Movie Plot – Batman: Mask of the Phantasm: Batman is wrongly associated with a series of mafia boss murders who were actually committed by a new vigilante killer.
Directors: Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski, Kevin Altieri, Boyd Kirkland, Frank Paur, Dan Riba
Writers: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Martin Pasko, Michael Reaves
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Mark Hamill
Batman the animated series
I’ve always been a fan of Batman the animated series. Like many, I think this is one of the most accurate representations of the caped crusader. And I still watch the animated series sometimes. It’s one of the greatest animated series of all time. Many Batman fans would agree that Kevin Conroy is the best-suited voice for this comic book hero we all know and love.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a story that takes place within that world. And I can’t tell you how much I love this animation style. It’s actually a pretty simple style, but still so beautifully done. It goes as the saying: “less is more.” This movie even had a theatrical release, but I didn’t watch it there. Also, I was two years old, so it didn’t really matter as I probably wouldn’t remember it.
If you’re wondering if you should see the cartoon first, the answer is “no”. This film can be watched perfectly without any background. The only thing you may need to know is that about his parents. Although if you don’t know that, you’re living in a cave.
Too complex for kids
I may not have seen it at the movie theater, but I saw it at home as a child. Some might say this isn’t a movie for children since people are being murdered. Personally, I’m okay with that in children’s movies. It’s like the Lion King, where Scar kills Mufasa. It depends on how they handle that. I never was shocked by it as a kid. However, that’s not the reason why this isn’t really for kids.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a pretty complicated story for kids. It would help if you were at least a teenager to comprehend the story. Honestly, this movie is a hidden gem that should have more recognition. There’s actually not that much action as I would expect. Furthermore, this movie is much more about how Batman/Bruce Wayne is. We even get an epic origin story on how he became the bat.
It’s the first time we see his origin story on the big screen. In the animation series, he was already Batman without us seeing how he becomes this legendary superhero. Batman struggles with deep emotional struggles that he’s stuck with. The film showed how complex this character is. I’m a fan of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, but when it comes to who Batman really is, this one does a better job. Also, I love great character development, and this movie is excellent at it.
The most outstanding example is when he asks for forgiveness from his parents because he found love. He wants to go on another path, then he promised his dead parents because he didn’t count on being happy. It demonstrates how conflicted he truly is. Furthemore, he isn’t a hero because he wants to be one. He is a hero because he has to be one. It’s like it’s his responsibility.
And he’s not overpowered in this animated movie. Therefore, you can really see the humanity in him. He’s pretty vulnerable in comparison to other movies. He’s having a hard time now and then while he’s trying to fight crime. You can feel his transformation from Bruce Wayne to Batman. And especially with this iconic scene where he puts on the mask for the first time:
The Mask of the Phantasm
The origin story is just part of the film. The name of the film is a reference to the new villain. Quickly some crew members of a mob get killed one by one, and Batman gets framed for it. The police always saw Batman at the crime scene at the wrong time. That made them believe he was guilty. Except for Jim Gordon, as he knows Batman won’t cross his golden rule. Anyway, the new vigilante made the killings., Otherwise named as the Mask of the Phantasm. However, we never hear someone say that name. We just know.
The movie keeps you guessing who the masked vigilante is, and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm also feels like a detective movie. Batman is trying to figure out who the new masked vigilante is and what his true motives are.
And the Joker is also in this movie. Obviously, they would include the Joker in the first animated Batman movie. On top of that, the legendary Mark Hamill voiced the Joker. No one can nail the Joker as good as him. What is also great is that he was included as part of the story. He wasn’t brought into the film for the sake of having him there. No, he actually had a purpose plot-wise, which made it even better.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a masterpiece that gets far too little spotlight. It is one of the best Batman films ever made. It is complex, true to its source, and totally unique
The film has everything: love, action, story, character development, incredible animation, and the list goes on.
After watching the film, I considered editing my ranking of the best Batman movies ever. This one should definitely rank higher.