Batman: The Long Halloween Part One & Two – ★★★★★

Certificate – 15
Directed By – Chris Palmer
Starring (Voiced By) – Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, Billy Burke, Tray Baker, Alastair Duncan, David Dastmalchian, Julie Nathanson, Titus Welliver, Jack Quid,
Running Time – Part One – 85 Minutes (1 Hour 25 Minutes)/ Part Two – 75 Minutes (1 Hour 15 Minutes)

When it comes to comic book adaptations, DC Animation has some incredible highs with the two-parters of The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman storylines and Under The Red Hood. However, they’ve also sadly dropped the ball with The Killing Joke and Hush.

So bringing the highly regarded graphic novel, The Long Halloween was going to be a massive task as it’s not only one of the greatest Batman stories ever written. It’s in line with the best Agatha Christie novels because if it weren’t a Batman/comic book story, we would’ve seen multiple films and TV adaptations by now.

It’s also a novel that inspired The Batman director Matt Reeves whilst he created his film, and on a personal level, it’s my favourite DC story.

Batman: The Long Halloween sees Batman (Ackles) alongside Gotham’s two uncorrupt lawmen, Police Captain James Gordan (Burke) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Duhamel), on the hunt for a serial killer known as the Holiday killer, who goes out a kills on holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Halloween, and it’s down to these three to find the clues to learn the truth.

While dealing with the city’s powerful crime families and villains, the tragic birth of a new villain and the beginning of the world’s greatest detective.

I wasn’t sure if making this a two-parter was the way to go and instead go for a feature-length narrative. However, I’m glad to be wrong because this film stays faithful to the source martial and creates something new.

Starting with screenwriter Tim Sheridan who had the mental task of adapting the comic book and while the search for Holiday is the A plot, Sheridan focuses on two important elements, family and the downfall of Dent.

Sheridan lays the groundwork terrifically for Dent in part one, so when he becomes Two-Face it’s even more tragic, and the theme of family comes down to one question.

Would you work with bad people to do good things?

It’s a question that’s brought into light as Batman as to work in some way with Calendar Man, a performance that Dastmalchian delivers so wonderfully it’s fucking creepy.

It’s terrific to hear Ackles return to DC (having become a fan favourite for his performance as Jason Todd/Red Hood) as a Batman in his second year. His voice reminds me a lot of younger Jason O’Hara as we watch him grow and develop throughout the doubleheader.

What works well is his chemistry with Rivera’s Catwoman, she brings out just a lighter, almost playful side of Batman, and it’s just a shame we’ll never get the chance to see that grow.

Rivera kills it as Selina; it was the perfect casting. She’s the best Catwoman we’ve had in these films and I will say it’s emotional hearing her voice.

While these performances are great, nothing can take away from the MVP role Duhamel plays because it was gripping every time he was on screen. You’re watching this man getting continually pulled to breaking point seeing first-hand the law having no control in Gotham. It’s when he becomes law that things start making sense.

When it comes to his Two-Face voice, there was a lot of inspiration from Richard Moll’s portrayal from Batman: The Animated Series.

Like Superman: Man of Tomorrow and Justice Society: World War II before it, I’m so glad this film is following Butch Lukic’s design because it’s so stylish and beautiful that’d it’s unrivalled at this point.

Finally, I need to shout out Michael Gatt because it created the best score I have ever heard in a DC Animated movie; it’s up there with the great Shirley Walker. I truly hope when they listen to it, filmmakers get him involved in their projects and I think the upcoming HBO Max Batman: Caped Crusader would be perfect for him.

Both parts have end credits scenes to stay and watch, especially Part Two’s.

Part One & Two Bonus Features

Both parts have classic cartoon episodes and look at films already out.

Part One includes a dope action DC Showcase short called The Losers.

In the case of Part Two, we get a DC Showcase short focusing on Blue Beetle. Director Milo Neuman, writer Jeremey Adams and producer Jim Krieg must’ve had an absolute ball making.

The short is a homage to the classic cartoons they watched as kids with the main one being 1967’s Spider-Man that came to my mind.

Image via DC Comics

Ultimately, this is a funny, mental, tripping balls experience that I loved from start to finish. I would love to see HBO Max give them the green light to make more because it would find its audience and be beloved.

Part Two also looks at the next DC Animated film as they’re adapting the highly popular game and comic series, Injustice. The Elseworlds civil war story between Superman and Batman splitting the whole DC Universe.

Verdict

Another top-notch DC Animated movie, The Long Halloween is the perfect ride and adaptation of the graphic novel with terrific performances and writing.

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