Picture Credit: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment/DC Entertainment
Picture Credit: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment/DC Entertainment

Say what you like about animated films for adults, but Batman: The Long Halloween Part One is yet another in a long line of animated Batman flicks that are essential viewing for anybody who considers themselves a fan of the Dark Knight.

Based on the critically-acclaimed mid-1990s story by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale, the film doesn’t take long to ramp up the action and let the audience in on the case they’ll be following, as Bruce Wayne does his all to earn the moniker of the World’s Greatest Detective.

Following his beloved performance as Red Hood/Jason Todd in 2010's Batman Under the Red Hood, Jensen Ackles makes his return to the DC Universe as the titular character. He brings a certain gravitas immediately to the role; you instantly believe that he’s got a passion for fighting crime and he has hope that one day, Gotham City can rise from the ashes and become a fully-functioning city, with minimal shady dealings and goings on. In just his second year as Batman, he still has a lot to learn…

He’s joined by the late Naya Rivera who gives one of her final performances as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, stealing the spotlight whenever she’s on screen in a nuanced but realistic display. Major props must also go to Josh Duhamel as District Attorney Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as Police Chief James Gordon and, Titus Welliver as mob crime boss Carmine Falcone.

Picture Credit: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment/DC Entertainment
Picture Credit: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment/DC Entertainment

It is the Falcone crime family that is proving to be a thorn in the sides of our Gotham heroes. They’re all waiting for the perfect opportunity to take them down but, with the arrival of a Holiday Killer who seems to be murdering and taking out anybody who may give away details that would lead to the criminal organisation falling, it’s a tougher job than predicted.

With Bats, Dent and Gordon all making a pact to investigate and do whatever they can to not only put Falcone behind bars - but to work through the often-conflicting clues in regards to the Holiday Killer and bring them to justice - we’re treated to one of the most compelling and twist-filled Batman stories of all time.

Fans of the source material will have a lot to love here. Screenwriter Tim Sheridan has done a fabulous job of adapting it for screen, with director Chris Palmer adding polish and ripping lines straight from the comics, thanks to being given the chance to tell this tale across two feature-length films. You of course don’t get every little detail that readers are afforded in the maxi-series, but all of the most important ones are there in this streamlined offering.

The design is also a little different to the dark illustrations of the original, but it actually serves to help the narrative and positioning of this particular movie.

As the tension ramps up and the pace fastens, we were utterly hooked. The only disappointing moment was when the credits rolled and we realised we had a month to wait until we would see this story reach its grand conclusion.

Batman: The Long Halloween Part One is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray Steelbook now and comes to digital on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021. Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two arrives on DVD, Blu-ray and Steelbook on July 26th, 2021 before hitting digital a day later, on July 27th, 2021.

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