Dean Winchester as Batman/ Bruce Wayne and The Utopian as Harvey Dent
A refreshing change of pace from the usual superhero franchise
Part I has some pacing issues
Batman: The Long Halloween is a two-part animated movie based on the 13-issue limited series published by DC Comics in 1996 to 1997. Following a mystery murderer hunting down the mobsters of Gotham, it is up to the three pillars of Gotham’s justice system to uncover who this person is: Police Captain James Gordon, District Attorney Harvey Dent, and the Batman.
Away from the usual superhero movie themes of Good vs Evil, villains vying for world domination or destruction, The Long Halloween deviates from that track and pulls us to the plagues that have been inflicting the heart and soul of Gotham. Crime families and mob bosses controlling the underworld and everything above in Gotham and how one character personally takes on the role as executioner to seemingly clean up the city.
In a city where crime runs free and deep, is it wrong for someone to want to wipe that stain off the streets?
Our story focuses on the character “Holiday”, the vengeful spirit that only conducts killings of Gotham’s underbelly on… holidays! Perhaps the character is too busy at work on other days (making them very relatable to the rest of us watching), thus only being able to carry out the deeds on holidays. Spanning from one Halloween to the next, the string of murders envelops Gotham in the supposed long halloween.
Instead of allowing Holiday to continue thinning the criminal count in Gotham, James Gordon decides to protect the mob by amping police patrol and security for them. Even gangsters need protection once in a while right?
Popular villains such as The Joker, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, Grundy and Penguin do have their fair share of screen time in the movies in varying roles. The Joker, as expected, has some key scenes in the movies, mainly because he does not wish to be dethroned as the most famous villain in Gotham. With Holiday getting more popular, the Joker had to get in the mix to ensure that he is still remembered as Villain Numero Uno.
The true strength of Batman’s rogues gallery is explored over the course of the year-spanning long halloween. Even the revelation of the Holiday’s identity is a sorrowful surprise and we eventually get to learn Holiday’s backstory and motive.
In The Long Halloween we get to actually see how Batman puts his “World’s Greatest Detective” skills to use, albeit it takes him a whole year to actually uncover the case. As I watched the movie, I too could not guess who Holiday was, right until the reveal at the very end. The movie gives us clues and keeps us guessing, seemingly pointing us in one direction only to throw us off moments later.
Despite the lack of action typically expected of a superhero movie, I would encourage viewers to go in with the mindset of watching this as The Batman being a detective, as opposed to butt kicking, rooftop brooding vigilante that he has become. The movie, split over two parts, is well paced out and gets increasingly interesting as it progresses. For those of you who lack the patience to appreciate compound interest, you might drop out after watching the first movie, but I promise it comes full circle in the second.
The Long Halloween duology is also a fitting tribute to Naya Rivera who plays Catwoman, her character’s contribution to the movie immense as she plays a key role in partnering Batman and Bruce Waye as an equal. The first movie was dedicated in her memory.