BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART ONE Review

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SYNOPSIS: 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.


Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?

BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART ONE is simply fantastic.

Of course, I’ve only seen half the movie so far as it’s being released as a two-parter.  Regardless, it’s the best of the straight-to-home/animated Batman films from Warner Bros./DC to date.  If PART TWO is as good or better — and I’m going to assume the latter — BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN will be in the conversation as not only the best animated Batman films but one of the best Batman films, period.

As the synopsis says, BTLH1 is an “inspired by” adaptation of the classic graphic novel by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale.  Thus, it’s not a film that is essentially the comic book brought to life panel for panel, word for word like BATMAN: YEAR ONE or BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

And that’s a good thing.

Writer Tim Sheridan does a fantastic job of evoking the spirit of the graphic novel while delivering something new.  The story is basically the same: A serial killer who strikes on holidays is loose in Gotham and a triumvirate of justice — GCPD Captain Jim Gordon, D.A. Harvey Dent, and the vigilante crimefighter known as The Batman — are on the case.

However, their problem is that the “Holiday Killer” is taking down people close to Gotham’s top mob boss, Carmine “The Roman” Falcone.  And therein lies the triumvirate’s conundrum as before the Holiday Killer began to strike at the Falcone Family, Gordon, Dent, and Batman’s number one focus was bringing down The Roman and releasing Gotham from the grip organized crime has on the city.


 

The Batman’s list of suspects is broad as a lot of people have a reason to be going after The Roman.  There’s even one suspect that The Dark Knight — who is still early in his crimefighting career — doesn’t want to be on his list: Harvey Dent.  Not only is D.A. Dent a target of the Falcone Family, but something seems a bit off with Harvey of late.  Would Harvey Dent take the law into his own hands to protect himself and his wife Gilda?  The answer to that question is one that Batman may not want to learn.

Other potential culprits include various rival mobsters (that’s a given) and even Falcone’s young son, Alberto.  Seems that the old man doesn’t think too much of his boy and considers him weak.  Does Alberto despise his father and the “family business” enough to commit murder?

And then there’s one other suspect, the Clown Prince of Crime himself, The Joker.

The Joker is indeed a serial killer, but is he really a “serial killer?”, you know what I mean?

Nonetheless, The Joker showing up in TLHP1 was a great side addition to the story. The showdown, if you will, between The Joker and Batman provides a great action sequence that is kinda-sorta a nod to BATMAN ’89.  You’ll get what I’m saying when you see it.

Catwoman/Selina Kyle…of course she’s in it!

Not only does Catwoman have something going on with Batman, but apparently Selina Kyle has something going on with Bruce Wayne as well.  Catwoman is still “Catwoman,” but she’s also Batman’s ally — the only one on the “dark side” that can help where Gordon and Dent cannot.  And what’s her relationship to the Falcone Family?

The entire voice cast was great.  There was not one performance that made me scratch my head or think was a bit off in terms of the character they were portraying.

The film looks beautiful — major props to all the artists that were involved.  The backgrounds are especially well done and give off a dark, damp, and yes, noir vibe.  There is also something different, but cool, about the characters themselves.  The black outline around each gives it a bit of a comic book/motion comic feel which I thought made the characters jump out a bit more than usual in these sort of animated movies.

Speaking of the artwork, no, Tim Sale’s classic style is not recreated for the film.  However, not only is Mr. Sale’s work straight-up acknowledged in the credits, there are hints of it throughout the film here and there.  For example, The Joker does indeed have 472 long-ass teeth!



Hell, all I’ve got left to say is bravo and well done to all the folks involved with BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART ONE!  This is a classic Batman comic book/graphic novel that I thought would be hard to adapt as a film, quite frankly.  I’m glad I was wrong because not only did they pull it off, they’ve potentially made a Batman on film classic out of it.  I’m not BS’ing when I say I sat spellbound and captivated watching it — I don’t know if I even blinked.  Loved PART ONE, and I can’t wait to see the rest of it and how it concludes in PART TWO here in a couple of months. – Bill “Jett” Ramey

GRADE: A+


Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the all-new feature-length BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART ONE arrives on Digital & Blu-ray on June 22, 2021.  CLICK HERE for all of BOF’s BTLH coverage.  CLICK HERE to order.