Written by: Tim Sheridan
Starring: Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, Troy Baker, Titus Welliver, Billy Burke
Reviewed by: Eric Joseph
Thanks go to WB for the free review copy.
“Inspired by the iconic mid-1990s DC story from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two continues as the Holiday Killer is still at large and, with Bruce Wayne under the spell of the venomous Poison Ivy, Batman is nowhere to be found. Liberated by an unlikely ally, Bruce quickly uncovers the real culprit: Poison Ivy’s employer Carmine Falcone. The Roman, his ranks decimated by Holiday and his business spinning out of control, has been forced to bring on less desirable partners – Gotham City’s rogues’ gallery. In the meantime, Harvey Dent is confronting battles on two fronts: attempting to end the mob war while also dealing with a strained marriage. And, after an attack that leaves Harvey hideously disfigured, the District Attorney unleashes the duality of his psyche that he’s strived his entire life to suppress. Now, as Two-Face, Dent decides to take the law into his own hands and deliver judgment to those who’ve wronged him, his family and all of Gotham. Ultimately, the Dark Knight must put together the tragic pieces that converged to create Two-Face, the Holiday Killer, Batman and Gotham City itself.”
As you may remember, I gave Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One a rather glowing review back in June. Naturally, we’d all assume that level of positivity to carry over to the concluding chapter, right? Well, that’s what we’re here to discuss today.
Fear not, because Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two kicks all sorts of ass. Truth be told, it may be lighter on action than the first flick, but there’s plenty of intrigue to make up for it. If anything, Harvey Dent is the backbone of this piece, much as he was in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Likewise, he enjoys much screentime as we’re witness to the tragic origin of his Two-Face persona.
The more I think about it, many of the same compliments paid to the first installment also apply here: Jensen Ackles once again knocks it out of the park voicing Batman; you’ll be glued to your seat as this delightful crime drama/mystery unfolds; Michael Gatt’s musical score is both haunting and a pleasure to hear; and you’ll be pleasantly surprised as some deviations are made from the source material that just work for this telling of the tale.
To elaborate on that last point, I’ll reiterate how this movie isn’t a literal translation of the source material. Rather, it hits the major beats laid out by the comic book, yet can keep those intimately familiar with it on their toes. Anyone who’s up to speed knows how Alberto Falcone was, um, crossed off the list of suspects in one shocking cliffhanger last time around. However, the identity of Holiday came as no shock to me – nor should it to anyone who read the book. I think the filmmakers took that blueprint and created a very believable motive for their own Holiday.
Without giving away the killer’s identity, let me say that I don’t mind the change. Though not as earth-shattering as the changes made to animated films like Gotham by Gaslight or Hush, there’s no disappointment in that regard. In fact, I didn’t mind what happened here, or in Gotham by Gaslight. After all, Holiday was an isolated case. Changing Hush from Tommy Elliott to Riddler, meanwhile, still leaves an odd taste in my mouth, as Hush is a recurring, major villain in Batman comics. Holiday is not.
Elsewhere, expect more expansion of the Batman/Catwoman romance, which I can’t complain about at all. In fact, the groundwork is laid for these two to spend more time together in subsequent animated outings. And by the way, you’re going to want to stick around after the credits for something special that sets up more having to do with this new DC animated universe first established by Superman: Man of Tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this pans out.
As for bonus features, we’re treated to yet another Showcase short, this time with the spotlight shining on Blue Beetle. You know, this has to be my favorite since Phantom Stranger. In short, we follow the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle as he teams up with the Question for a hilarious adventure that pays tribute to superhero cartoons from the 1960’s. Hats off to the creative team.
Aside from that, there isn’t much else of which to speak. We’re given a first look at the Injustice animated movie, which looks pretty cool, as well as two episodes from Batman: The Animated Series – “Two-Face,” Parts One and Two – to supplement. As was the case last time, no documentaries are included.
There really aren’t any negatives to mention, other than the animation being somewhat choppy at times. Actually, there’s a dream sequence that doesn’t move quite fluidly right off the bat. Other than these little hiccups, I really dug this effort.
Much like any two-parter, the first installment stands alone better than the second. If I had to draw a mainstream parallel, I’d have to liken Batman: The Long Halloween to The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, insofar that Part One and Reloaded could actually be watched by themselves if the viewer so chooses. Part Two and Revolutions, however, pick up where the story had previously left off and are very reliant on their predecessors.
Having said that, Batman: The Long Halloween must be viewed in its entirety, so pick up both parts on Blu-ray post-haste. But as you no doubt surmised, I’m going to give Part Two a good score because it’s rock solid. The complete story stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Mask of the Phantasm, Under The Red Hood, Return of the Joker, and The Dark Knight Returns, and I fully plan on double dipping once a deluxe edition is released.
Now bring on Dark Victory!