BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN PART ONE (2021) First reviews and overview

 

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Batman: The Long Halloween Part One is a 2021 American animated film and the first half of an adaptation of the 1996-1997 comic book series. The original thirteen-issue DC comic book limited series was written by Jeph Loeb with artwork by Tim Sale.

Directed by Chris Palmer (Superman: Man of Tomorrow; Voltron: Legendary Defender) from a screenplay by Tim Sheridan (Superman: Man of Tomorrow; The Death and Return of Superman; Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost series; Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost; Spooksville Freak Files series).

Produced by Jim Krieg (Scooby-Doo! The Sword and the Scoob; Wonder Woman: Bloodlines; Batman: Gotham by Gaslight; Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy) and Kimberly S. Moreau (Justice Society: World War II; Superman: Man of Tomorrow; Batman: Soul of the Dragon; Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) with Butch Lukic as supervising producer.

Part One will be released on June 22, 2021, on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital and has been rated PG-13 for “violence, bloody images, language, and some smoking.”

Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two will be R-rated – for some violence and bloody images – and released On-Demand on July 27th 2021 and on Blu-ray + Digital on August 10th 2021.

Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) stars as Batman/Bruce Wayne with the late Naya Rivera (Glee) as Catwoman/Selina Kyle.

Ackles previously played Jason Todd/Red Hood in the animated film Batman: Under The Red Hood (2010). Rivera, who died last year in a tragic boating accident, had obviously already completed her voice work.

The remaining voice cast is Josh Duhamel (Transformers) as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke (Most Dangerous Game) as James Gordon, Titus Welliver (Bosch) as Carmine Falcone, David Dastmalchiann (The Suicide Squad) as Calendar Man, Troy Baker (Batman: Arkham Origins) as Joker, Amy Landecker as Barbara Gordon, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, Jack Quaid (Star Trek: Lower Decks) as Alberto, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy and Alastair Duncan (Spider-Man) as Alfred.

Plot:

Christmas. St. Patrick’s Day. Easter. As the calendar’s days stack up, so do the bodies littered in the streets of Gotham City. A murderer is loose, killing only on holidays. The only man that can stop this fiend? The Dark Knight. In a mystery taking place during Batman’s early days of crime-fighting, Batman: The Long Halloween is one of the greatest Dark Knight stories ever told.

“Working with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant James Gordon, Batman races against the calendar as he tries to discover who Holiday is before he claims his next victim each month. A mystery that has the reader continually guessing the identity of the killer, this story also ties into the events that transform Harvey Dent into Batman’s deadly enemy, Two-Face…

Reviews:

“This is a classic Batman comic book/graphic novel that I thought would be hard to adapt as a film, quite frankly […] not only did they pull it off, they’ve potentially made a Batman on film classic out of it.  I’m not BS’ing when I say I sat spellbound and captivated watching it — I don’t know if I even blinked.  Loved Part One, and I can’t wait to see the rest of it and how it concludes in Part Two…” Batman on Film

“It’s clear the best is yet to come with this adaptation of The Long Halloween, but Part One is suitably atmospheric and exciting in its own right. The animation style from recent DCAU movies like Superman: Man of Tomorrow and Justice Society: World War II remains the new look for this world, and with some great backdrops, it’s a style that feels well-suited to the Dark Knight’s world.” ComicBookMovie.com

“With an atmospheric mood punctuated by thrilling set pieces, The Long Halloween is one of the most effective DC Universe Animated Original Movies yet, faithfully adapting what made the original story so great while quietly updating elements to better fit the times.” CBR.com

” …Wow! I never imagined the story would be adapted so well, I even felt compelled to put on captions to read along like it was a comic book. Jensen is Batman! Enough Said! […] Your gonna enjoy it hard!” Drop the Spotlight

“This was a solid Part One, and an unexpectedly restrained Part One, leading me to believe this was just the calm before the storm of Part Two.” DVD News Flash: The Reviews

“For fans, there’s a lot to pick up on, but even casual audiences will be able to keep up. The central mystery, the identity of the Holiday Killer, isn’t solved. How that mystery is preserved, however, still makes for a satisfying (if gory) end to the act […] Even knowing where it’s going I am looking forward to the second part, and that’s always a mark of a good adaptation.” Eye for Film

Batman: The Long Halloween Part One had a lot to live up to with the source material’s status as one of the best Batman stories ever, but Palmer, Sheridan and the rest of the team more than met the bar with what is easily one of the best Batman films to date, both live-action and animation. The cast is stellar, the animation is rich and the mystery is given a compelling focus.” Flickering Myth

“The voice cast might be the strongest ensemble assembled for a Batman project […] Long Halloween Part One ends on an ideal cliffhanger as Batman is still no closer to solving the mystery as the killer is still on the loose causing mayhem […] If Part 2 is as good as this installment, The Long Halloween might stand as the best Warner Bros. Home Animation adaptation yet.” Lyle’s Movie Files

” …it is clear that there is a lot to work with the amazing material that they have, and it doesn’t seem to translate with what we’ve got. Or at least, that’s just my initial impression from Part One […] It was paper-thin at best, bland, and uninspired, but still somehow enjoyable for the most part.” Reel Simon

Related:

Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two

Image credits: Warner Bros./DC

Trailer (Part One):

Trailer (Part Two):

Clips:

MOVIES and MANIA verdict:

Batman: The Long Halloween Part One is a strong adaptation of one of the best Batman stories. The voice parts, striking animation (with nice attention to background details, including several snow-covered scenes, and a cracking fight scene in Chinatown) and an engaging mystery, with plenty of red herrings, all work together to create an instant classic. And R-rated Part Two promises to be even better!