BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART ONE Review; "Jensen Ackles Proves To Be A Perfect Pick For The Dark Knight"

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is set to be released on June 22 on digital download, DVD, and Blu-ray, but does this animated movie do Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's iconic comic book storyline justice?

Batman: The Long Halloween is a classic comic book storyline that’s long overdue for an animated adaptation, and the decision to split it in two feels like the right one. However, if you’re familiar with the source material, you’ll no doubt be all too aware that it doesn’t really heat up until the second half. As a result, it often feels like Part One is killing time for what promises to be a far more exciting and ambitious second chapter, but there’s still plenty to love in a movie that does a solid job of laying the groundwork for what comes next while successfully exploring what makes these heroes and villains tick. 

We haven’t seen Part Two yet, but it’s hard to escape the feeling that the best way to enjoy The Long Halloween will be in one sitting. Despite that, this movie successfully introduces many of the key players, introducing a compelling murder mystery and an action-packed final act that features a classic Batman vs. Joker battle which expands on the source material in an effective manner. Tim Sheridan’s (Reign of the Supermen) script does feel padded out at times, but also successfully fleshes out the characters and scenes it needs to in order to take this classic comic book storyline and make it an exciting viewing experience for fans at home. His character work is strong, and the insight into where Batman was at this stage of his career and Harvey Dent’s home life are appreciated. Director Chris Palmer (Superman: Man of Tomorrow) seems to have a great handle on what’s needed to make Gotham City feel like a dangerous place, and delivers heaps of terrific visuals and fight scenes that ensure you’ll walk away satisfied. 

It’s the voice cast that really makes this adaptation of The Long Halloween stand out, though. After playing Red Hood over a decade ago, Jensen Ackles brings Bruce Wayne and Batman to life in a way that makes us feel this is a role he should have been given the chance to take a shot at long before now. Just like the Supernatural alum once made Jason Todd his own, it’s easy to imagine DC fans being unwilling to accept anyone other than Ackles as the DC Animated Universe’s Caped Crusader after this movie. He’s that good. 

Part One boasts a huge supporting cast, but rest assured that no one disappoints. Troy Baker’s Joker gives some serious Mark Hamill vibes, while Josh Duhamel is a perfect match for the stoic, do-gooder Harvey. Titus Welliver is also suitably intimidating as Carmine Falcone, but it’s David Dastmalchian who steals the show with just a single scene as Calendar Man. Equal parts terrifying and creepy, we’re certainly hoping to see more of his interpretation of the villain, and even more excited to see what he brings to the table as The Penguin in Part Two

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. As for whether this works as a standalone feature...well, the clue is in the title. Part One’s job is to set the stage for the grand finale (which, unlike this instalment, will boast an R-Rating), and that means it doesn’t quite soar the way we’d hoped. There’s certainly plenty to love, and one heck of a cliffhanger, so stick around after the credits as there’s a tease that perfectly sets the stage for things to get really nuts. 

Jensen Ackles proves to be a perfect pick for the Dark Knight in Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One, a movie that feels like a precursor for an even better second half, but still makes for a mostly satisfying experience. 


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