[Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Halloween Daily News with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this article. The opinions the author shares are his own.]
Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two is the epic conclusion to the year-long mystery of the Holiday Killer, but it’s also the end of an era of organized crime in Gotham City and the dawn of a darker new time, when disfigured madmen rule the dark alleys and a masked vigilante must become a detective.
Originally published in 1996-1997, the 13-issue comic book story The Long Halloween, by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, follows a serial killer who murders people on every holiday for a year, from Halloween to the next Halloween, and it also features many of Batman’s iconic villains as he investigates the murders over the course of that year. It’s still early in Batman’s crimefighting career and this is his toughest case so far, the first that can’t be solved by brute force and drive.
This is the case that changes Batman, after mistakes are made and he, like the audience, is sometimes wrong about who the Holiday Killer is.
Voiced by Jensen Ackles, this Bruce Wayne is stoic and serious, not the playboy he will later pretend to be. Bruce has not yet fully separated his public persona from that of the Batman, a theme that looks like it will also be a big part of 2022’s live action The Batman movie.
As teased in the Part 1 after credits scene, we catch up with Bruce as he is under the spell of Poison Ivy, voiced by Katee Sackhoff, who is keeping him off the streets, mindlessly signing away assets to the mob, and intimately tangled up in her vines through Valentine’s Day.
The bat signal is lit again on St. Patrick’s Day, but no one answers, while April Fools’ Day brings an unexpected friend to the rescue.
In telling the origin story of Two-Face, The Long Halloween makes clear that Gotham City district attorney Harvey Dent was battling his darker half long before we was horribly scarred on half of his face, but he’s pushed over the edge by a multitude of combining forces. Gotham’s ruling mob family the Falcones and their like are being exterminated, as a new breed of villains makes their way out of Arkham Asylum to take the city as their own.
Played by Josh Duhamel, Dent is a decent man with a good heart who is trying to do some good in a very bad town without “crossing the line” too far to ever come back. He is also soon Batman’s prime suspect of the holiday killings, but this is a long Halloween, when disguises are the norm and nothing is what it seems.
Many of Batman’s fan favorite villains appear on Part 2, including the return of the Joker, gleefully voiced by Troy Baker, as well as the Mad Hatter, voiced by John DiMaggio, and Scarecrow, voiced by Robin Atkin Downes, all of which are freed from Arkham Asylum and waste no time wreaking havoc on Gotham.
Scarecrow’s Mother’s Day sequence involving his fear toxin is especially horror-heavy, as viewers witness a Batman that is beaten and broken by his own demons, a haunting and heartbreaking reminder of what pushes Bruce.
The late Naya Rivera is great as Selina Kyle, also still finding her way into become the Catwoman that we all know and love. Her Father’s Day sequence with Gotham’s criminal godfather Carmine Falcone, voiced by Titus Welliver, opens new revelations about her own past and the family she never knew. Carmine’s daughter, Sophia Falcone, voiced by Laila Berzins, fittingly arrives in town to surprise her dad on Father’s Day, but she’s the one surprised to see that he has resorted to doing business with some of Arkham’s former inmates.
Julie Nathanson also stars, voicing the pivotal role of Harvey’s distraught wife, Gilda Dent, along with Billy Burke as Gotham PD Captain James Gordon, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy, and David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad) as Calendar Man (and Penguin).
Long buried secrets come to light in the closing chapters, and when the climax arrives on the following Halloween, the masks come off with the shocking reveal of the Holiday Killer’s identity, as darker truths about the price of justice in an unjust world are also unveiled.
The atmosphere is thick with the motifs of each of the holidays, but October 31st obviously gets the most screen time in both Part 1 and Part 2, and the final scene is a perfectly heartwarming and emotionally powerful moment that could only happen on Halloween Night.
While the tragic descent of Harvey Dent into Two-Face is at the heart of The Long Halloween, it’s really about the fall of Gotham itself, the unlikely killer it created, and the rise of Batman.
The Long Halloween Part One is out now on Blu-ray and Digital, available to buy via Amazon here. Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two is also out now and available on Digital and on Blu-ray, from Warner Bros Animation, DC, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, available to buy via Amazon here.
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