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I saw that abyss you spoke about... very scary, but so tempting. I don't know how you resist it. I don't think it's humanly possible after a while. Be careful.
~ Batgirl warning Batman about taking crimefighting too far

Barbara Gordon, known as the superheroine Batgirl, is the deuteragonist of the 2016 animated movie, Batman: The Killing Joke.

She is voiced by Tara Strong, who also voiced the character in Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, as well as Timmy Turner in The Fairly Oddparents.

History

In the opening scene, Batgirl and Batman pursue armored car thieves led by Paris Franz, the sociopathic nephew of Gotham City's most powerful crime boss, Carlos Francesco. Batgirl lands on their big rig truck and plants an exploding Batarang above the rear cargo doors. Once the doors have burst open, Batman extracts the armored car with the Batmobile's harpoon. Batgirl is briefly held at gunpoint by one of Franz's thugs, but Batman saves her. Franz, meanwhile, becomes obsessed with her.

At work the next day, Barbara works on the program for the police's city cam project. While she cycles through camera feeds, she spots Franz breaking into a warehouse. As Batgirl, she tries to apprehend Franz by herself. She makes short work of Franz's thugs, and then fights hand-to-hand with Franz himself. After she insults him, Franz hits her with knockout gas. About to lose consciousness, Batgirl runs into a nearby vault and seals herself inside. Franz and his men flee the warehouse, flush with cash.

A few minutes later, Batman finds Batgirl on the roof across from the warehouse and gives her a cup of coffee. He scolds her for taking on Franz alone, but she insists that he was about to get away and she had to do something. Unmoved, Batman orders her not to go near Franz again without him.

Franz later records a video message for Batgirl, challenging her to fight him again at the place where they first met. Batgirl is flattered despite herself, but Batman cautions her that it is a trick and forbids her to go near Franz. Nevertheless, Batgirl follows Batman as he goes to apprehend Franz. She goes to the police impound lot and finds a gift-wrapped cell phone in the truck. Franz is on the other end of the line, and tells her that his real "gift" is still out there. She follows his clues to Don Francesco's headquarters, where she discovers that Franz had murdered his own uncle. She is then blindsided by Franz's men, who overwhelm her. Batman appears at the last minute and saves her.

Batman admonishes her for letting Franz get to her an they get into an argument in which Batman fires her as his partner, believing that she is treating crimefighting as a game and will eventually get hurt. Angry, Batgirl charges at him, but he pins her in an embrace that, moments later, turns into sex.

A few days later, she confides in her gay friend Reese that she is in a confusing sexual relationship with her "yoga instructor"; Reese suspects she is not telling him everything, but still advises her to talk to her lover and make it clear what they want from each other. She contacts Batman via comlink and pleads with him to go back to the way things were before they had sex, but Batman, who is in the midst of trailing Franz, brushes her off.

Suddenly, Batgirl sees an explosion come from the docks, and rushes over on her motorcycle. She picks up a heavy rope with a hook attached and knock out Franz's thugs, and drags Franz into a stack of crates. She then beats him bloody, and realizes with horror that she had been ready to kill him. She lets him go, leaving him for the police, and goes back home. The next morning, she decides to retire from crimefighting, and meets with Batman to hand over her gear.

A week later, Barbara visits her father, Commissioner James Gordon, and makes him cocoa as he cuts out a newspaper article about the Joker, who has recently escaped from Arkham Asylum again and committed yet another gruesome mass murder. She hears a knock at the door and assumes it is her workout buddy Colleen. When she opens the door, however, she sees that is the Joker himself, who presses a gun to her stomach and shoots her, severing her spine and paralyzing her from the waist down. As she lies on the floor, bleeding and helpless, Joker's thugs beat up Commissioner Gordon and haul him away. Barely able to speak, Barbara asks the Joker why he is doing this; the Joker replies, "To prove a point." He then takes off Barbara's clothes and takes pictures of her, which he later uses to torment her father. When she wakes in the hospital, Batman is there and tries to comfort her, but she is terrified for her father.

After Batman saves Commissioner Gordon and apprehends the Joker, Barbara recovers and becomes accustomed to using a wheelchair, even joining a handicapped lacrosse team at her gym. One day, she returns home from a game and talks to her father on a wireless earbud. He asks her to come over for dinner, but she declines, saying she has plans. After hanging up, she goes into a secret room in her apartment, filled with technology. She turns on her keyboard and goes to work as the crimefighter Oracle.

Trivia

  • This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the film Batman: The Killing Joke and is an adaptation of Batgirl. The original character was created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino and first appeared in Detective Comics #359.
  • In both the graphic novel and the film adaptation, it is suggested that the Joker may have raped Barbara after shooting her.
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