88 / 100
Watchable Minutes : So this is a two movie review, but I’m going to treat them as one really long movie. If you watch it that way, it’s a long three hours so I’d say that there’s about 150 minutes of need to watch content. If you watch them with some time in between, then they are two 90 minute movies and that would make them 100% watchable.
Trailer Comparison : The trailers for The Long Halloween are very representative of the full length movie. What you see is enough to garner interest, but not so much that it spoils the story.
Movie or Film : Another comic book adaptation, another movie. I’ve yet to chuck one of these into the film bucket.
- Run time : 3 hours
- Studio : DC Animated Studios
- Director : Chris Palmer
- Where to Watch : Rent or Purchase
A new killer stalks Gotham on Halloween night and returns to claim a new victim every holiday after. At the behest of Commissioner Gordon, Batman allies himself with Harvey Dent. They begin to tackle the case from two angles, with Harvey operating inside the law and Batman outside of it.
Dear DC, if you’re reading this and I know you are, please please please just put your entire animated writing team on the live action universe team instead because they know how to make a movie. Justice League Doom and The Flashpoint Paradox are some of my favorite animated movies of all time (here’s the rest of them if you’re interested) and I think that they would absolutely nail a live action adaptation. They’ve had some duds for sure, but not nearly as many as the live action department. I’m sure my pleas will go unanswered, so here’s my review.
Batman : The Long Halloween is the adaptation of the original graphic novel of the same name published from 1996 to 1997, written by Jeph Loeb and inked by Tim Sale. It stands as one of the more popular Batman graphic novel runs and is the perfect beginner to mid level introduction to the world of comic books if you’re in to those. For fans of the original novel and for just fans of Batman in general, I think that The Long Halloween will be satisfying and worthy of the rental price. The story places Batman in Gotham as usual, working on individual cases and taking on small time criminals. I always inferred that Bruce was early in his Batman career when I read the graphic novel and the way that the writers adapted it to animation made it seem like I was correct. His isn’t quite “The World’s Greatest Detective” yet in this story, but he is damn good at his job. There’s plenty of mistakes and angles that a more seasoned Batman would have examined closer, but that’s why this is such a good movie. It shows the flaws and mistakes that Batman makes with every holiday that passes and how he overcomes them. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again : a good mystery story is one that you solve alongside the characters, not after they figure everything out and are explaining it to the villain Scooby-Doo style. That’s precisely what The Long Halloween does well, making the audience feel like they’re working alongside Batman to find the killer.
The casting of Jensen Ackles as Batman was something I was a little hesitant about. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was a little bit of a Supernatural junkie back in 2014 – 2017. I would watch it with my then girlfriend (now fiancé) when we would hangout on the weekends in my parent’s basement. We watched all the way through season 8 I think and during that time I grew to admire the ferocity that Ackles put into each episode, regardless of the storyline or the quality of the episode, but I wasn’t sure that he could pull off Batman. I was pleasantly surprised as he put the same ferocity into his Bruce Wayne / Batman and it really showed. I think he’s a great follow up to the legendary Kevin Conroy and I’d like to see him do more work as the World’s Greatest Detective in future projects. Partnering with Ackles is Josh Duhamel, who played Harvey Dent / Two Face. Again, I was a little leery of Duhamel voicing such an important character in this story, but he impressed me as well. The remorse in his voice as he left his poor wife at home to go and tend to the case was real and his anguish as Two Face was believable. The one person I was not surprised by was the ever talented and overworked Troy Baker. The man can literally do everything, from video games to animation to live action and never disappoints. The rest of the supporting cast is so so, nothing that really stood out to me as being incredible, but make no mistake was anybody bad or off putting.
As for the look and feel of the movie, the animation style is heavily outlined and gritty. It all feels alive, like you’re watching the grown up version of the original animated series. In a way, that’s really what we got, only with a less mature Batman. There were times where you could tell they cheaped out and it made some scenes look stiff. Maybe it’s because I’ve been spoiled by Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli where there’s constant life and movement in every scene. It just felt off here and there. If you’ve read the graphic novel, I’m sure that you’ll appreciate the opening credit sequences that showcase art from the actual comic panels. It was a neat touch and showed the attention to detail on making this story come to life on the silver screen. The sound design was punchy and meshed nicely with the animation style. I don’t think that the score really made an impact on me because I can’t even remember what it sounded like.
This two part story will satisfy long time Batman fans by being a faithful adaptation to the beloved graphic novel and will delight new fans who have not yet experienced this kind of Batman story. The superb adaptation work, excellent main cast, and compelling story is well worth the run time and is another painful reminder that DC is capable of making a good movie when they feel like it.