the hospital, Terry manages to beat them all with some improvisation, without the suit. By the end of it most of them are half-drowned and Terry takes out Chucko with one punch.
  • Must Make Amends: Bruce shows up at the hospital Tim and Barbara are staying in so he can make amends with them and relieve himself of his decades-long guilt.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: From Harley: "That old clock's a-ticking!"note 
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The shredded Robin costume is a reference to the infamous story arc "A Death In The Family".
    • The flashback storyline as a whole is essentially the DCAU's spin on "A Death In The Family" as both stories involve the second Robin being kidnapped and tortured by The Joker. The main difference is that in this version, Robin lives, while the Joker doesn't.
  • Never-Forgotten Skill:
    • Bruce may not have been Batman for years, but he never forgot his skills. One such skill: How to make a batch of anti-venom for Joker's personal poison. In the uncut version of the film, he shows that he is still capable of using a Batarang as if he were in his prime.
    Bruce: Still got it.
    • Tim Drake has been retired from his position as Robin for 40 years, but he still retains some measure of his old skills and is able to hear a cloaked Batman coming "from a mile away."
    Tim: I'm no Boy Wonder anymore, but that old training never goes away, even at my age.
  • Never Found the Body: In the flashback, Harley Quinn falls into a deep pit at the end of her fight with Batgirl. Barbara mentions this trope by name, but immediately follows up with savviness by adding, "But I doubt she'd be starting trouble now." The ending shows that Barbara was right: Harley survived the fall and settled down for a quiet life. Too bad her grandchildren ended up becoming Jokerz.
  • No Endor Holocaust: When Joker runs his Kill Sat laser through Gotham City, it causes massive collateral damage over much of the city, but it does not seem to have killed anyone.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Batman had always followed the Thou Shalt Not Kill rule anytime Joker got into the game. He even saved his life a few times. In this installment, The Joker shows Bruce the end result of all that mercy.
  • No Sense of Humor: Terry believes The Joker was obsessed with to make Batman laugh because Bruce had no sense of humor.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Harley was a completely willing participant in the Joker's torture and remolding of Tim.
  • Not So Stoic: The look of shock and absolute horror on Bruce's face when Joker first presents himself, especially after Joker indirectly confirms his identity by addressing him personally.
  • Not Quite Dead: After Joker attacks Bruce at Wayne Manor, Terry comes in to find the house a wreck and Bruce slumped over the Batcomputer with the telltale rictus grin of Joker venom. As Terry checks his pulse and heartbeat, Bruce springs back to life long enough to tell Terry about the antitoxin, which ultimately saves Bruce's life.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Joker finally presses Batman's Berserk Button, and Batman attacks him with a fury that leaves Bruce's intent laid fully bare.
  • Non-Action Guy: Out of all the Jokerz, Ghoul has the worst record in fighting Batman.
  • Offhand Backhand: Batman practically invented this trope. Terry does a fine job of carrying on the tradition.
  • Off with His Head!: This is parodied in the opening of the uncut version—after the credits, Bruce throws a Batarang that cuts the head off of a wax statue of Two-Face in the Batcave.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
    • This could be played straight, depending on your point of view. Joker wanted the brainwashed Tim Drake to physically be the one to kill Batman, but Joker himself masterminded the whole situation.
    • This is unquestionably played straight in that Joker only ever wanted Bruce to be the one who defeated him—and the only one he would ever try to make laugh.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • Bruce has a look of pure terror on his face when he sees the returned Joker make his public debut at the Wayne Enterprises reception.
    • The flashback sequence is one of the very few times in the DCAU that Batman looks as if he is willing to kill; in particular, when he first sees what The Joker has turned Tim into, he throws a knife at the clown with clear lethal intent.
    • The Joker genuinely loses his temper when he is taunted by Terry playing The Heckler. The Smug Snake Monster Clown façade crumbles under Terry saying that Joker is just not funny. Only the monster remains from that point on.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Tim at first has a Freak Out when Terry finds him in the climax, sweating and reliving the night he killed the Joker. Batman says he's calling an ambulance, only for Tim to address him by his first name and say the memories are like "bad oysters." Terry points out he never revealed his secret identity to the man. It's the Joker taking over Tim's body, who proceeds to incapacitate Terry and transform, before explaining he implanted a microchip on Tim.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Terry becomes this to defeat the Joker once and for all. Joker is so used to dealing with the stoic, honor-bound Bruce Wayne!Batman that the clown loses it when Terry mocks Joker and gives him a vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech that utterly deconstructs him. Terry also has no problem fighting dirty—and in revoking Joker Immunity.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Seeing what Joker had done to Tim Drake was the one thing that convinced Bruce to finally try and kill Joker. (Being mocked over his parents' deaths probably pushed a few buttons, too.)
