The Long Halloween
review by Bobby Blakey
Warner and DC Entertainment continue to have a strong game with their animated feature films. They have been bringing some iconic stories to life including The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns. Now they are taking on The Long Halloween series from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, but could this latest iconic series brought to life deliver the goods or will it be a holiday not worth celebrating?
Batman: The Long Halloween follows a brutal murder on Halloween that prompts Gotham’s young vigilante, the Batman, to form a pact with the city’s only two uncorrupt lawmen (Police Captain James Gordan and District Attorney Harvey Dent) in order to take down The Roman, head of the notorious and powerful Falcone Crime Family. But when more deaths occur on Thanksgiving and Christmas, it becomes clear that, instead of ordinary gang violence, they’re also dealing with a serial killer – the identity of whom, with each conflicting clue, grows harder to discern. Few cases have ever tested the wits of the World’s Greatest Detective like the mystery behind the Holiday Killer.
It’s been forever since I read this series but once again it appears they have knocked it out of the park sticking pretty close to the source material. I was a bit bummed the art style wasn’t closer to something honoring Sale’s work, but it still works. It is similar to the main animated Universe they have been doing with its own twist and stands out just enough to still do the story justice. It offers up some elements that were very Hitchcock like in their framing to help create more of the mystery of the murders and trying to figure out who Holiday is.
Instead of the usual action packed Batman adventure this one plays up a more noir tone as he struggles to solve the mystery. There is plenty of action
thrown in, but that just isn’t what this movie is working towards and I love it for that. I have always enjoyed more of the detective side of Batman and this story also focusing on the younger days of the caped crusader makes for all kinds of fun and intrigue. The story is obviously about the mystery of Holiday, but also serves as some origins for other characters as well including Harvey Dent’s journey to Two-Face.
The film features a great voice cast including Jensen Ackles who returns to the DC Universe Movies as the title character of Batman/Bruce Wayne. The late Naya Rivera, who sadly passed away in 2020, gives one of her final performances as Catwoman/Selina Kyle. The all-star cast also includes Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as James Gordon, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone, David Dastmalchian as Calendar Man, Troy Baker as Joker, Amy Landecker as Barbara Gordon, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, Jack Quaid as Alberto, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy and Alastair Duncan as Alfred.
In addition to the film this release offers up two cartoons from the vault as well as an advance look at the next animated film Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two, the new animated short film featuring The Losers and 2 cartoons from the vault. Grab your copy of Batman: The Long Halloween Part One when it hits digital and Blu-ray on June 22nd from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.