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Film Review

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Part Two (2021)

IMDB link for part One, IMDB link for part Two
Running times: 1h 25min & 1h 27min
Directed by Chris Palmer
Written by Jeph Loeb (based on the graphic novel by), Tim Sale (based on the graphic novel by), Tim Sheridan (screenplay)
Starring Jensen Ackles (voice), Josh Duhamel (voice), Naya Rivera (voice)

Batman: The Long Halloween is an animated entry in the cinematic DC universe, split into two 1.5 h parts. While the first part is actually quite decent, and both films have a nice art style, the second part drags the whole down by being painfully mediocre.

DC’s animated superhero films are a guilty pleasure of mine; when I am bored and want to watch something relatively brainless with some action and no real requirement for realism, they usually fit the bill. Calling them guilty pleasures is not entirely fair, either; while most of them are mediocre, and some of them are outright bad, there are surprisingly good movies in the bunch. The ones that I remember being particularly watchable include Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010), and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013). DC’s animated films are usually pretty graphic and dark in tone, which suits me fine. I would say that at least the above three examples are easily better in terms of quality than DC’s (mostly) dreadful live action catalogue — not that this is a high bar of comparison.

Insert joke about Bat Credit Cards or some such nonsense here
Catwoman ends up saving Batman quite a few times

Let us move on to The Long Halloween. First, the positives. As already stated, the two films have a nice art style, reminiscent of film noir, and the first one is decently atmospheric with a good low-stakes mystery plot. It is always refreshing when the whole world (or even the universe) is not in danger of being invaded or destroyed. Part Two is such a disappointment it sullies Part One as well: while I liked Part One, I can not recommend watching it, as it is only half of the story, and the story is executed poorly in the end. I think there was effort put into this, and it is nice that it is a detective story (Batman being known as “the world’s greatest detective”), but ultimately the positives did not outweigh the negatives for me.

These two clowns were merely annoying, but despite of that, they would have beaten Batman if it weren’t for Catwoman
The gangsters were more enjoyable villains than most of the others the film throws at you

The presentation of Batman, especially in Part Two, is not what you might expect: he is portrayed as almost laughably incompetent, constantly in need of saving by Catwoman. I suppose it is a good thing that the hero is portrayed as vulnerable instead of invincible, and supposedly could lose, but when it happens so often and so stupidly, it becomes an annoyance. The voice acting, while not bad, is nothing to write home about either. There is also rather pointless repetition; we get to see Bruce’s parents murdered again, we get Two-Face’s origin again, etc. This is a larger problem with comic books and their adaptations, of course, but at this point it is really becoming tedious to see the same events again and again. The two films also cram way too many villains into the story for my liking.

The Joker makes an appearance, of course. Though, to be fair, his appearance was done well
Two-Face gets his origin story told, again

While Part One is somewhat entertaining and had potential, Part Two was not fun to watch even under the influence. To be completely fair and honest, I can not recall all the details that I could complain about, but that might be a blessing in disguise. Despite all the incompetence displayed by Batman, it all comes together very conveniently, characterized by the ending. The writing worked fine for the first part, but part two just had way too many moments that took me out of the movie with its stupidity.

“What an egghead”
There are too many villains, and they all seem to get the upper hand against Batman at one point or another

Despite my negativity, I must say that The Long Halloween films are not the worst to ever come out in their genre, not even remotely. I just cannot recommend this to anyone who is not a huge fan of Batman or DC’s animated films. With that said, judging by a cursory glance at IMDB and Youtube comments, it seems like most people did like both of the films — at the time of writing Part One has 7.2 and Part Two has a 7.1 rating on IMDB.

Rating for Part One: 6.5 / 10

Rating for Part Two: 4.5 / 10

Times I had seen these films prior to this viewing: 0

Would I want to rewatch these films? No

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