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Review: Batman: The Long Halloween (2021)

Batman: The Long Halloween Part One & Part Two (2021)

Directed by: Chris Palmer

Premise: A two-part animated film based on the graphic novel. Batman (voice of Jensen Ackles) teams with Gotham City Police Captain James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent(voices of Billy Burke and Josh Duhamel) to bring down the mob while a mysterious killer assassinates members of the Falcone crime family.

What Works: There have been a lot of live action Batman feature films, some of them good and a few that were terrible but some the Caped Crusader’s most consistent and most underappreciated movies have been animated. This format lends itself well to superheroes in general and Batman in particular and Batman: The Long Halloween is among the most impressive of these animated features. At its root, The Long Halloween offers a sample of everything that viewers look for in a Batman movie. The story includes appearances by most of Batman’s major adversaries including The Joker, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, and Catwoman as well as the requisite superhero action sequences. But The Long Halloween also possess a film noir quality that none of the live action films have ever achieved. It fits well here. This is a story about corruption and the morality of vigilantism and The Long Halloween possesses a complexity in its characters and in its narrative and themes that has eluded many of the Batman live action movies. It also has moments of poignance. A lot of superhero films tend to be busy and loud but one of the outstanding qualities of The Long Halloween is how quiet it can be. The filmmakers show good judgement and allow the drama to play without overdoing it. The Long Halloween is also outstanding as an animated feature. It has a particular visual style that is distinct from Batman: The Animated Series and synthesizes the sensibilities of a graphic novel and a feature film.

What Doesn’t: The Long Halloween is based on a graphic novel that was originally published in 1996 and 97. That story was quite popular and parts of it were used in various live action Batman feature films, mostly notably 2008’s The Dark Knight. As a result, many story elements of The Long Halloween are very familiar. Although The Long Halloween is presented in two parts, neither episode stands on its own. This is a three-hour film that has been split in half. While there is a logical division point between the two parts, they have to be watched as a whole.  

DVD extras: Each part of The Long Halloween is sold separately and each episode includes an animated short, previews, and two episodes of Batman: The Animated Series.

Bottom Line: Batman: The Long Halloween is an impressive superhero adventure. Many elements of its story have been seen in other Batman movies but they are done well here and The Long Halloween has moments of drama that are more resonant than a lot of live action superhero films.

Episode: #875 (October 31, 2021)