Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 9, 2008
Aside from Christopher Nolan's recent interpretations, this is the best Batman movie out there. A harrowing origin story for how Bruce Wayne became Batman combined with a noir-esque femme fetale romance and one hell of an unexpected plot twist, this is an excellent film. The animation has also aged gracefully.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
½ November 25, 2011
As far as animated films are concerned, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm is a film that has really stood out for me. I remember watching this one several times as a kid, and man did I enjoy it. As far as animated films are concerned, this is a classic film, and one of the best animated features that is NOT a Disney feature since 1981's Heavy Metal. Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm is a must see for Batman fans everywhere and is actually just as good as Tim Burton's Batman works. This film is lavishly drawn, dark and violent. The film breaks ground by being an animated film that isn't just for kids to enjoy. The film has a thrilling, riveting story that will appeal to the die hard Batman fan. This is simply put a solid action film that even though is animated is still worth seeing by skeptics that think that animated features are only for kids. This film has a darker tone what you're usually used to in a Batman film. This is a terrific film. The voice talents are incredible and the cast deliver great performances. Along with the great art and the awesome, talented cast, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm is a superb Batman film that is a definite must see film. Don't be fooled because of the animation, this is one violent film with lots of action and thrills to will satisfy anyone looking for a good action film. A well crafted film that is simply a near flawless action film, and is one of the best of the earlier Batman films.
DragonEyeMorrison
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2008
So far the best Batman movie, the only time they gave him an good love interest of a character, something the live action movies have never done right.
MANUGINO
Super Reviewer
January 7, 2010
The Dark Knight fights to save Gotham city from its deadliest enemy.

Good movie. It was entertaining and fun. Loved it!

Batman, the costumed crime-fighter who prowls the night skies in Gotham City, soon finds there's another vigilante in town knocking off prominent mob figures. Despite the scythe-like blade for a hand, a mechanical voice and the cloud of smoke that follows the figure wherever it goes, the police and outraged officials mistake the homicidal crusader for Batman himself and demand that the city's longtime hero be brought to justice. Meanwhile, Andrea Beaumont returns to town. She is the lost love of Bruce Wayne, the billionaire playboy who is Batman's alter ego, and was an integral part of Wayne's decision ten years earlier to don the cape and cowl. Now, she is back in his life and is no less a disruption than the return of his old archenemy, The Joker, who has a stake in seeing the annihilation of this new vigilante, whoever it proves to be.
Super Reviewer
½ March 26, 2007
Way better than anything in the Burton/Schumacher series
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2011
Not a big release, but a great cartoon from the animated series. Watched it as a kid and i'll never forget it.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2011
Adult content in child sensibilities. The action scenes are inspired, Mark Hamill shines as the Joker, and I can't help but wonder why this 18-year-old animated movie did the best job yet of plumbing Batman's psyche. Good, good stuff.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
The best animated Batman movie I've ever seen. It's in the like Batman the Animated Series, in animation, music, and story quality, but it's a full length film. Actually it's slightly darker than the show, and it has more romance too. Plus, it's got the best Batman villain, the Joker. So, if you're a Batman fan, you should totally see this movie.
michael e.
Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2010
very dark and gripping which was much like the show, and i think the nostalgia critic said it best" This movie came out at the same time as Joel Schumachers Batman Forever, alot of us were surprised that the animated movie treated us more like adults than the grown up movie did." and i truly agree the story was very strong and dark and very much more like an adult film, which is surprising. Now i loved the animated series growing up because it was much more adult than most Animated shows kids grew up with, and it was a fantastic show, and this movie kept you guessing about who the phantasm is, where'd he come from, whats his motive? And the movie was also nice enough to give us the Joker which how can you go wrong with Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) as the Joker. Though they do give his backstory on how he became the joker but it really doesn't stay true to the original comic. You see in the comic The Jokers story was changed countless times but the story that most people settle on even the creator of the comics himself Burt Ward agrees with, That the joker was a failed comedian who slipped into deep depression after the death of his wife and unborn child, He then goes on a crime spree as a character called the red hood. Hes chased by cops into a toxic waste plant he swims away in the toxic waste he gets out, takes off his helmet and finds out that his face has become pail white he became insane after that. Im not gonna give anything away but the end result is that this film is definitely worth a watch.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2007
Cheesy, as expected, but not nearly as cheesy as expected. Great art/animation/voicework. Delightfully dark and the Phantasm is easily one of the best Batman villains. Predictable plot but forgivably so. A fitting climax for one of the best animated TV series.
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2009
Arguably one of the best animated films ever made and definitely the best animated Batman story. It's such a cinematic approach, it feels like a live action movie. I've never been so pleased with a script for animation. It's dark, something that rarely happens in children's cartoons. They challenged the whole identity of Batman and what makes him who he is. They also showed you what it would take to stop him, love. The whole idea of having a woman come in and be everything that he stood against yet everything he wanted was just really great to see.
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2009
Superhero fans of my generation had tons of great cartoons to watch while we we're growing up, and Batman: The Animated Series was right up there among the best. It combined action with a cool art style and serious plots that made the show just as appealing to adults as it was to kids. Mask of the Phantasm is a side-story of that amazing show, so it's no surprise that I still love it all these years later.