    • Bruce prefers not to involve Terry with the Joker, so he has to ask the latter to reture as Batman.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Averted with the Dee Dee twins. They wear bob cut wigs that are red, but in civilian guise have long blond hair. Thus when they "cut in" and bump Dana away from the dance floor, Terry is confused but doesn't realize who they are until they attack him.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Misinterpreting Bruce's motives for trying to make him give up being Batman, Terry angrily quits and cuts off any ties with him. Unfortunately this leaves the mansion and Bruce himself open for a personal visit by the Joker.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Bruce at first doesn't tell Terry why he wants the latter to hang up the Batman suit, at first saying that he pushed Terry too hard to take on such a burden. When Terry later finds out the real reason, he's sympathetic when Bruce admits that he was scared of the Joker torturing Terry and breaking him. Even so, Terry tells him he's not going to go that way, and they agree the police are no match for the clown. This time, Terry has an Ace up his sleeve (in this case, in the Batmobile) and Bruce's guidance.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: In-universe, the Joker sees Terry as one to Bruce in the role of Batman; his priorities are made clear when he sends his lackeys to take care of Terry while he himself attacks Bruce in the Bat-Cave.
  • Post-Mortem Comeback: The two mysteries of the film are how The Joker died and how he came back to life.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: While fighting on a high-speed hovercraft flying high in the city, Bonk has Terry by the throat. Terry, while struggling, sees behind himself (where the hovercraft is flying) and he tries to warn his opponent of a "flgpkl".
    Bonk: What did you say?
    Batman: Flag...pole! (KLONK!)
    • And later in the movie...
    Joker: C'mon, McGinnis! Laugh it up now, you miserable little punk! LAUGH!
    (Terry gasps)
    Joker: I can't hear you!
    Terry: Ha. Ha. (electrocutes Joker with his own joy buzzer)
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Ha. Ha."
  • Present Peeking: The Joker compares finding out about Batman's secret identity to peeking at Christmas presents—and finding the contents "sadly anticlimactic".
  • Pretender Diss: Joker repeatedly throws these at Terry, but it's entirely due to his own inflated ego. When he flat-out yells "YOU'RE NOT BATMAN!", it's a sign Terry's gotten under his skin in a way Bruce himself never managed.
  • Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy: The Joker is actually inhabiting the body of Tim Drake. But Terry says the trope phrase word-for-word after first seeing The Joker.
  • Pun: The Joker uses two rather clever puns in the flashback sequence:
    • When making fun of Batman's tragic backstory, he says "Behind all the sturm and batarangs..." this is a reference to the German Romantic art movement from the 18th century, called Sturm und Drang (Storm and Desire).
    • When Batman threatens to break him in two, The Joker points out, he would've done it a long time ago, if he had the guts for it. He then claims "I on the other hand" seemingly referring to his own enjoyment of murder, and pulls a knife while Batman keeps an eye on The Joker's other hand.
  • Put Their Heads Together: When the Deedees come at him from opposite sides after their Slippery Skid, Terry neatly pulls an invisible act worthy of Door Judo, causing them to smash into each other in this way.
  • Pygmalion Snap Back: The Joker captures Tim Drake (who was the current Robin) and gives him a "personality makeover" that’s based in Joker's own image. "J.J." ends up snapping back just long enough to kill Joker, but this traumatizes him even further. Tim undergoes years of therapy to recover, and even that is not enough to fully heal his mind...which is exactly what The Joker was counting on.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • After stopping the Jokerz in the Cold Open, Terry tries to go out and dance with Dana. Bruce tells him he ought to get some sleep since he's been up all night, but Terry assures him he's fine. One Gilligan Cut later and Terry is fast asleep in the nightclub.
    • Assisting criminals with sabotaging your own company (as well as trying to get rid of the CEO) will get you in trouble with the police, even if you're a high-end corporate executive.
