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.