In 1992, “Batman: The Animated Series” officially aired on Fox Kids starring Kevin Conroy as The Caped Crusader. It received critical acclaim from critics, fans and viewers alike. The show introduced a new generation of Batman fans including me. Before I was aware the comics, Adam West show and Tim Burton’s movies, the cartoon was my gateway introduction to DC Comics. To this day, I consider the cartoon as my favorite series of all time. Thanks to the cartoon, Bruce Timm later developed “Superman: The Animated Series,” “Batman Beyond” & “Justice League” all linked to a shared universe known as the DC Animated Universe. Even films like “Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker” & “Justice League VS. The Fatal Five” expanded the universe. Today’s DC related review is none other than “Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm.”
Batman: Masked Of The Phantasm was released in 1993. (same year Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas came out) It received positive reviews from critics, fans and movie goers alike. There are two reasons why I wanted to share my thoughts on Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm. Number One, Robert Pattinson’s take on Batman will be released this March. Number Two, Michael Keaton will reprise his role as Tim Burton’s Batman in “The Flash” alongside Ben Affleck’s version. Don’t forget it’ll come out on November 4th, 2022.
It doesn’t matter if SPOILERS are present. Many of us Batman fans know who The Phantasm’s identity.
Right & Wrong Aspects
Right: Kevin Conroy & Mark Hamill reprise their roles and they both did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Bruce Timm did an amazing job directing and producing the film.
Fun Fact: Robert Pattinson mentioned Mask Of The Phantasm as an influence for his take on The Caped Crusader.
Longtime Batman writer, Paul Dini co-wrote the script. He also co-wrote the Arkham games.
Animation retains the show’s hand drawn format. It’s more polished allowing the animators more time to put final tweaks bringing character models, fluid animation and environmental locations to life.
Before “Batman Begins,” flashbacks show Bruce’s early years as a vigilante. I’m gonna give Mask Of The Phantasm credit for inspiring Christopher Nolan’s aforementioned first entry of “The Dark Knight Trilogy.” I believe Andrea was the blueprint for Rachel Dawes who was portrayed by Katie Holmes & Maggie Gyllenhaal. The latter replaced Katie in “The Dark Knight.”
Like the cartoon, the soundtrack is heavily influenced by Danny Elfman’s score.
Chemistry between Bruce & Andrea serves as the main highlight.
Primary Themes are Love, Loss, Retribution & Duality. Each one is handled maturely.
The film is influenced by “Citizen Kane,” film noir from The 40s Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” and “Batman: Year Two.”
Pacing felt normal for a 76-minute animated film. Every single scene fleshed out a cohesive narrative.
When I was a kid, my reaction to Andrea as The Phantasm caught me by surprise.
Before he became The Joker, he used to be a hired gun for the mob. As you may know, Joker’s past is ambiguous as he prefers his origin story in multiple choice. Most notably, Alan Moore’s “Batman: The Killing Joke.”
Joker delivers an epic laugh. Jared Leto eat your heart out.
The Ending is bittersweet. Batman clears his name. Andrea survives and leaves him a locket.
Wrong: I couldn’t find anything wrong. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless animated movie as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm is one of the best Batman movies. I consider Batman: Beyond: Return Of The Joker as the best animated movie. “The Dark Knight” is the magnum opus in live action. If you wanna introduce your kids to Mask Of The Phantasm, it’s a must see. I cannot wait for Robert Pattinson’s take on Batman. I’m also looking forward to seeing Michael Keaton making his grand return in The Flash.