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DC Universe Animated Original Movies (Part 42): Batman: The Long Halloween

Hello, my friends.  Things are about to get spooky, but not for the regular reasons.  Not only that, but it’ll become sinister & seriously fatal during the most festive times of the year.  Despite that foreboding sense of unease, let us venture forth as I welcome you back to another entry of…

On certain occasions, there comes a famous comic book story that this mainline series adapts.  Given its grand scope however, a single film isn’t able to cover it within its time frame.  While the Man of Steel saw his iconic early-1990s tale need a pair of movies to cover his death and resurrection, our featured Caped Crusader previously had his famous 1980s tale known as “The Dark Knight Returns” receive this treatment in order to get properly told.  For this entry, he’ll once again find himself within this two-pronged story-telling format so that his influential 13-part arc from the ’90s can finally be translated to the small screen.  As such, it’s time that I talk about the animated adaptation known as…

Based on the 1996-97 mini-series that ran for thirteen issues and was originally written by Jeph Loeb, drawn by Tim Sale & colored by Gregory Wright, this marks the third time in the series that a comic book storyline was adapted into a double feature.  Part 1, which got a PG-13 rating, had a simultaneous release on June 22, 2021 for both digital download & home video.  As for the R-Rated second part, it got its digital release on July 27 before coming out on DVD, Blu-Ray & 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray on August 10.  With writer Tim Sheridan and director Chris Palmer at the helm, what kind of overwhelming terror will our youthful Dark Knight find himself in?  Let’s take some caution with this particular celebration and find out.

We begin in Gotham City as Bruce Wayne (voiced by Jensen Ackles) is meeting with crime boss Carmine Falcone (voiced by Titus Welliver).  During their discussion, it turns out that Bruce’s parents (specifically his father Thomas) used to have a particular connection with Carmine’s dad and that he also believed in bringing “order to a world of chaos”.  When the Roman asks him about his belief, Wayne simply mentions that he “believes in Gotham City”.

We then have a quick scene where crime boss Salvatore “Sal” Maroni (voiced by Jim Pirri) is looking over his Italian restaurant.  Suddenly, a pair of hitmen pull up and open fire upon the establishment before they drive off.  Fortunately for Sal, he was among the few patrons who survived the surprise attack.

During the opening credits, we also get a few other images pertaining to the malevolent municipality.  In particular, we have a judge being paid off by gangsters in order for them to be clear of the law.  Also, a particular man named Harvey Dent (voiced by Josh Duhamel) winning the election and becoming Gotham’s newest District Attorney.  Afterwards, there’s a small group of criminals being chased by GCPD Captain James Gordon (voiced by Billy Burke) and Renee Montoya (voiced by Alyssa Diaz).  Fortunately, the gangsters are met upon by Batman who disorients them with a smoke grenade and causes them to crash into a light post before the Dark Knight swoops in to intervene.

Then on one particular night, Harvey has a discreet meeting with Johnny Viti who gives him some vital documents before taking his leave.  Afterwards, Johnny returns to his apartment and proceeds to take a bath.  Unfortunately, an assassin has managed to break in and proceeds to shoot him.  From there, the killer proceeds to not only leave the gun behind, but a jack o’ lantern as well.

Following the title card, we then transition over to Wayne Manor on Halloween night as Alfred Pennyworth (voiced by Alastair Duncan) stands outside with a bowl of candy to hand out.  However, there’s no trick-or-treaters in sight as he heads back inside before he accompanies Bruce into the study.  After Alfred informs him that “Ms. Kyle” has called him up in order to check if his phone number was real, Wayne briefly mentions that they haven’t had any trick-or-treaters for the last several years and that it’s unlikely that they’ll get one tonight, especially with him mentioning that Gotham has “fallen”.  Pennyworth says that they must be willing to pull through with “obstinate hope” before he takes his discreet leave to the surprise of Bruce himself.

Meanwhile over at the Gordon household, James is getting ready to take his children out for some trick-or-treating.  Because he’s worried about there being “too many crazies out”, he’ll take James Jr. and Babs (or young Barbara Gordon) out in the squad car.  Just as they’re about to head out, the phone rings as James answers and learns about the recent murder.  As such, he has to go to work.  His wife Barbara (voiced by Amy Landecker) tells her children that because their dad is the police captain, the entire force is depending on him.  However, Babs says that she was counting on him too as she glumly heads upstairs.