    • At first Tim understandably seems bitter that Bruce retired him, and how his hero career ended with torture, brainwashing and murder. 10-Minute Retirement, after all, is supposed to be a thing. He admits, however, that Bruce made the right call. After the trauma, Tim needed a new direction and focus because you can't exactly throw yourself back into a similar situation and expect to heal. At the end, it's made clear that he considers Bruce as a good father and missed him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The film features a rather epic one delivered by Terry to the Joker by dissing his attempts to mentally break Batman and calling him a pathetic comedian who chose supervillainy.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Joker now has red-colored eyes in both the flashback sequence (i.e. the present) and the future.
  • Red Herring: Jordan Pryce's voice, physical features, and motive for trying to get rid of Bruce Wayne exist mostly to make you (and Batman) assume Pryce is the "new" Joker.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: This is how The Joker responds to Bonk's demands to quit his organization.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Jordan Pryce uses his position within Wayne Enterprises to help the Jokerz to steal from the company; in exchange, he gets their cooperation in getting rid of Bruce Wayne and becoming the company's new CEO. When The Joker decides to tie up loose ends, The Jokerz try to kill Pryce. Batman saves him—and turns over evidence of the betrayal, as well as Pryce himself, to the police.
  • Save the Villain:
    • Terry saves one of the Dee-Dees from falling to her death.
    • Batgirl tries to save Harley from falling down a deep chasm at Arkham, but fails. The film's climax reveals that she survived.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: At first, Bruce wants Terry to leave the Joker to the police, fearing he's too dangerous for Terry to take on. But later, after Terry figured out the Joker's identity and what his agenda is (as well as the Jokerz attacking Terry in his civilian identity anyway), Bruce tells Terry to suit up.
    Terry: What happened to leaving it to the cops?
    Bruce: Not their game.
  • Secondary Adaptation: Released in 2000, it is a feature-length episode of Batman Beyond, a 1999 western cartoon based on the DC Comics Series character, Batman.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Tim Drake. Considering what happened to him, no one should be surprised that he still has some effects forty years later. This goes From Bad to Worse when The Joker hijacks him through a DNA chip on his neck and commits crimes through his body, all while Tim's mind believes he is reliving a nightmare.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Word of God explicitly states the orbital satellite laser was inspired by AKIRA.
    • One of Terry's wild guesses on how the Joker survived is that he was frozen in a block of ice for decades.
    • The poster, seen as the page image above, features a giant green Joker head, closely mimicking one of the posters for The Man Who Laughs, the film which inspired the Joker.
    • After Terry has saved Bruce's life, one Looney Tunes cartoon Ace is watching is the Bugs Bunny short "Hare Ribbin'", known for its controversial ending (which is also shown)note .
    • To Shakespeare: When Bonk gets angry at the Joker and calls him a fake, the Joker replies, "Ah, brave new world...that has such [putzes/yutzes] in it." This is a parody of a line spoken by Miranda in The Tempest: "O, wonder!/How many goodly creatures are there here!/How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world/That has such people in't" (V, i).
    • According to Bruce Timm on the DVD Commentary, the Joker's red eyes and slicked-back hair that he has in the future were inspired by Hannibal Lecter.
    • "End of the line, Snoopy."
    • The Joker's transformation is a shout-out to at least one film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: it's accomplished with subtle misdirection and a clever fade.
  • The Shrink: Dr. Leslie Thompkins needs a year to bring Tim "back to sanity" after Joker's torture.
  • Sinister Suffocation: The Joker, who is portrayed as Batman's most fearsome and deranged enemy, shows a clear predilection for asphyxiation as an assassination method. His weapon of choice is a poison that causes victims to laugh uncontrollably until the respiratory system ceases to function; and during the final battle, he tries to finish off the hero by strangling him to death.
  • Slasher Smile: With Joker and his venom around, this was inevitable. This time, they had made his smiles into horror Up to Eleven.
  • Smug Snake: Joker regards Terry as a Batman wannabe and takes constant amusement in taunting him, thinking he's incapable of succeeding against him. Perhaps the best example is after Joker reveals his Kill Sat plans to Terry:
    Joker: You're welcome to try and stop us, but I'm not taking bets on that happening anytime soon. Toodles.
  • So Happy Together: Terry surprises Dana at the dance club after being fired as Batman. They get a little banter and a sweet dance together...then The Jokerz crash the party and almost kill both of them.
