Long story short, Batman: The Long Halloween – Part One felt like unnecessary filler – slow, lacking in incident and incredibly dull. As an animated film in its own right, it wasn’t anything to write home about. As an adaptation of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale‘s stone-cold classic graphic novel, it was a definite swing and miss! Does the second part of this two-part adaptation up the ante enough to justify the two film approach? The short answer is ‘a bit’ but only just.
Batman: The Long Halloween – Part Two is far better than its predecessor, but it’s still a slow paced and rather lifeless animated film. Director Chris Palmer ensure the atmosphere is appropriately moody and doom-laden throughout, but this comes at the expense of the plot, which crawls along at a snail’s pace across its 90 minute runtime. There’s more action here then in the first film, which does liven things up occasionally, but it’s hardly anything to write home about. It isn’t helped by the deviations from the excellent source material, which seem to take away from the overall experience rather than gain it anything of note. The mystery itself never feels intriguing or involving, and nor does the action either for that matter. It’s the graphic novel on autopilot
The cast are exceptional though, which does help matters. Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) is a good fit as both Bruce Wayne and Batman, whilst the late Naya Rivera is spot on casting as Catwoman. However it’s Josh Duhamel (the Transformers series) as Harvey Dent/Two-Face who impresses the most, heard here creating a perfect distinction between the two ‘characters’ and making the classic villain absolutely terrifying from his first appearance. More so then in the first film, the actors get much more meaty material to play with here, and the end result is some excellent interplay and impressive goal work which enlivens some otherwise dull scenes.
Like with the first film, Blu-ray extras are once again thin on the ground. There’s a fun Blue Beetle short done in the style of the 60’s Spider-Man cartoons (15 mins), some previews and a couple of episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, but that’s your lot. No commentary. No interviews. No behind the scenes featurettes. A disappointingly slim package all-in-all, which doesn’t help when the main feature is so underwhelming.
At almost three hours, this two-part animated adaptation of The Long Halloween feels misjudged and fails to capture the brilliance of the source material in any way. The voice cast may be excellent, the tone appropriately moody and dour, and some of the character designs do at least resemble Tim Sale‘s distinctive art style in this part, but everything else feels very underwhelming. The action is basic, the dialogue scenes are lifeless, the story is muddled and all the sense of mystery and intrigue from the graphic novel appear to have been sucked out.
It’s a long Halloween indeed. Perhaps too long.