Over with Harvey, he’s just arrived back at his house and notices that the Halloween candy isn’t even on their front porch.  He soon finds his wife Gilda (voiced by Julie Nathanson) relaxing in the backyard.  He asks her if any trick-or-treaters came by their home, to which she says that she hasn’t had any and that she’s doesn’t have the energy for it.  Just as they cuddle up, they soon notice the Bat Signal in the distance.  He promises to return as soon as he can before he gives her a kiss and heads out.

Later, Dent arrives on the GCPD roof and meets up with James.  Soon enough, Batman appears as Gordon attempts to introduce the two men to each other, but he learns that they’ve already had their initial meeting.  From there, James takes out the killer’s weapon and says that Johnny Viti was murdered.  Harvey is especially upset about this since Carmine’s own nephew was on the verge of selling him out to the cops.  He then chastises Gordon for not having any officers protect Viti, especially since this was a case that he’s been working on for the past several months.  Afterwards, Batman examines the gun and recognizes it as a .22 caliber with its handle taped up and its serial number scratched out.  James also mentions that the gun used a baby bottle nipple as a somewhat effective silencer, even making the bullet untraceable.

After Gordon says that it’s unsure if a professional carried this hit out, Dent says that it absolutely was and believes that Falcone discovered his nephew was about to sell him out, thus he had his traitorous relative axed off.  Harvey continues to express his disappointment since Johnny was about to help him put Carmine and his crime-ridden family out of commission for good, to which James assures him that they’ll still bring Falcone down, despite this setback.  Afterwards, Batman asks about the jack o’lantern left next to Viti’s body since he assumes that it could potentially be important to them.  From there, James tells him and Harvey that Gotham finally has a chance to emerge from its crime-ridden status.  In order to pull it off, it’s going to take all three of them to lead the charge.  If they’re going to tear the Roman’s operations down for good, Dent will need to operate in the pubic eye while the Dark Knight handles his business within the shadows.  They can both “bend the rules” as need-be, so long as they don’t break them and that he’ll do whatever he can to keep them out of authoritative trouble.  Harvey agrees to this, with Batman confirming as well by mentioning how “two heads are better than one”.  Afterwards, he notices a familiar feline fatale observing them from afar.  The Caped Crusader then says that various leads will be coming at a fast pace and that they should keep their ears at the ready before he discreetly heads out.  Afterwards, Dent also manages to take his stealthy leave as well.

Over at Carmine’s penthouse, the Falcone family has gathered together due to Johnny’s death.  While the wives grieve amongst each other, the men proceed to have an emergency meeting with the Roman himself.  One of the members named Antoni (voiced by Troy Baker) expresses his belief that Sal was behind Viti’s murder and that he’s gunning for them.  However, Carmine says that while that’s possible, he has a stronger feeling that it could potentially be Harvey.   Antoni then excitedly expresses his desire to carry out the hit, but Falcone wants to wait before going after Dent.  However, Antoni argues that any significant delay will only make him look weak.  Unfortunately for him, that statement has put him in a bad light with Carmine as his head bodyguard named Milos Grappa proceeds to escort him towards the stairs before forcing him over the railing, causing him to fall to his death.

Afterwards, Falcone notices his son Alberto (voiced by Jack Quaid) with his crossword puzzles before telling him to take his leave.  As he heads out, he overhears Carmine informing his men that Bruce Wayne is unwilling to help them with their “large-scale structuring effort”.  As such, their assets will be moved to a highly-secure facility.

Back over with Batman, he proceeds to engage in a rainy rooftop pursuit of Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman (voiced by the [sadly] late Naya Rivera).  The chase proceeds to make its way up a clock tower and onto a subway train before culminating onto another building.  Just as the Dark Knight finally catches her, she reveals that she was actually leading him to a particular warehouse called Falcone Imports.

Once inside, he discovers a massive stack of cash that’s under Carmine’s laundering operation and that he & the police were having a difficult time discovering it.  After thanking her for the assist, he then asks her why she’s helping him out like this.  She simply exclaims “who knows” before she leans in for a kiss.  Suddenly, she notices someone watching them from the shadows as she reaches the guy and subdues him.  However, it turns out to be Harvey as Batman tells her to let him go.  From there, it’s revealed that Dent was able to reach their location due to his GPS tracker honing in on a Bat Beacon.

