Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Film Review
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a 1993 animated film directed by Eric Radomski and Bruce W. Timm and stars Kevin Conroy as Batman and Dana Delaney as the original character, Andrea Beaumont. There are more characters worth noting, but I don’t want to spoil who they are!
Mask of the Phantasm takes place after Batman: The Animated Series and features multiple stories that seem to be separated, then slowly piece together as a connective plot. After a mysterious figure attempts to murder a gang leader, and is mistaken for Batman, Councilman Arthur Reeves attempts to persuade the public to distrust Batman. Meanwhile, an old flame of Bruce Wayne’s, returns to Gotham city. Now Batman needs to try and stop this new vigilante while Bruce Wayne reminisces in a rocky past with Andrea Beaumont.
There is a reason many argue this is the best Batman movie, or at least close to The Dark Knight, it’s because this movie is fantastic. Why is this movie so good? Because it’s not a Batman movie, it’s a Bruce Wayne movie. Throughout the film, we see flashbacks to Bruce’s past with Andrea, and how she was the only person who ever made him happy since the death of his parents. This was so unexpected for me, I never thought such a story would be told for Batman. I was so used to Batman being the brooding badass who does what he does because he swore to his dead parents that he would. This movie gave him a layer that I have never seen before. In the Nolan Batman movies, Bruce’s relationship with Rachel never made him act the way Bruce does with Andrea in this. He loves her, and that scares the hell out of him. The best scene in this movie, and probably one of the best scenes I have ever seen in a Batman story, was when Bruce was begging his parent’s grave to let him break his promise so that he can be happy. It gave me chills and it was nothing short of brilliant. Also, the surprise villain towards the end was a very welcome touch. If you don’t want that spoiled, do not look at the cast list!
As far as flaws, I really only have small nitpicks. After watching Batman and Mr. Freeze: SubZero, I was very happy to see this movie did not use CGI. However, the opening credits did show a CGI panning view of Gotham, which looked a little lame. Like I said, it’s a small nitpick, since it’s not even a part of the actual movie.
In the end, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a fantastically animated movie with an incredible original story that is unlike any Batman story I have experienced before. It was immensely enjoyable and, as I said in my SubZero review, features my favorite Batman! I cannot recommend this enough to anyone interested in Batman, animated movies, or just a damn good story. It’s also pretty short, at about an hour and a half, so it’s not something you need to find the time to check out! If you’re looking to get your hands on the movie, I recommend buying the double feature DVD with both Mask of the Phantasm and SubZero. I got it for about $7. If you want to wait about a week from this review being posted, the Blu Ray for Mask of the Phantasm is on the way for the first time ever!