Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm [Review 53 for FQ13]

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Why I Saw It: I’m a huge fan of the Batman character, and I find Batman: The Animated Series to be some of the best Batman characterization in any non-print media. Because this film featured many of the same talents involved with The Animated Series, it was a no-brainer for me to see it. What Took Me So Long? This movie wasn’t on my radar back when it was first released, and by the time I was capable of renting movies myself, I had lost track of it even existing, and it’s limited availability helped it slip my radar.

What Was It About?  “Batman is faced with another vigilante in Gotham, one who is knocking off prominent mob figures. The police and outraged officials mistake the homicidal crusader for Batman himself and demand that the city’s longtime hero be brought to justice. Bruce Wayne also deals with the life-disrupting return of his lost love, Andrea Beaumont and the return of The Joker, who has a stake in seeing the annihilation of this new vigilante.

Rating: 7.8 out of 10

Favorite Parts: The artwork and vocal talents were spot-on, just as was the case with The Animated Series. They did a great job of using shadows and different types of lighting to convey emotion… and just to make it look cool.

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The storyline was really interesting, involving two villains and a love interest, and they made it all mesh really well together. They made The Joker more deranged than I had expected in the film, but also kept his trademark sense of humor in tact. The part with his animatronics (shown below) was something fun that I hadn’t seen from The Joker before, but which makes total sense.

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The Regrettable Aspects: The film didn’t do a good enough job conveying some of the characters’ emotions, which were significant parts of at least two major storylines in the film. The pacing could have been better, as some scenes felt like they dragged on too long, and others felt too abbreviated.

Would I watch it again? I probably will, but not anytime soon. Probably not something I’ll own unless it’s available as part of a multi-disc set involving some other good titles.

To Whom Would I Recommend It?  Anyone who liked The Animated Series see it, though they likely already have.

Other Recommendations:

– BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (Episode: HEART OF ICE) – This is arguably the best episode in The Animated Series, and is widely regarded as the best Mr Freeze storyline interpretation of all time.

BATMAN: UNDER THE READ HOOD – The storyline presented in this movie is an important one which most people aren’t aware of, outside of serious Batman fans.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS PART 1 – The storyline that plays out is an interesting take on the Batman mythology. I’m sure that, given the quality here, its sequel is even better (because the second half of the story from the comics is better than the first).

BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT – Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the various episodes within this DVD, it does present some interesting storylines and some good artwork which is different than most of what you’ll see from other good animated Batman options.

If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM, or for other similar films, let me know!

Next up… SCREAM 4!

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3 responses to “Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm [Review 53 for FQ13]

  1. I thought this was a pretty decent little film, although it certainly lacks the depth of any of the live-action films. You might want to check out SubZero since you like B:TAS’s treatment of Mr. Freeze.

    • Thanks for the recommend. It’s on my radar, but until now I didn’t know anyone who had actually seen it. I think your mention of Mask Of The Phantasm lacking depth is spot-on.

  2. This is the reason I am following your blog: “I’m a huge fan of the Batman character, and I find Batman: The Animated Series to be some of the best Batman characterization in any non-print media.” You’re a smart dude.

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