After sharing his amazement over finally discovering Carmine’s laundered money, he asks Batman for their next move.  The Dark Knight wants to contact James and have his fellow officers claim the money as evidence, but Dent shoots that idea down as he explains that Falcone has the mayor and the whole city assembly in his back pocket.  As such, they would only be returning his cash to him.  The Caped Crusader then says that the only way that they’ll be able to make a huge impact is to make it all vanish, but Harvey says that it’ll take several days for them to move all of that money.  From there, Catwoman offers an alternative solution as she takes out a match from her boot.  As she hands it over to Dent, she tells him to wait a bit so that she can be far-enough away from this potential ordeal.  Batman then says that he owes her before she takes her leave.  Harvey then questions if this is what it will take to finally bring Carmine down.  The Dark Knight then gives him a coin to flip and let fate decide whether he should go through with this, especially if the coin should land on Heads.

From there, it’s revealed that lady luck agreed with them as they set the money on fire before several fire fighters and police officers head over to deal with the blaze.  Over at his penthouse, Falcone sees the smoke rise from his former warehouse before he tells his men to contact Chen.  Back in the Bat Cave, Bruce overhears the newscast on his Bat Computer while looking over the pictures pertaining to Johnny Viti’s murder.

Later, Dent arrives back at his house.  As he attempts to take out the key to his front door, his newly-acquired coin falls out of his pocket as he picks it up and notices that it has two heads.  Shortly after he heads inside, a car that was overlooking the home proceeds to drive away.

As he heads out back, he notices that Gilda is missing.  He then cautiously makes his way into the backyard before he thankfully discovers her on their swing.  She asks him to stay before he assures her that even though he hasn’t been around much lately, he won’t be at his current job forever.  He then informs her that he’s getting one step closer to putting Carmine away for good before they can finally get their chance to start their own family.  She tells him that she “can’t” before he assures her that they’ll explore their options together.  Ultimately, he picks her up and begins to carry her back to the house so that they can share their own movie night.  Suddenly, their home gets rocked by a massive explosion.

Meanwhile, the bomber is being pursued by Batman within the Batmobile and several police officers.  Within one of the cop cars, a young official named Pearce (voiced by Gary LeRoi Gray) tells James that they could potentially cut the perp off.  However, Gordon wants him to keep their distance.  With the bomber barreling through an intersection, it causes a mild vehicular crash as Batman drives past it while the police are forced to deal with the wreak.

As the pursuit makes its way through a tunnel, the Dark Knight gets contacted by Alfred and informs him that Selina is approaching the manor for their upcoming date.  During the chase, the suspect named Mickey Chen (voiced by Greg Chun) opens fire as the Batmobile withstands the bullet barrage while the windshield suffers some damage.  Batman then simply tells his butler to order some bulletproof windshield before terminating his communication.

He then manages to sideswipe Chen and cause him to crash, with the chase turning into a foot pursuit that leads right into the Chinatown District.

Ultimately, Batman manages to subdue Mickey with a pair of Batarangs that disarm the fiend before wounding him in his leg.  He then tries to interrogate the perp about his attempt to bump off Harvey, but he suddenly gets confronted by a blade that spins in as he’s forced to dodge.  Following a series of shurikens (with one of them striking his side), he’s soon confronted by the rest of the skilled and armed fighters from the San Ho Hui crime organization.

A fight ensues as Batman deals with this trinity of fierce foes.  Although they provide a worthy challenge to him, he slowly manages to take each of them out with precise strikes.  However, the big guy is still able to stand tough despite the Dark Knight using some spilled barrel water to shock him with his taser. Just as the massive man is about to strike with his weapon, Catwoman manages to yank it out of his hands with her whip before she helps Batman finally best him.  From there, he notices that Mickey has ran off during the scuffle.  Thankfully, the leg wound has left a bloody path in its wake as she tells Bruce to go after the perp while she looks after the unconscious men.

Eventually, the pursuit makes its way into the sewer as Batman calmly asks Mickey to tell him who required his service in order to assassinate Dent.  However, Chen refuses to cooperate as the Dark Knight warns him that he knows “what’s down here”.  Mickey then attempts to flee, but he ends up getting captured.  The Dark Knight heads over and recognizes the muscular fiend named Solomon Grundy (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) before he orders the massive being to hand Chen over, even promising him that this perp will never set foot in his underground domain ever again.  Ultimately, Solomon complies as he throws the fiend over before taking his leave.

We then shift over to the hospital as Harvey rests up from the near-fatal blast while Gilda sits by his side.  Suddenly, a nurse named Tamara (voiced by Frances Callier) comes in to add another bouquet of flowers.  However, these roses aren’t for the wounded District Attorney, but for his wife.  Not only that, but they were sent to her by “Mr. Falcone”.  Tamara soon notices that this has upset Gilda and attempts to apologize, but Mrs. Dent just dismisses her in order to get her husband’s dinner.  Unbeknownst to the nurse, Harvey was conscious enough to overhear this upsetting moment.