  • So Proud of You: In the edited version of the film, Bruce gives a silently approving smile when Tim throws away the gun given to him by The Joker.
  • Soul Jar: The DNA/Microchip package The Joker implanted in Tim Drake during the weeks he was holding him captive.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Poor Tim. He didn't mean to since he was tortured and drugged for three weeks.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: It's Batman. This is Lampshaded by Tim Drake when Terry pulls one:
    Tim Drake: Some things never change.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Tim Drake. This is easily the most disturbing moment in DC Animated Universe history. The censored version cuts out the actual torture.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: A feature of Terry’s batsuit is that it enhances his strength and reflexes yet, somehow, the Joker is able to fight him hand-to-hand and even gain the advantage. This is never explained although it could be a secondary effect of the technology he used to bring himself back to life, and Joker explains he has Bruce and Tim's knowledge and the latter's training combined.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: As Bruce Wayne's slimy corporate rival for his company, Jordan Pryce is practically a stand-in for either of the Powerses.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Or laughing him to death. The Joker hates both options.
  • Tap on the Head:
    • Subverted with Dana. When she bumps her head after being tossed by Ghoul, she's unconscious and has to be taken to the hospital.
    • Played straight with the Jokerz. Terry knocks them out on more than one occasion and they aren't the worse for wear.
  • That Man Is Dead: Tim is very sour towards his time as Robin.
  • Theme Twin Naming: The Dee-Dees.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Tim starts crying uncontrollably after he kills The Joker, which is proof that Joker's brainwashing is wearing off. Tim reveals in the climax that he harbored guilt and nightmares for killing The Joker for years and The Joker personality’s which is programmed into the chip that has been implanted in Tim's neck used that guilt to take over. Bruce, upon hearing how Tim was haunted by voices telling him "he's as bad as Joker", is visibly shaken.
  • This Cannot Be!: Bruce is positively stunned to see The Joker in the flesh again.
    Bruce: It can't be.
    Joker: Oh, no, your old eyes do not deceive you, Brucie. After all, who'd know me better than you?
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill:
    • Bruce was going to kill The Joker as evidenced by Bruce throwing a knife at Joker's head.
      Batman: (murderously angry) I'll break you in two!
      Joker: Oh, Batman, if you had the guts for that kind of fun, you'd have done it years ago.
    • Terry kills the Joker a second time by frying the microchip that is changing Tim into Mr. J. Overlaps with What Measure Is A Nonhuman.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Upon his return, The Joker is suddenly an even match for Batman in hand-to-hand combat. This is because he is using Tim Drake's body and Tim was trained by Bruce himself.
  • The Triple:
  • Troll: The Joker himself has always been a troll who laughs at wanton misery, but finds himself outmatched when Terry returns the favor.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Bruce does this to Terry, afraid of what Joker might do to him. Bruce being Bruce, he does not do the best job of getting that across, after apologizing to Terry for imposing the Batman legacy on him.
    Bruce: Stupid kid. You don't know what you want. None of you ever did.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • Terry makes the common mistake of dismissing the idea that a man dressed as a clown can be dangerous. He learns the hard way that underestimating Joker is a bad idea.
    • For his part, Joker assumes that Terry is a Batman knock-off—a punk who only wants to be (and cannot measure up to) the original. Their final fight convinces Joker that Terry is willing to fight dirty, turn the Joker's mind games back on him, and kill him if necessary.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The Joker hits Bruce's Papa Wolf instincts and Berserk Button one time too many in the flashback sequence. He all but convinced Bruce to attempt to kill Joker for good. Bruce didn't do it. But Tim did. Sort of.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: The Joker is so used to this trope that when he loses control of the Kill Sat, he seems to think he can just walk away—although that may also have been due to his lack of respect for Terry.
    Joker: Oh, good, the beam's headed here! Now I'll have to start all over again. Thanks for wrecking everything, kid. See ya round.
    Terry: Hold it!
    Joker: Oh, wise up, junior—GAME'S OVER!
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: The Joker attacks Bruce at Wayne Manor and gases him with Joker venom.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The movie starts with The Jokerz trying to steal some sort of device...before Batman shows up.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Terry is one of only a mere handful of people in the DCAU to make the Joker completely lose his cool.
    Joker: SHUT UP! SHUT UP!
    • The epic scream that seals it.
  • Visual Pun: In the flashback sequence, when the Joker says, "I, on the other hand...", he pulls out a knife in his left hand while distracting Batman with his right. Get it? "Eye on the other hand."
