Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition, 2022
Directed by Chris Palmer.
Featuring the voice talents of Jensen Ackles, Naya Rivera, Josh Duhamel, Billy Burke, Titus Welliver, Julie Nathanson, Troy Baker, Jack Quaid, David Dastmalchian, Fred Tatasciore, Alastair Duncan, Katee Sackhoff, Robin Atkin Downes, John DiMaggio, Laila Berzins, Jim Pirri and Amy Landecker.
Inspired by the iconic mid-1990s DC story from Jeph Loeb and the late Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition begins as atrocious serial killings on holidays in Gotham City send The World’s Greatest Detective into action – confronting both organized crime and a unified front of classic DC Super-Villains – while attempting to stop the mysterious murderer.
Last year DC and Warner Bros. Animation adapted Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s groundbreaking Batman: The Long Halloween into two animated feature films. Now fans can view them both in one film, combining the epic and ambitious tale in one of the best Batman stories brought to screen.
Taking place fairly soon after Batman has started his war on crime, specifically targeting Gotham City’s notorious mafia don Carmine ‘The Roman’ Falcone, a serial killer has emerged but rather than killing innocent citizens they are instead assassinating members of the Falcone crime family and their associates on a holiday each month. As Batman teams up with Captain Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to take down Falcone and stop the Holiday Killer, the rise of Gotham’s superpowered ‘freaks’ threatens to tip the scales even more against Batman.
As you can see from my full reviews of each part of The Long Halloween here and here, the adaptation is among the best of DC’s animated features that tackles Loeb and Sale’s classic story faithfully while screenwriter Tim Sheridan finds room to make changes or explore new areas and character relationships. Supernatural‘s Jensen Ackles leads a great cast and his take on Batman and Bruce Wayne is one of the best attributes to the film as he makes Batman intelligent, menacing and vulnerable, finding an excellent distinction between Batman, Bruce and Bruce’s playboy persona.
Other standouts among the cast are the late Naya Rivera giving a playful and emotional performance as Catwoman, Titus Welliver making Falcone even more of an evil slimeball and Josh Duhamel delivering a terrific portrayal of Harvey Dent’s tragic downfall to villainy.
As for the Deluxe Edition itself, the combined runtime of over 2 1/2 hours flows pretty smoothly with plenty of action scenes interjected between the character building moments and the compelling mystery to keep things moving. The transition from Part One to Part Two is also near seamless and is in fact better than some of DC’s other combined two-parters like The Dark Knight Returns.
The 4K and Blu-ray presentation is crisp with the imagery popping off the screen. The film noir influence really shows off the detail of the characters and atmosphere of Gotham City, setting itself apart visually from Superman: Man of Tomorrow and Justice Society: World War II even with the same style as DC’s new animated continuity. The action is smooth with great and energetic choreography between Batman and his villains, whether they’re the superpowered rogues or a group of highly skilled mob assassins. The Deluxe Edition really shows how much care and attention to detail Sheridan, producers Butch Lukic and Jim Krieg, director Chris Palmer and their whole team put into adapting one of the best graphic novels to ever hit the shelves.
The only bonus feature included is the all new 25-minute documentary Evolution of Evil that sees Loeb, Lukic, Sheridan and clinical psychologist Drea Letamendi, Ph.D. discussing the book’s themes and why it is so groundbreaking. A lot of time is spent examining the story’s secondary conflict as Gotham slowly goes from the control of the mob to control of the rogues gallery with Loeb describing Holiday as a “marriage” between the gangs and freaks.
Letamendi also discusses the psychology behind Batman’s mindset in Long Halloween, how a person who has had a lifetime of trust issues after the death of his parents decides to put his trust and faith into Gordon and Dent only to be let down in one of the worst ways after Dent’s transformation into Two-Face as well as the motivation behind Holiday’s killing spree. It is a very interesting and in-depth documentary and it’s great to hear directly from Loeb so much on his thought process behind his story. Time is also paid to examine and praise the late Tim Sale’s gorgeous artwork after his recent untimely passing.
It’s a shame there isn’t a commentary from Palmer, Lukic, Krieg and Sheridan to really celebrate the Deluxe Edition and go even more in-depth into their adaptation, but Evolution of Evil strikes a nice compromise and they discuss a wide range of of topics regarding the book and film. Also included are four episodes from Batman: The Animated Series which are the two-part origin ‘Two-Face’, ‘Christmas with The Joker’ and ‘It’s Never Too Late’.
Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition is a fantastic combination of the two-part film into one. It really emphasizes how strong both parts work and puts it on par with some of the best Batman and DC films, live-action included, with how strong the story, characters, writing and animation is. Even if you already own the individual parts, the Deluxe Edition is more than worth the double dip to view The Long Halloween as the masterpiece it is.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.