Meanwhile at the Gotham Police Station, James and Batman attempt to interrogate Mickey using the “Good Cop, Bad Cop” method.  However, they’re unable to make him spill any vital piece of information regarding the bomb that blew up the Dent’s house or his group’s connection with Carmine.  The Dark Knight then starts to get aggressive as he forces Chen out of his chair, causing Gordon to intervene.  Mickey then tells them that they don’t have a single piece of incriminating evidence against either him or his criminal group, to which Renee gets called in to have him released, but not before he gets in one last piece of mockery towards their inability to crack their current case.

Afterwards, James tells Batman that he has to improve his detective skills, especially since it’s not just about catching their suspect, but also about how that person will help them in their case.  After all, Mickey’s a small-time enforcer for Falcone and gets the benefit of his protection.  Gordon also mentions how despite what Chen thinks, Harvey’s not a murderer, especially since he doesn’t own a gun.  As such, he uses the method of Occam’s Razor (“the simplest explanation is usually the right one”) and deduces that Carmine is the one who bumped off Viti & ordered the assassination hit on Dent.  From there, he prepares to take his leave before the Dark Knight discreetly heads out.

Back over at the hospital, Gilda also departs just as Tamara arrives to give Harvey a Thanksgiving meal.  However, she soon discovers that he somehow escaped.

We then shift over to Falcone’s penthouse as the family is having a Thanksgiving party.  Over in the kitchen, Carmine is making his spaghetti sauce while talking to Alberto about being thankful for their health and their clan.  When his son reminds him about their kin getting bumped off, the Roman rebuts by mentioning that he’s taking care of Johnny’s death by hiring Mickey.  Alberto then says that Harvey is still alive, to which Carmine says that he’s allowing it for now.  He then blames the way his son is approaching this situation on his Oxford education before asking him when his “independent thought” has actually contributed to their family.  Alberto then says that he sent some flowers to Dent’s hospital room under their family’s name in order to ease some suspicion off of them.  This angers the Roman as he grabs his son and starts to choke him for speaking out “on behalf of this family”.  He then tells Alberto that he’ll never be allowed to eventually succeed him as the head of the Falcone crime family before he shoves him to the ground and says that he’s “weak”.  From there, Carmine tells him to stay away from both Harvey & Gilda before he returns to his spaghetti sauce.

Unbeknownst to them, Catwoman was overhearing them for a while before she ultimately takes her leave.  Back on the ground level, Harvey is standing across the street from the building.  During his drive home, James (having been notified of Dent’s disappearance) spots him and stops by.  Gordon offers to take him back to the hospital, but Harvey declines.  James then tries to invite him over to his house for Thanksgiving dinner, but Dent refuses.  Gordon then asks him why they’re even here, to which Harvey says that he’s unsure before he realizes that he’s not “ready for this” and decides to head back.  Before he takes his leave, James then gives Dent his handgun in order to protect himself and his kin.

We then shift over to the Falcone family having their Thanksgiving dinner.  Carmine then gives a toast to the entire clan that’s still around and those who aren’t.  Over within the Chinatown District, Mickey reunites with the rest of the San Ho Hui as they celebrate his release over some beers.  Back with James, he finally arrives home, only to discover that his kin have gone to bed and that his Thanksgiving dinner has been left out for him.  Over at Wayne Manor, Selina is about to have a celebratory supper over there as Alfred takes the turkey out of the oven.  Soon enough, they discover that part of it is missing.  It turns out that Bruce has left some food for Grundy as the massive being gladly accepts the meal.

During all of this, we have intercutting moments of the mysterious murderer prepping another gun for a deadly task.

After all of that, the killer arrives at the Chinese restaurant that the San Ho Hui members are having dinner at and proceeds to gun down every last one of them before leaving the weapon next to a traditional Thanksgiving cornucopia.