  • Watch Where You're Going!:
    • Also from the opening "Flagpole".
    • Terry getting the Dee-Dees to hit each other.
  • Wham Line:
    • When Joker invades the Batcave and gasses Bruce:
      Joker: Don't get up, Bruce. It's just an old friend come by to say "hello". Hello...Batman. (Evil Laugh)
    Joker: Harley and I have been thinking of settling down and starting a family! Add a Joker Jr. to our merry brood!
    Harley: But instead of going through the joy of childbirth, we decided to adopt!
    Joker: We couldn't do it legally, of course, but then we remembered you always had a few spare kids running around! So we borrowed one...
    • Of course, there is also the biggest "wham" of the film:
      Joker: Secrets that are mine alone to know...Bruce.
    • It predates The Reveal for only a few seconds, but...
    Tim: There's nothing about you I don't know, Bat-fake.
    • As well as:
      Terry: Wait...I like to talk, too.
    • One of the final scenes has one of the humorous variety:
      Dee-Dee: Oh, shut up, Nana Harley.
  • Wham Shot:
  • When I Was Your Age...: The Joker explains why he was not only superior to the current Jokerz, but he had a better Batman, too.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Terry gives the revived Joker a taste of his own medicine.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: The Dee Dee twins wear white short shorts.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Terry gets one in by understanding he has to be his own Batman, so he laughs at Joker.
  • Worthy Opponent: Lampshaded, mocked, and averted by the Joker towards Bruce as he prepares to blast Wayne Manor with his Kill Sat:
    Joker: Adios, Brucie! I guess I should salute you as a 'worthy adversary' and all that, but the truth is I really did hate your guts. *Raspberry*
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Played straight with Dee Dee. Terry largely just grapples and tosses them around rather than the rather intense beating he would give the other Jokerz. Terry somehow got them to beat each other up. It definitely sticks out as in the flashback, we see Barbara throwing full on punches at Harley.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The Dee Dees pull this trick to get the drop on Terry when he sees them for the first time. (When he interrupts a heist the Jokerz are pulling, the Dee Dees grab on to each other and pretend to be terrified; then when he turns his back to concentrate on the tougher-looking male members of the gang, they pounce.)
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • While The Joker knows Bruce almost as well as a best friend (he did have access to Tim's memories) and could predict his actions very well, Terry makes it a point to let The Joker know that he doesn't know much about himself while kneeing The Joker in the crotch. More than that, Terry had an outsiders' perspective on The Joker though with in-depth knowledge from studying Bruce's old files, which meant he could more objectively find the flaws in The Joker's thinking and planning without the serious personal history that the original Batman had with the Joker. Since most of The Joker's plans revolve around goading Batman and making it personal to cloud Bruce's judgement and lure him into traps, this is utterly ineffective against Terry who just sees The Joker as a clown. The Joker doesn't take Terry's lack of respect well. Ironically, the villain isn't entirely wrong when he furiously shouts that Terry isn't Batman; Terry is a completely different type of Batman at least.
    • On a similar note, after shattering Robin's mind and alienating Bruce from ever bringing another partner with him into the field again, Joker seemed to fully expect that his latest protege would follow suit as a solo act since Bruce would never repeat that same mistake. Sadly for him, while Terry typically works alone, he's far more pragmatic about accepting help than his predecessor. This comes back to bite the Joker hard when he has Terry at his mercy, but loses his hold on the situation because Terry brought backup.
  • Wronski Feint: How Terry beat the Dee Dees: his jet boots got him out of the way so they crashed into one another.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Bruce says this to Terry at the end.
    "Terry, I've been thinking about something you once told me, and you were wrong. It's not Batman that makes you worthwhile, it's the other way around. Never tell yourself anything different."
  • You Have Failed Me: Joker didn't actually say it, but Bonk was a huge liability: he was the least dependable in the opening heist and he actively jeopardized it multiple times, even endangering one of the Dee Deesnote . Badmouthing the Joker was probably the last straw.
  • You Monster!: Bruce outright calls his Arch-Enemy a monster when Terry asked about his Rogues Gallery.


Joker Gets Trolled

The Joker breaks down when Terry manages to turn back his jokes right back at him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / BreakThemByTalking

Media sources:

Main / BreakThemByTalking