The Batman animated series are, without doubt, the greatest superhero cartoons ever produced. The Superman and Batman Beyond series are also pretty good, but nothing can compare to the original stuff. So just what made the series so great? Well, a little bit of everything I guess. For starters, the animation was top-notch. Sure, the art style took a little getting used to at first, but once you got used to it, it was really quite elegant looking. For another thing, the voice acting and stories were always top notch stuff. It was the first show in recent memory that didn't take the kids who were watching it for granted, and because of that, it thrived. It only seemed natural before the powers that be parlayed the excellence of the cartoon series onto the big screen. The result? Mask of the Phantasm, a Batman movie made the way Batman was meant to be.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a 1993 film based on the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series. As with The Animated Series, the film stars Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman, as well as the voices of Mark Hamill, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Stacy Keach, Abe Vigoda and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. The film's storyline introduces Andrea Beaumont, an old love interest of Bruce Wayne's, who returns to Gotham City, restarting their romance. At the same time, a new mysterious vigilante begins systematically eliminating Gotham's crime bosses, and due to the person's dark appearance, he is mistaken for Batman. Now on the run from the police, the Dark Knight must apprehend the killer, clear his name, and deal with the romance between himself and Andrea.
The film was distributed by Warner Bros., directed by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski (the creators of The Animated Series) and written by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Michael Reaves and Martin Pasko. The original idea was to release the film as direct-to-video, but the studio decided for a theatrical release, giving the filmmakers a strenuous eight-month schedule. Mask of the Phantasm received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised the film for its animation style, dialogue and acting, but it was a box office bomb due to the decision to release the film in theaters on such short notice, And Having a very poor advertisement budget. During the DVD release, It achieved grand success and the film broke even.
It's unfortunate that an animated series rarely gets serious attention, even when made into a movie, like Mask of the Phantasm. The writing is superior to the live action Batman movies, and the movie has more self-respect. We delve into Batman's past: not his why-I-became-Batman past which everyone knows; rather, we learn why he remains Batman despite the intense personal cost. This is a great movie, with a great voice cast. The score is wonderful, playing a little with the score from the first Michael Keaton Batman movie, then proceeding along its own course.
The Score itself, Composed by the Late Shirley Walker certainly fits the Film well, It full of chanting and perfectly timed tone changes make the film feel so much grander. The opening of the film itself quickly set the mood and some that plans on being a Dark Batman story that will impact the future of you you view the character and as a Matter of Fact it does.
The Film makes use truly feel for Bruce Wayne and the and the struggle we see him going through, As well as how the other character in his life are affected by it. Two notable Scenes are when Bruce pleads with his parents's at their graves, Begging that he can revoke his Promise, The one which he made about fighting crime and preventing what happened to him, for others. As well as ultimately being comforted by Andrea has to be one of the most powerful animated scenes I have seen in a film, And A film with such a younger target audience no less. According to writer Michael Reaves, this scene was to be a pivotal moment in Bruce's tragic life, as he is denied the opportunity to live a normal life.
Another Scene is where Bruce Wayne, For the First time in his life dons the Batman mask, Reaves also stated: "When Bruce puts on the mask for the first time, [after Andrea breaks their engagement], and Alfred says 'My God!' he's reacting in horror, because he's watching this man he's helped raise from childhood, this man who has let the desire for vengeance and retribution consume his life, at last embrace the unspeakable." This Also Comes into Play When Alfred Comforts Bruce After The Climax of The Film in which he feels guilty over Andrea's loss, "Vengeance Blackens the Soul Bruce, I always Feared you would become that which you always fought against."
The Ending once again makes the viewer know, that not everyone can have the happy ending they so deeply desire, Which goes double for Andrea and Batman who still love each other.
Though each film is not without it's flaws, There are some continuity errors here and there as well as a few moments that don't really much sense, Such as how Andrea got the locket into the Batcave or Why They never simply asked Bruce for the Money to help pay the Debts. But despite these Errors the film is still grand.
There is romance, sorrow, and introspection, in addition to the violence of Batman's confrontation with villains. This is simply a far more thoughtful movie than one might expect, and though it is well-done in this regard, it may not be what you are expecting. Overall, and even with the Nolan Films I feel it is one of the Best Batman Films ever made, Perhaps even the best out of them all. I give it a Strong 9.5/10