We then shift over to Arkham Asylum during the Winter season as Batman and James are en route towards a particular cell mate.  As they walk past several notable villains within their cells, Gordon assures the Dark Knight that the police is out on a full-force patrol tonight.  As for the familiar faces that they stroll by, the Caped Crusader mentions that he originally wanted them in Gotham Penitentiary, but Dent ultimately made the call to have them sent here.  From there, Batman and James arrive at the cell containing Julian Day a.k.a. Calendar Man (voiced by David Dastmalchian).  He mentions that he’s fully-aware of the holiday-themed killer and that it’s Christmas Eve before he gets asked who was behind Viti’s murder.  He says that it’s the same one who axed off Chen before he elaborates by explaining that both are connected to Carmine.  However, it’s not Falcone since he’s not into using stealth.  As such, it could be someone who wants to tear down this “Roman empire”, particularly Sal Maroni.  Afterwards, he then brings up another possibility as he mentions how Harvey is currently not with them, possibly unaware that they’re at Arkham.  As such, he lists Dent as a potential suspect who’s “intelligent”, “calculating” and is currently trying to “take down Carmine Falcone”.  While James tells him that Harvey isn’t a killer, Julian says that maybe “he’s leading a double life” like Batman.  The Dark Knight then wonders why he was invited here and that he’s not interested with his batch of craziness.  However, Calendar Man tells him that despite his efforts to clean up all of the crazy within Gotham, it’s ultimately a “joke”.

Suddenly, Batman has a horrifying realization as he runs over to a particular cell and forces a guard to open it up.  However, that inmate has escaped and discovers from the smelly false figure that this fiend is going after Dent.  The guard then admits that he helped that criminal escape in order for his child to be spared from fatal harm.  Afterwards, James arrives and also learns that the D.A. is in danger.  As such, Batman takes his hasty leave.

Over at the Dent household, the Christmas tree is being decorated with devilish ornaments and lights by the Joker (also voiced by Troy Baker).  Just then, Harvey arrives as he’s shocked to find the Clown Prince of Crime within his humble abode.  He then reaches his drawer, only to discover that the firearm is missing.  However, the Joker has it in his possession.  Ultimately, he begins firing it at him as Dent is forced to take cover behind a couch.

Meanwhile, Batman is speeding towards the house in his Batmobile as Alfred informs him about a “Santa clown” terrorizing three different families, each of them having the surname of Dent.  Back over with the Joker, he continues his gun-crazy assault before the firearm ultimately runs out of bullets.  Harvey then takes advantage of this ceasefire and tackles the fiend before delivering a series of punches to his face.  However, the Joker subdues him with a kick to the groin before he reveals that he also has the Holiday killer’s gun.  He then tells a “joke” where he assumes that Harvey “is more that he appears to be” and that he’ll bump off Gilda should he find out that Dent is a “homicidal maniac”.  From there, the Joker proceeds to pistol-whip Harvey in the face as the D.A. loses consciousness.

Later, he wakes up to find Batman in his presence and gets asked where the Joker went, to which Dent proceeds to tell him that it’s to Maroni’s restaurant.

We then shift over to Sal carrying a Joker-fied body into the trunk of his car.  Suddenly, he’s met upon by the Dark Knight who quickly subdues him.  After Batman asks him what happened, Maroni gets up and explains that the Joker reached his establishment before he & his men arrived.  From there, he took out the entire staff and poisoned his fagioli. Thankfully for Sal, he wasn’t hungry.  Unfortunately for his henchman named Freddy, his appetite did him in.  Batman then asks why the Joker allowed him to live, to which Maroni says that he’s unsure aside from the fiendish clown holding him up at gunpoint while mentioning “that he’s cracking down on interlopers”.  As he shows Freddy’s body to the Caped Crusader, Sal mentions how ever since the Dark Knight initially appeared, several abnormally looking fiends have also been popping up.  Batman then demands to know where the Joker has gone to, to which Maroni says that it would probably be Falcone’s place if he’s the one behind the Holiday murders.  From there, the Dark Knight takes his discreet leave.

We then shift over to Falcone’s penthouse as Carmine is asleep in bed while the Joker creeps up on him.  He’s able to hear the Clown Prince of Crime approaching and takes a gun out from under his pillow, but he soon discovers that it’s empty.  Somehow, the Joker managed to take the bullets out of the firearm.  Meanwhile, Batman makes a speedy dash towards their location in the Batmobile.

Back with the Joker, he’s tied up Falcone while gleefully going through his closet.  He then tells Carmine that he’s not going to kill him, due to the fact that it’s Christmas.  However, the Joker does want him to share any vital update regarding the murderer known as Holiday.

As he’s about to take his leave, Milos comes out of the bathroom and sees that his fellow men have been Joker-fied.  Upon seeing the fiendish clown, he proceeds to chase after him as they make their way towards the stairs.  As they make their way down, a shootout erupts between them before Milos shoots an adjacent window open with the Joker using it to make his escape.

Once Milos heads outside, he notices a trail of playing cards consisting of only Jokers.  Unfortunately for him, he’s soon met upon by Holiday and gets murdered.  By the time that Batman finally arrives, he only comes across Milos’ corpse, alongside Holiday’s gun and a snow globe.