Release Date: 27.07.2021
Voice Actors: Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, Troy Baker, Laila Berzins, Billy Burke
Director: Chris Palmer
Batman: The Long Halloween – Part 2 continues the story of Batman, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and District Attorney Harvey Dent as search for the Holiday killer who has been killing important people on holidays. Most of Holiday’s victims have been in some way or the other associated with Gotham’s crime boss Carmine Falcone. For a fleeting moment, Batman and Jim Gordon were convinced that the killer was Falcone’s son Alberto but they were proved irrevocably wrong when Alberto met with a terrifying end in the final moments of the first instalment of the story.
Part 2 starts of oddly. It feels detached from the previous instalment and a whole new beast as we see Bruce Wayne under the clasps of the nefarious Poison Ivy. This portion of the film is so atmospheric and different from the rest of it that it feels like watching a different film altogether. Apparently, Bruce has been under the influence of Ivy for months and she has been making him sign off his properties to Falcone. It becomes apparent that Ivy was sent in after Bruce by Falcone. Soon Catwoman aka Selina Kyle arrives at Bruce’s mansion and after a brief physical altercation with Poison Ivy, she is able to knock her down and free Bruce from her control. Springing back to his senses after months under the influence of Ivy’s tropical magic, Bruce renews his search for the Holiday Killer.
Harvey Dent, on the other hand, is gradually slipping into a self-induced euphoria. His relationship with his wife, Gilda is deteriorating by the day. He is unable to nail Falcone even though he knows all too well about his crime syndicate. He is also unable to find the Holiday killer and starts doubting Bruce Wayne to be the killer. He even goes and investigates the man but has to return empty-handed. However, things look momentarily bright for him when the Holiday Killer kills Maroni’s father and he decides to go against Falcone and become a state witness. Sadly things don’t play out as per plan.
Bruce is exorcising his own ghosts. He is disillusioned at his newfound knowledge of how his father may have collaborated with Falcone and his father. This breaks his heart as he believes that Thomas Wayne might have been influential in ensuring Falcone the position that he enjoys today. As he dwells deeper into his memories to understand the course of action that his father took, He is once again consoled by the voice of reason, Alfred. His alter ego, Batman is dealing with his own issues including his recent proximity to Selina Kyle, the Catwoman. Selina is herself trying to find out about her past from the lone surviving family that she has, Falcone.
Falcone has lost his son and no matter how strong an exterior he shows, he is broken and battered from the inside. He is planning his assault on breaking down the apparatus that is going after his criminal enterprise but at the same time wants to keep his daughter Sophia out of harm’s way. His way of doing that is not welcomed by Sophia as she believes that he is just pushing her back because of her gender. Soon a time comes when Sophia not only proves her worth to the family but also gains her place in the room where the big boys sit to decide the fate of Gotham.
Last but not the least, Dent’s wife Gilda always depicts a calm, composed, and sometimes sidelined version of her character but varied things point to the fact that she might just be having a much richer and darker history with whatever was happening in Gotham. There are subtle nudges here and there that point to the fact that she might know more about the Holiday Killer and might have a much more laid-out relationship with Falcone than what meets the eye.
Part 2 culminates the “Long Halloween Story” in a manner that will leave the viewers exasperated. There is just so much to absorb here in terms of the story, character development, and drama that it feels like a live-action magnum opus. The characters are rendered in such an effective manner that it becomes impossible to not take them seriously and as genuine human entities. Therein lies the biggest strength of the film. I could feel love, hate, tension, and thrills pertaining to the characters and the situations that they were in. This not only made me revere the animation and the astute writing but also made me aware of how well envisioned and laid out the story and the situations were.
The animation style in the previous instalment stuttered in a frame or two but here they have taken care of every little detail and ensured that the emotions and the drama of the narrative flow through the images. The dialogues are kept to a minimum and a lot of attention is paid to how the mannerisms of the different characters can be developed and used to evoke emotions and convey character traits. They have been successful in ensuring that the audiences feel in a certain way that the characters are feeling and that in turn ensured that the screenplay was ever so gripping.
Many sights The Long Halloween to be one of the best Batman stories ever told and after sitting through these two films, I agree. The story is so intriguing and dramatic and has so many layers to it that it becomes impossible to not pay attention to what is happening on screen. At its core, it is a whodunit thriller and the central plot is about unmasking the Holiday Killer and the reason behind his killing spree. The film never loses focus of the primary plot element but on its way, it deals with a plethora of human emotions and predicaments that adds so much more to the character development and the story arcs of the different characters involved in the narrative. It also deals with the emotional state and stake that each of these characters has in the narrative and how it all impacts the search for the killer.
There isn’t much to add in terms of the voice talents that I haven’t mentioned in my review of Batman: The Long Halloween – Part 1. I just felt that the voice actors got a little more comfortable with their rendition of the different characters and the approach got a lot more organic in this part. Troy Baker as the Joker is there only for a few frames and yet effortlessly steals the thunder from most of the other voice actors. The reason for that is just the kind of writing that his character gets and the dialogues that he is supposed to mouth keeping in line with the character of the Joker. The way he gets beat by Batman and how he reacts to his hopeless situation with rib-tickling comic lines was hilarious. Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent and Two-Face leaves an indelible impact on the film.
The two parts of the Long Halloween should be watched together in one sitting. I feel that would be the best way of enjoying this utterly beautiful and cerebral masterpiece that transcends the border of being an animated film and turns into a lot more. Few live-action films have the kind of emotional depth and dramatic impact that this film has. One has to give due credit to the artist and the voice actors who are successful in bringing to life these characters most organically and realistically. The story is one of the greatest that we have in the Batman lore but in the hands of a lesser rendition-er, it might have lost its potency. For that and a lot more, one has to applaud Chris Palmer for his astute direction. The Long Halloween is easily one of the best DC animated films and a must-watch for the fans.
Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)
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