Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is an absolutely stunning adaptation of the classic comic book series from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. In a Gotham city ruled by organized crime, The Dark Knight faces a mysterious killer who cannot be stopped by brute force or terror. He learns to be a real detective, where everyone is suspect, and the murderer’s motives are just as baffling. Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One reaches a level of film noir storytelling and art that surpasses anything we’ve seen to date in genre animation. He is truly captivating with complex characters and an unpredictable plot. Tragically, the film also marks the final performance of the talented Naya Rivera. Who died shortly after completing her voiceover as Catwoman.
The story begins with a tense encounter. Bruce Wayne (Jensen Ackles) turns down an overture from powerful Mafia boss Carmine Falcone (Titus Welliver). That night, Halloween, a close associate of Falcone is found murdered. The killer left behind an untraceable gun, a pumpkin lantern, and oddly used a bottle nipple as a silencer. Captain James Gordon (Billy Burke) and Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel) meet Batman on the rooftop of the compound. The last thing they need is a war between crime syndicates. Catwoman (Naya Rivera) makes an appearance to entice Batman. There is something important she needs to show him.
A few weeks later, on Thanksgiving, the killer strikes again. The city simmers as the target’s allies seek revenge. Batman, Gordon, and Dent realize that a more insidious plan is underway. The list of suspects is too long. They need more information to understand what is going on. Batman decides that a different approach is needed for the investigation. He unleashes a terrifying opponent that dramatically raises the stakes in a bloody match.
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is inspired by the pinnacle of gangsters. Carmine Falcone is almost the spitting image of Marlon Brando’s “Don Vito Corleone” in The Godfather. I have to believe that a royalty was paid to use his image. The character is outwardly threatening. He rules Gotham City with an iron fist, but has many enemies. The killer is apparently after the Falcone Empire. But Salvatore Maroni (Jim Pirri), a mob competitor, could also be in the crosshairs. Batman must navigate a labyrinth of bastards, psychopaths and betrayals. Part of the fun of the movie is deducing who in the Thieves Gallery is part of the killer’s plot.
The animation and the action scenes are fantastic. Everything is ultra-stylized in a dark 1930s gangster ethic. Cars, crowd henchmen in fedoras and blazing machine guns make The Untouchables seem like Chinatown. The filmmakers expertly capture comic book sets with true cinematic flair. They paint a dark mystery canvas with a captivating hero who actually works to progress. The Batman pictured here does not use advanced technology. He’s not exactly JJ Gittes or Eliot Ness in a hood, but a tough ass kicker who needs to increase his investigative skills.
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One has tantalizing subplots that thicken the soup. Harvey Dent plays a big role. Like Catwoman, who goes into hiding, Selena Kyle’s relationship with Bruce Wayne adds another tangled element to the narrative. Writer Tim Sheridan (The Death and Return of Superman) has time to establish some serious depth of character. We get to know the players in complex ways, which ultimately leads to the mystery at the heart of the story.
It’s obvious from the title that you’re on a cliffhanger. Raise your expectations because it’s a doozy. The fans will be chomping at the bit for Part 2. Warner Bros. Animation may have delivered the best animated film in the DC Universe. I loved Justice League: Doom, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, and Death of Superman. After my first viewing, I think this movie is superior; but it is true that I always bask in its afterglow. Stick around during the credits. Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is available digitally and on DVD / Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The second part will be released on July 27, 2021.
Topics: Batman: Along Halloween
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