From Mask Of The Phantasm onward, we have had a fine selection of DC Universe movies featuring Gotham City’s favourite/darkest son. My top picks would be Under The Red Hood and The Killing Joke, as I am especially fond of the Bat when he faces up against his greatest and most maniacal foe, The Joker. Thus, The Long Halloween has everything I want in an animated movie. And it treats the audience as adults too, hence its 15 certificate and warnings of ‘Strong violence and bloody images’. As with the other greatest Bat stories, much of this is implied rather than seen, but your own imagination is always going to be bloodier and scarier.
The Long Halloween is titled thus as it features the Holiday killer, who, as his name suggests, strikes on America’s most sacred days. This means that the good guys know when the next slaying will be, but not where or who or by whom and so it plays out like Seven or Silence Of The Lambs, even featuring Batman travelling to Arkham to ask for help from his mortal enemies. These scenes are ultra tense and dark as holy hell, which is exactly what I want from my Bat movies, so I was applauding greatly as I realised we were about to get to the smiliest maddest villain of them all…you know him. And it was worth the wait.
The other side of this layered film, is essentially The Godfather as we see how Falcone and his ‘Family’ has taken over Gotham and are willing to do anything to get what they want. My advice here is not to get too attached to any of the b-characters when there are superheroes, supervillains and the mafia all in the cooking pot of the city, waiting to boil over. The tension is built to the top and then…again, it is worth the wait, no spoilers, Jack!
The third and most human story being told is between Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle, and Batman and Catwoman. These scenes are made even more poignant by the excellent performance as Catwoman by Glee’s Naya Rivera, who the film is rightly dedicated to, following her tragic death last year. If she were alive, I would suggest her character’s torment and heart breaking decisions would be some of the most interesting of the whole piece, but knowing this is the last time we will ‘see’ her on screen is even more agonising.
The Joker fuelled climax is worth the price of admission (er, disc price?) alone and I cannot wait to revisit this tale and see how it plays out when part two releases…*sits and waits*