“Batman investigates a murder spree that takes place on holidays.”

Director: Chris Palmer
Writers: Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale, Tim Sheridan
Staring: Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, Troy Baker, Billy Burke
Streaming: HBO Max
Release Date: June 22, 2021

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One (2021) is based off of a mid-1990s graphic novel written by Jeph Loeb and TIm Sale. A dreary Gotham is being haunted by a killer that strikes only on calendar holidays. The killings are complicating a crime-purging campaign that is linking a young Batman (Jensen Ackles) with James Gordon (Bill Burke) and Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel). The trio is attempting to get rid of the Falcone family and it’s leader, The Roman. Batman has to balance goals while battling familiar villains and themes.

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is another addition into the very palatable DC animated universe. Putting things pretty plainly, if you enjoy Batman and a darker theme to comic book movies, then you will enjoy this animated adventure. A loaded voice cast helps a story that flows rather simply and weaves in numerous familiar characters without too much creasing.

We get a really well written Calendar Man (David Dastmalchian) scene with Batman and Gordon, and Solomon Grundy (Fred Tatasciore) being his muttering gross looking self. Also, as is basically a prerequisite for and Batman animated movie, we do have The Joker (Troy Baker). It is not often that DC’s most well renowned king of crime is the lowest point of the movie, but such is the case for Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One.

The immersion of the Joker in the story was obvious when Batman went to Arkham Asylum to speak with the Calendar Man. Maybe it is because it came right after the great dialogue and teasing between man of dates and the man of bats, but the Joker’s escape, and our finding out of it, fell flat. The inclusion of the Joker continues till the end of the movie at New Years Eve when the maniac hijacks a prop plane to poison the celebrating Gotham Crowd. The Bat’s entanglement with his arch rival was a B-plot to the more important, and better manicured plot.

The end of Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is what holds the movie together. The story started off strong but started to fade and unravel when The Joker got involved, but in the end, a swerve saved the day. The entire Falcone story line with the serial holiday killer looked all wrapped up with an ostracized son of Carmine Falcone (Titus Welliver) is profiled as the killer. However, a shot to Alberto Falcone’s (Jack Quaid) from the gun of the holiday killer ensures that the mystery continues.

Now, is Harvey Dent the killer and therefor personifying his two-face persona? Probably. We will have to watch Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two (2021) to find out, for sure, but the evidence is all pointing that direction.

One of the other themes trickled throughout Part One is how a young Batman needs to become a better detective. There is a scene with Gordon calling Batman out on this and come the end, Batman admits to his uniformed ally that he does indeed need to get better at the investigative process. He need to be more sure before he moves in on anything…that is until his patience puts himself and someone he cares about in danger.

Can’t end Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One without a post credit scene. At the funeral for Alberto, Bruce Wayne is asked by The Roman to be part of his money laundering scene. The man of principal declines, but Mr. Falcone expected that. A new associate to the crime king is introduced and she shakes the hand of Bruce. Mr. Wayne’s eyes turn green and the free will of Gotham’s wealthiest man is in jeopardy.

STANKO RATING: B (3.5/5 Stars)

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