When it comes to the illustrious history of DC animated films, there haven’t been too many of them that have been released in two parts. Prior to Batman: The Long Halloween, there had been Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and The Death and Return of Superman. And much like those latter two mentioned, The Long Halloween has now joined the Deluxe Edition club. The concept is pretty self-explanatory, insofar that Parts One and Two have now been released as one seamless cut, with additional content that will be touched on a bit later in this review.
Now, I’m not going to critique the main feature as much as I usually would because a fair amount of those reading this have probably already seen Parts One and Two when they were originally released last year. But I’m not going to ignore the fact that others are going in fresh, so I can’t forget them. So, to set the record straight, I’ll go over why this Deluxe Edition is worth checking out after discussing the plot for a few minutes.
As you imagined, Batman: The Long Halloween is based on the classic comic book arc of the same name. In fact, I’d say Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s masterwork is among the best stories to feature the Caped Crusader ever written. This flick isn’t a 1:1 translation but does a solid job when it comes to adapting the material to film and keeping the spirit of the book. It will definitely surprise you at certain points, yet it doesn’t stray so far from canon that you will fill your rage diaper.
In a nutshell, the story follows Batman in his earliest years of crimefighting, when a serial killer named Holiday begins knocking off Gotham City’s mobsters on a major holiday each month. This causes panic amongst all dwelling in the metropolis, and the Dark Knight is tasked with unraveling the first real mystery of his career. Not only that, but the tragic origin of Two-Face is explored, along with Gotham’s underworld transitioning away from traditional organized crime in favor of “freaks.” That’s right, Joker, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, and Solomon Grundy are chief among those joining the mayhem – much to the chagrin of Carmine Falcone. On top of that, the romance between Batman and Catwoman goes deeper than in the comic.
Let me say that Jensen Ackles does a fantastic job lending his pipes to Batman. I still hear his voice in my head when Red Hood appears in comics, but his Batman has the right amount of gravitas to make the two distinguishable. My best guess is that he will next pop up in 2023’s Justice League: Warworld, though I would certainly welcome more appearances.
The Deluxe Edition clocks in at just under three hours, making it almost as long as The Batman. Fortunately for this particular picture, it’s pretty much as good as its live action sibling. My only real gripe is that this baby sometimes moved along a little slowly. This is something I kind of felt when viewing the two separate parts last year, but it became more apparent in one sitting. Granted, it’s not like director Chris Palmer dwells on scenes as if this were Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but I think you will see what I mean when you check this out for yourself. Perhaps more of Michael Gatt’s score would’ve helped move things along, although I suspect the creative team was just trying to build the requisite film noir tension.
The bridging of Parts One and Two is well done to the point that new viewers won’t notice the transition. When it comes to the “additional mature content” that had been touted in the official press release, I think it’s referring to the inclusion of some Holiday murders not included in the original cuts. I watched the originals about only two or three times each, but I swear some of said Holiday slayings had been previously skipped. Additionally, I’m reasonably certain there are more touches of gore in certain scenes.
Unlike the two prior home video releases, this bad boy actually includes a decent documentary. “Batman: The Long Halloween – Evolution of Evil” sees the aforementioned Jeph Loeb and the filmmakers discussing the source material and the feature film itself. Also included are four episodes of Batman: The Animated Series – “Two-Face, Parts One and Two,” “Christmas with the Joker,” and “It’s Never Too Late” – which I believe were the same included last time around. But hey, at least they’re all in one place now.
So, should you purchase Batman: The Long Halloween Deluxe Edition? If you don’t already own Parts One and Two for yourself, then I’d say you should. If you already own them, it matters how rabid of a fan you really are. If a few minor additions to the film itself entice you (I’m actually someone that would fall into this category), then have at it. Then again, there’s also the documentary that may inspire you to double dip, along with the ability to now view it in 4K as part of the combo pack. I’m aware of how we must really be choosy about how we spend our money in the current economic state, so you will just have to weigh these options as to how they relate to you personally. Either way, I’m more than ready for a follow-up in the form of Dark Victory.
Batman: The Long Halloween Deluxe Edition
A worthy addition to the shelf of any mature Bat-fan. Jensen Ackles knocks it out of the park in this film noir tale chronicling the Dark Knight's first real mystery.
- Viewable in one sitting
- New documentary
- Available in 4K
- Moves along a little slowly at points