Phantasm works so well because it pairs the usual themes of the show with an extremely bittersweet love story and tons of the detective elements that are always present in Batman's best tales. Equal time is spent with the present day mystery of the Phantasm, and Bruce's early experiments with vigilante justice.

It's great to see Bruce Wayne get equal focus in the story, and in many ways the scenes with him out of costume are the most interesting and pivotal to the story. The Joker plays a crucial part in the plot, and a woman is introduced who had a powerful influence on Bruce's decision to become Batman. What more could the true Batman fan ask for? Mask of the Phantasm is worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as The Dark Knight and Batman Returns. There's a classic story within its animated trappings.
FilmFanatik
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2007
This was a fun animated Batman film.
Passenger1986
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2007
Christian Bale, meet your worthy opponent. Kevin Conroy has long been an outstanding Batman and until Bale unleashed a fury like no other, Conroy held the title of best Batman all to himself. Now they have to share it but that's not such a bad thing. And this movie is all the proof you need as to why Conroy should not be looked over when talking about great Batmen.

Mask Of The Phantasm is not just a film continuation of the brilliant animated series but it also serves as the origin story for the Batman of this franchise. Batman Begins is the only other film to go into great detail about Bruce Wayne before becoming Batman but this film does something a little different. It introduces the idea of someone making Bruce think twice about his crusade on crime. By giving Bruce Wayne a love interest, this adds a new angle to the Batman mythology. Bruce's line "I didn't count on being happy" is a powerful one and shows the level of dedication he has to this woman if he's thinking of giving up on crimefighting all together.

One of the other different approaches the film takes is using regular gangsters as the villians with the exception of the Joker and new character, the titular Phantasm. This is a great move as the events unfolding in current day Gotham tie into the past events before the rise of Batman and serve to explain the Phantasm's reason for being in Gotham.

Speaking of the Clown Prince Of Crime, we have another case of two actors having to share a title, in this case, Heath Ledger and Mark Hamill for greatest Joker. Mark always sounds like he has a lot of fun when doing this role and it's no different here. What I've always loved about Mark's Joker is that he can swap between charming and psychotic faster than it takes to blink an eye. My absolute favorite line in this is his line "DON'T TOUCH ME OLD MAN, I don't know where you've been!" changing between rage and humor so fast.

A grand effort, with a truly moving song playing over the end credits. I love the show, I love this movie and I love the DCAU. Kevin and Mark may have to share their respective titles, but in the end, everybody wins. They get acclaim for memorable roles and we get excellent performances. If you could only watch one animated Batman movie, or even one animated comic book movie, make it this one (and if you get to see a second, stay within the DCAU and get Return Of The Joker.)
Super Reviewer
½ June 18, 2008
This movie is very ambitious and inventive, almost unexpectedly so for a children's movie. The animation is beautiful, as are the backgrounds and character design. The story itself, though, is the most interesting thing about Mask of the Phantasm though. It serpentines and is quite nuanced, expecting quite a bit from its young audience.
Super Reviewer
½ May 30, 2006
Alfred: Vengeance blackens the soul, Bruce. I've always feared that you would become that which you fought against. You walk the edge of that abyss every night, but you haven't fallen in and I thank heaven for that.

Before 'Begins' this really was the best Batman movie.

As with the animated series, the story here is very good at creating an engaging mystery with characters that aren't just cartoons. It also uses a good amount of influence from the comics, even while introducing an intriguing new villain, the Phantasm.

Police Commissioner James Gordon: He didn't do it! It's garbage, Councilman! The Batman does not kill. You want him, you get him! I'll have no part in it.

