Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

So this is an animated movie based on the super awesome animated series. It often gets over looked, or at least not put on the same level as the live action films. This is a shame, though, since it’s better than most of them. The story is solid,  and even delves into the early days of Bruce’s crime-fighting career, over a decade before the release of Batman Begins.

This was the first Batman movie I saw in the theater.  The animation has definitely  aged. The quality of animation was never  on the level of, say, Disney animated films, though I still prefer it to some of the current DC direct to video movies with heavy Japanese style art. The story, however, feels more mature than most family films. It has an emotional punch to it, and the characters feel genuine. Also the Joker’s in it. So that’s an A+ right there.

The High Points

The young Bruce Wayne:  It’s  always great to see Bruce developing. Here we get to see him try to fight crime before he comes up with the Batman idea, and things don’t go quite as planned.  We also have a Bruce who genuinely falls in love, and it surprisingly feels more deep than any of the live action relationships. Andrea gives Bruce hope that he can have happiness. There’s a great scene of Bruce pleading with his parents at their grave, wishing to break the vow and give up being Batman.  Of course, things don’t go well between the love birds, and it adds another layer of tragedy to the becoming of the Bat.

The police chase:  It’s kind of good to see the cops in Gotham not be entirely useless. Sure, they were chasing  Batman when they should have been chasing the Phantasm, but they still had some good hustle. Also, it’s good to see Harvey Bullock( I’m gonna talk more about my beef with no Bullock when we get to The Dark Knight).

The Joker: Again, every scene the Joker is in, he steals it. Mark Hamil is, in my humblest of opinions, the best Joker ever outside the comics.  His parts in this movie encompass everything the Joker is. Goofy, witty, scary, and lethal. No one does a better laugh than Mark.

I can’t think of any major low points. I don’t really have anything else to say about it either. I mean, it’s 76 minutes long. If you haven’t seen it, you should.  Go buy it and place it next to your other Batman movies.  Or rent it. Or stream it. Or get the screenplay and a group of friends and act it out. Or just use your imagination and make up what you think the movie was about. While your at it, throw in some ninjas and a T-rex.

Oh forget it. Just go watch Jurassic Park. There’s no ninjas but it’s still good.


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