Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm Reviews
'Mask of the Phantasm' really isn't as good as it's made out to be. It features a great voice cast and good animation, but the movie sometimes felt like such a drag, and I simply couldn't get invested in the story.
Zack Snyder could have taken a lesson from Mask of the Phantasm to learn how to remind the audience of the death of the Waynes and what that means to Bruce. With nothing more than a picture on the wall and a visit to the grave we 100% understand without needing to see pearls falling to the ground again. However, the story-telling in Mask of the Phantasm wasn't always that solid and concise. I had some significant problems with the way the movie constantly jumped back-and-forth in time. If they were thinking about it more, they would have included a simple visual cue that would clue us into whether we were watching the past or the present. It's not a good sign when you have a film-viewer like myself being tempted to pause at the beginning of each new scene in order to figure out where we were in the timeline. The twist at the end is easy for most people to guess, but I didn't mind all that much because they cast suspicion on enough people that the reveal could have been different, so it was still a solid mystery.
There is a romance plot in the film which was necessary to the story, but I wasn't really convinced of their affection for one another. I think that stems from the fact that the movie skipped over some of the courtship moments in their relationship and just expected the audience to accept that the love was there. I was surprised that the movie left things relatively open and unresolved at the end, but I assume that was intended so that the story could fold back into the animated series. One opportunity that I feel like they missed was the chance to have Batman in a position where he's forced to defend the Joker. Because of his vow not to kill (or let people die) they had the chance to create a much stronger moment by putting the Joker's life on the line instead of Andrea. If Batman was given no alternative than to save his arch nemesis it would be marvelous. That's not to say the movie was bad for not doing what I wanted, I just saw the squandered potential for greatness. The film was a gem, though. It is definitely well-made and I'd say it's better than at least 3 live action movies starring Batman.