This time around, Batman is investigating a new character in town, who is taking out a series of people. During this time some familiar faces appear including an old flame of Bruce Wayne's and the Joker. Things become complicated when Batman becomes wanted for the murders that this new Phantasm character is committing.

The story also flashes back to a younger Bruce Wayne, during his early years of becoming a vigilante, showing his strive between wanting justice vs. the possibility of a normal life.

While of course being a story meant to be entertaining and appropriate for all ages, the movie is still focused on characters and story as much as it is showing off cool Bat-action. It also helps that Alfred is always available to provide some good banter and the Joker, voice by Mark Hamil, is such an enjoyable villain.

Joker: You're crazy! I'm your only chance to get out of here! Let me go or we'll both die!
Batman: Whatever it takes!

As with the series, the production value of this movie is great. Switching to widescreen to expand the scope of this film as well, this is a great looking movie. The animated series has always used a unique approach by having all the drawings on black opposed to white paper, leading to a dark atmosphere that is perfect for the world of Gotham that Batman fights in.

The music is also very good, pulling in some orchestrated pieces due to the expanded scope.

Very well made as well. Everything works. A vision of Batman that holds truer than most of the films, is entertaining, and cool.

Arthur Reeves: [on TV, refering to Batman] What kind of city are we running when we depend on the support of a potential madman!
Alfred: What rot, sir! Why you're the very model of sanity. Oh by the way, I pressed your tights and put away your exploding gas balls.
Bruce Wayne: Thank you, Alfred.
cancercapricorn2002
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2007
Well to start out , this is best of the Batman movies live action or animated ( Batman Begins runs a close second).This film maintains the "dark deco" direction and style of Batman: The Animated Series( which I still miss to this day) under the direction of Eric Radomski and Bruce W. Timm and the writing of Alan Burnett and Paul Dini (all of whom worked on TAS), and features the same voices talents as the show, including Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Efrem Zimbalist Jr as Alfred, Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon, Robert Constanzo as Detective Harvey Bullock, and Mark Hamill as The Joker. Basically, the movie takes all the best elements of the series, and puts it together as a longer episode. Except that if it were an episode, it never would have made it past the censors. Also, it'd be the best episode in the history of the show.

As a theatrically-released movie with a 76 minute running time, Mask of the Phantasm had license to do things the Saturday afternoon cartoon show could not do. It's a darker, more mature look at Batman than the series could be, receiving a PG rating. It's no Sin City or Heavy Metal, but is more intense than usual, showing murder, blood, and allusions to sex that could never be shown on the show. Which is not to say that it's an adult film, because it's not. It's still an animated movie about a super-hero, and is still primarily for kids (albeit, older kids and adults). It just means that Mask of the Phantasm is closer to the comic book than the series is allowed to be.

In terms of story, Mask of the Phantasm is a mystery movie, as a new vigilante, who bears similarities to Batman, comes to Gotham and begins executing mob bosses. Batman must figure out who this new vigilante is to end the Phantasm's rampage, while Batman himself is being accused of the crimes. Meanwhile, a former love is back in Gotham (voiced by Dana Delany), drudging up painful memories for Bruce Wayne of the one who got away. While dealing with the Phantasm, his long-lost love, and Gotham Police, Batman also has to deal with The Joker, who is somehow involved in everything.

The movie is an excellent combination of action and suspense. Strangely, since it is a cartoon, this film has the most convincing and realistic love story in Batman movie history (although, to be fair, there's no real competition in that area, as all the other love stories in Batman movies have been rushed and unconvincing). Comic book fans will geek out over the Year One like flashbacks featuring a non-costumed young Bruce Wayne attempting to fight crime, and the appearance of the Phantasm, who, with a cape, spectre-like mask, and scythe, bears a strong resemblance to Year Two's murderous vigilante The Reaper.

Personally, I absolutely loved this movie. However, it's not a movie for everyone. If you're not already a fan of Batman or Batman: The Animated Series, then I don't think this movie would have much of interest for you. But if you are a fan of the series or the character, then I highly recommend you check this film out.
Super Reviewer
½ July 11, 2007
One of the best Batman movies out there. The animation is great and the story is pure Dark Knight. Highly recommended.
sanjurosamurai
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2007
one of the best opening scenes in movie history, fun film where the joker is used brilliantly.
Super Reviewer
April 20, 2007
The brilliant animated series is awarded its own little spin off. In true Batman style the dark tone is kept and the film deals with a lot of themes reguarding revenge, and the line between good and evil. The excellent voice work and adult feel make this one of the best Batmans around.
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