Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
Batman origins stories (or at least early years stories) are a dime a dozen in the world of comics, and we’ve seen him rebooted a million times. However, outside of Year One, there is only one other graphic novel run that is iconic as The Long Halloween. Originally created by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween is a slow burn mystery thriller story spread out over 13 issues. In many ways it is a spinoff of the IDEA of Batman: Year One, but takes a more methodical and slow burn approach to the story. It showcases Batman during his very early years, back before Harvey Dent became Two Face, and Joker was just a thorn in his side.
Split into two parts originally The Long Halloween tells the story of Batman (Jensen Ackles), Harvey Dent (Josh Duhammel) and Commissioner Gordon (Billy Burke) tracking down a mysterious killer who is knocking off crime bosses during the holidays. Nicknamed “Holiday”, this killer has been eluding the crime fighters and it’s up to Batman, Dent and Gordon to play fast and loose with the rules (bending them, but never breaking them as Gordon says) in order to find out who the killer is before it’s too late. At first it seems like a case of Occam’s razor. The obvious suspect. However, that suspect soon turns up dead and every stone that Batman unearths leaves him more and more puzzled until even he begins doubting his abilities.
I hesitate to describe much more, or who shows up in the movie as it’s getting heavily into spoiler territory at that point. In many movies it’s not a big deal (really, we all know in John Wick that the puppy dies and John is out for revenge. Not a big plot spoiler), but here the mystery requires us to keep mum about a few things and just let it unfold. Needless to say this is a well crafted mystery, hearkening back to when Batman/Bruce was more of a detective than a brutal heavy hitter in later, more jaded years. It’s well paced, and everything runs so smoothly that I really was surprised that the 86 minutes were up when the credits rolled.
As with all mysteries, the characters are the heart and soul of the enjoyment. Jensen Ackles does a solid job as Bats, but there was this weird thing where you could tell he was trying TOO hard to imitate the gravely Batman voice. Billy Burke and Josh Duhammel really shine though as the other two crime fighters. The two just work smoothly on screen and you can tell the two just fall into character with buttery smooth ease. One thing of note that saddens me about this production (and makes me wonder if she’s voicing Catwoman in the second film) is Naya Rivera, who turned up dead last year in a boating accident. She was great as Catwoman, and while I don’t mean to make light of her death, I really do hope her voice work for the 2nd movie is completed, as she was perfect in the role. A good movie, it does have a few pacing issues where I felt the movie could have done better, most importantly with The Joker. Troy Baker reprises his roll as the 2nd best Joker voice actor ever and while he’s PERFECT as the clown prince of crime, Joker himself feels a bit shoehorned into the picture.
Well, The second half picks up after nearly a year of holiday killings, and the mysterious murderer strikes again. This time taking out Carmine Falcone’s rival, Marone, starting what seems to be a chain of events that will unravel the Falcone legacy. Falcone’s son in law (who happens to be Marone’s son) agrees to turn state’s evidence with Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel), but poor Harvey is in for a rude shock when he finds out that it’s all a ruse for Falcone to try and kill the district attorney.
However, things take an odd turn (or a very obvious turn) when Harvey starts hearing voices in his head. Voices that we all know is the precurser for him turning into one of the biggest villains in Batman’s gallery or rogues. Simultaneously Bats is still trying to figure out if the Holiday killer really is Harvey/Two Face, and every question leads him down a road that may not lead where he expects it to (or the audience).
The story itself is much more tightly focused in the second half (which was just "Part One" originally), mostly because part one was simply setting everything up. This is the big finale where we find out what happened to all of the clues that were left behind. Part of the movie tries a VERY obvious ploy to get us to look one way (it’s pretty obvious from the beginning that Harvey was the red herring), only to pull the rug out from under us at the very end.
The movie takes a lot of elements from Batman lore, including the combination agreement between Harvey Dent, Gordon and Batman that we all got to see in The Dark Knight, then crafts it into a murder mystery that sets up Dent to become his infamous self, all the while intertwining another subtle mystery that is hidden in the main one. A good story that plays out well, even if it’s never “perfect”.
Rated R for some violence and bloody images
4K Video: Video:
• From the DC Vault – Batman: The Animated Series – Christmas With The Joker
• From the DC Vault – Batman: The Animated Series – It's Never Too Late
• Batman: The Animated Series – "Two-Face, Part 1"
• Batman: The Animated Series – "Two-Face, Part 2"
I really enjoyed Batman: The Long Halloween. It’s a different take on Batman, focusing more on being a slow burn detective story rather than a high paced action movie. It’s not perfect, especially with some of the junctions between the first and 2nd move (watching that after credits scene is integral to understanding the first few minutes of the second half on the Blu-ray, but is seamlessly integrated into this deluxe edition). It’s long, tightly wound, and ends up with a rather satisfying payoff. The upgrade from the mediocre Blu-ray to the healthier size of a 4K UHD disc makes all the difference in the world for the video, and is definitely the version you want to see. Still the same recommendation of a fun watch, just with better video, but annoyingly missing many of the extras from the individual releases.
Starring: Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, Troy Baker, Billy Burke, Alastair Duncan
Directed by: Chris Palmer
Written by: Jeph Loeb (Graphic Novel), Tim Sheridan (screenplay)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS-HDM 5.1, English, French DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 168 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 20th, 2022
Recommendation: Fun Watch