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  Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two The Gotham Freakshow Gets Underway
Year: 2021
Director: Chris Palmer
Stars: Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, Troy Baker, Laila Berzins, Billy Burke, David Dastmalchian, Alyssia Diaz, John DiMaggio, Robin Atkin Downes, Alistair Duncan, Gary LeRoi Gray, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Katee Sackhoff, Titus Welliver
Genre: Horror, Action, Thriller, AnimatedBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bruce Wayne (Jensen Ackles) is in a field at sunset with the love of his life, Poison Ivy (Katee Sackhoff) and as they embrace, he could not be happier. But in reality, he has not been seen in Gotham City for three months, as Ivy has him under the spell of her toxins, convincing him he is in love with her and that he should do everything she says, such as signing away great swathes of his business to gangster Roman Falcone (Titus Welliver). What Bruce needs is help, but as butler Alfred (Alistair Duncan) is also under her spell, and Wayne Manor is choked in her plants, it will take an expert to counter Ivy's influence. And while Bruce has been absent, the so-called Holiday Killer has been continuing their murders on significant days of the year: Gotham needs Batman back.

DC's animation wing justifiably thought that the classic nineteen-nineties graphic novel The Long Halloween deserved more space than their usual one-off cartoons, so here we were with part two of one of the best whodunits the Dark Knight ever faced, one which cannily made sure to include a selection of the rogues' gallery to ensure appeal to fans and newcomers alike. That said, they did not overdo it, every baddie was there for a reason, and it wasn't a case of stuffing the plot with villain cameos that would prove a distraction to the most important aspect, Batman's deduction of the identity of Holiday. He was, after all, supposed to be a detective of a vigilante, and it made sense to see him hone his sleuthing skills on a mystery he - and the audience - could get their teeth into.

While Part One had been dominated by The Joker (Troy Baker), he was less prominent this time around, and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Dubamel), who would be transformed into Two-Face eventually, was the main focus in Part Two. There was a sort of "Three Musketeers" arrangement between Batman, Commissioner Gordon (Billy Burke) and Harvey, as they determined to take down Falcone and foil Holiday in the process, though the murderer was having great success foiling The Roman as it was, through steady and ruthless extermination of his people. This notion of legal justice as opposed to rogue justice was paramount, as Batman landed somewhere in the middle, and as this was placed early in the hero's story it saw him finding his place in the world as that self-same world was beginning to race ahead of him in its increasing insanity.

Catwoman, too, was given prominence, voiced by Naya Rivera in her final role before her untimely death, one of a voice cast of very high quality as befitting the material. She got Batman out of a jam on more than one occasion, and we are presumably supposed to lament that they drifted apart as time went on, but as it stands their relationship was one of the stronger elements, in contrast to Dent and his wife Gilda (Julie Nathanson), who is worried about her husband's violent, unpredictable mood swings. His madness encapsulated the mood in the city of Gotham: trying to do right, but fighting against demons it will take superhuman feats of mental power to overcome, and even then not everyone will be up to it. If you had not read the source, the solution would take you by surprise, but if you had, there were still additions that boosted an already high quality Batman yarn. With the hero just young enough to be making rookie mistakes, but growing mature enough to learn from them, this was a very well-realised translation of a fan favourite tale. Music by Michael Gatt.

[Batman: The Long Halloween Part One is available now. Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two is available now on Digital July 27 and on DVD, Blu-ray & Blu-ray steelbook August 9 2021.

Those disc extras in full:

A Sneak Peek at the Next Animated DC Universe Movie, Injustice - Sides are chosen and battle lines are drawn as the Earth's greatest heroes go to war... with each other.
DC Showcase: Blue Beetle
From the DC Vault: Batman The Animated Series: "Two-Face Part 1"- Mobster Rupert Thorne attempts to use Harvey Dent's secret split personality to blackmail him. But when Dent meets with Thorne at a chemical plant, "Big Bad Harv" takes over, and the resulting confrontation leads to an explosion that horribly scars half of Dent's face and his entire body.
From the DC Vault: Batman The Animated Series: "Two-Face Part 2"- Harvey Dent, now calling himself Two-Face, resurfaces and starts robbing Rupert Thorne's illegal businesses, preparing for a final confrontation with the crime boss. Batman must stop his former friend before he and Thorne kill each other.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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