Review: Batman The Long Halloween Part 1 (2021)

Atrocious serial killings on holidays in Gotham send The World’s Greatest Detective into action – confronting both organized crime and a mysterious murderer – in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One, the next entry in the popular series of the DC Universe Movies is available to buy in physical and digital formats now.

PLOT AND STORY

Inspired by the iconic mid-1990s DC story from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One begins as a brutal murder on Halloween 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.

REVIEW

Based on my favourite Batman comic of all time I was optimistically nervous about this adaption. When I learned that the feature would be written by Tim Sheridan and directed by Chris Palmer most of my nerves disappeared. Was I right to wipe away my fears purely based on the writer and director’s name? Yes! Yes it was, because having just finished watching the movie I think they did a great job in bringing Sheridan’s modern tone with his light hearted humour I have become used to in his current run on the comic book series Teen Titans Academy while Chris Palmer delivered the same high tempo, fluid sequences I enjoyed in the movie Superman: Man of Tomorrow

The story is very closely aligned to the original comic book with some subtle changes in the details and I really liked this. It’s always difficult to adapt someone else’s work as you want to create something new and original but you need to keep that core story and tone to connect with its fan base and I think this balance was spot on. 

The animation continues in a new format we experienced in the last two animated movies which has a very different style to that of which we were used to in the last DC animated series. This style looks more like comic pages coming to life and is similar to the TV show Archer. Its fresh colours and bold black character outlines certainly creates a distinctive feel and it is winning me over with every movie.

One of the biggest questions on my mind going into this movie was, is this set in the new DC animated universe? Although we are not given any crossover with the other movies I feel that the answer is yes, which makes me very excited because this movie gives us a brand new, young Bruce Wayne who is maybe into his third or fourth year of fighting crime in a cape and cowl. This fits perfectly with our new Superman we met in Man of Tomorrow and Barry Allen/Flash in Justice Society WWII setting some really solid foundations to our new Justice League. Jensen Ackles does a wonderful job stepping up as Batman with similarities to the likes of Kevin Conroy and Jason O’Mara whilst giving his own uniquely strong tone to the character.

CAST

Lauded for his performance as Red Hood/Jason Todd in 2010’s Batman Under the Red Hood, Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, Smallville) returns to the DC Universe Movies as the title character of Batman/Bruce Wayne. The late Naya Rivera (Glee), who passed away in 2020, gives one of her final performances as Catwoman/Selina Kyle. The all-star cast includes Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Las Vegas) as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke (Twilight, Revolution, Zoo) as James Gordon, Titus Welliver (Bosch, Deadwood, The Town) as Carmine Falcone, David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad, Ant-Man, Dune, The Dark Knight) as Calendar Man, Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Knight) as Joker, Amy Landecker (Your Honor, Transparent) as Barbara Gordon, Julie Nathanson (Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay) as Gilda Dent, Jack Quaid (The Boys, The Hunger Games) as Alberto, Fred Tatasciore (American Dad!, Family Guy) as Solomon Grundy and Alastair Duncan (The Batman, Batman Unlimited franchise) as Alfred. Additional voices provided by Frances Callier, Greg Chun, Gary Leroi Gray and Jim Pirri.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

Batman: The Long Halloween is a triumphant movie which pays respect to the source material while standing on it’s own two feet. Seeing the pages of my favourite Batman comic come to life is a dream come true and I am eternally grateful to the entire creative team for doing such a wonderful job making this movie. It’s Batman learning to be a detective surrounded by a vast array of his rogues gallery in a tale of mystery and intrigue leaving you guessing at the end with no idea who the killer will be. A sneaky post credit scene will have you counting down the days for part 2 to be released.

I watched this via an advance preview screener issued by DC/Warner Bros Entertainment and received no incentive to review this movie. All images and artwork are courtesy of DC comics and Warner Brothers and their respective owners.

%d bloggers like this: