MOVIE REVIEW: Batman: The Long Halloween

Synopsis: There is a new villain in Gotham City, one who is systematically attacking members of the Falcone crime family on holidays throughout the year. An early in his career Batman (Jensen Ackles) forms an alliance with Commissioner Gordon (Billy Burke) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel) to try and figure out who the Holiday killer is and take down organized crime in Gotham City, once and for all. As the year goes on and there are more deaths at the hands of the Holiday killer, Batman starts to unravel a mystery that brings together all of his Rogues Gallery, his past, and Gotham City’s future into one screaming, chaotic jumble that only he is strong enough, and smart enough, to unravel. Can he figure out who the Holiday killer is and help save Gotham City’s soul in time?

Breakdown: I must confess, considering that The Dark Knight is one of my favorite movies of all time, I am embarrassed to admit that I knew nothing about The Long Halloween and how much that story really impacted the story of Christopher Nolan’s second Batman film, and informed some of his other Batman movies as well. From the scene of Batman, Gordon, and Dent making a pact to take down organized crime on the roof of GCPD to Scarecrow riding a horse to “I believe in…” being a recurring phrase, to a prisoner transport being used as bait to draw out a villain, to the birth of Two-Face, Nolan’s Batman films are full of references to The Long Halloween.

Going into these animated Batman movies with little knowledge of the source material has been honestly really enjoyable for me. I recently watched Batman: Hush and enjoyed the movie even though fans of the source material didn’t enjoy the creative liberties the filmmakers took. The same can be said here, but even more so. I really enjoyed Batman: The Long Halloween, and am excited to watch The Dark Knight again now that I know more about the story that film drew inspiration from.

In truth, The Long Halloween is actually two animated movies, each one running about 90 minutes in length. And for the most part, I’d say 90% of those 180 minutes were needed. There were several times where reactions from characters took longer than they should have or silent stretches of movie went on for too long, but I don’t see how you can do this story justice with just one 90 minute movie, so I’ll forgive the awkward stretching of time.

At the heart of this movie is the question of the longevity of Batman’s career. Batman has been around in pop-culture for so long, it is easy to forget that his quest for vengeance always started as a finite thing; something with a definitive end. And the heartbreaking thing is, just when he saw that end coming closer, it was taken away from him because of mistakes that he made.

The voice acting was almost on par with the voice acting in the seminal Batman: The Animated Series, with a standout being Troy Baker’s uncanny impression of Mark Hamill’s Joker. I mean, if you can’t get the real thing, you really aren’t sacrificing much by using Baker. Duhamel also does an admirable job as both Harvey Dent and his alter-ego Two-Face, making the former a very likable, stand-up guy and the latter a truly deranged psychopath. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the late Naya Rivera, who voiced Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and did a fine job breathing new life into the character.

A lot of these animated movies are rated PG-13, and this one really leans into the rating. From the Joker cussing when a play goes awry to characters dropping f-bombs to some pretty violent scenes, every inch of that PG-13 rating is used but doesn’t seem gratuitous or unnecessary. This is a dark, gritty world, and those added elements help make it seem more realistic, at least to me.

Verdict: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Batman: The Long Halloween was an unexpected delight for me. Gritty and captivating, the central mystery was a shock to me when the film reached its denouement, and left me thinking about the implications to the character and the world he inhabits long after the credits rolled. Its no wonder Christopher Nolan pulled so much inspiration from this story for his Dark Knight Trilogy; this story grapples with what makes Batman tick in a way other stories have tried but haven’t been able to accomplish with as much grace and tragedy before or since. Great voice acting, excellent animation and a gripping story; The Long Halloween is one of the best Batman animated films I have ever seen.

Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward SwordSuper Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.

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