“The Long Halloween” by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale has always been one of the greatest and most iconic graphic novels of all time, and for good reason. It presented the horrific transformation of Gotham City by marking the end of the organized crime families and showing the rise of super-villains in their place, further signified by the tragic downfall of Harvey Dent and his transformation into Two-Face. Despite it being a major influence on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and Fox’s Gotham, it was only a matter of time before a proper film adaptation would materialize. Just like with “The Dark Knight Returns” and “The Death and Return of Superman”, the decision was made to split the film into two parts, which considering the massive scope and very dense nature of the original 12-part maxi-series, was absolutely the right decision as it allows the story to breathe naturally and soak up the mystery of the Holiday Killer and take it in piece by piece as it unfolds. Part One set everything up perfectly, and Part Two provides the perfect pay-off, resulting in one of the best DC animated movies ever made.
Writer Tim Sheridan does a solid job in sticking largely to the original graphic novel whilst also being unafraid of taking some necessary divergences and alterations along the way, which arguably makes this adaptation effective enough to stand on its own. When it comes to Part Two, the main driving force of this second half is Harvey Dent and his transformation from a determined, head-strong DA to a broken nihilist in Two-Face, diving deep into his broken mental state. Josh Duhamel’s brilliant dual vocal performances of both clashing personalities (clean and straightforward as normal Dent and deep and gravely as big bad Harvey) definitely harkens back to Richard Moll’s terrific voicework in Batman: The Animated Series. Special mention also goes to former Supernatural star Jensen Ackles, who provides a more vulnerable and nuanced take on the Caped Crusader, as well as the late Naya Rivera in her final film role as a much more empathetic Catwoman.
Ever since this new universe of DC Animated Movies started last year with Superman: Man of Tomorrow (also written by Tim Sheridan), it was like it received a new injection of life again following the rather mixed quality of the previous universe of animated films starting from The Flashpoint Paradox until Apokolips War. Ever since then, we’ve had three consistently strong entries with Man of Tomorrow, Justice Society: World War II and now this two-part adaptation of The Long Halloween, which has been carefully adapted with excellent precision and care, as well as being gorgeously animated and well-performed by a solid cast. Not only is this two-part movie one of the best animated Batman movies ever alongside Mask of the Phantasm and The Dark Knight Returns, it’s also one of the best Batman movies ever made period.
Out now on DVD and Blu-Ray