Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (No spoilers)

Posted: December 1, 2017 in Comics, Movies
Tags: ,

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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is one of the best Batman movies to date. Regardless of the fact it happens to be an animated movie. It’s a brilliant Batman flick, one which captures the caped crusader perfectly and would go on to be smash with critics and fans worldwide. Today, over twenty five years since it’s Christmas ’93 release, Mask of the Phantasm is a classic.

The plot of the film focuses on Batman, naturally, but what seals the deal for this movie as one of the greats is how the narrative focuses just as much on Bruce Wayne. Batman comes under fire from Gotham officials after a series of mobsters are murdered. He sets out to clear his name and solve the identity of the killer. During his investigation the plot uses flashbacks to paint a picture of Bruce’s early years and his first battles with crime.

These interludes prove key to the main narrative and work as a well written and overall well done origin story for Bruce/Batman. Batman, as we know, is a detective first and arse kicker later and he gets to put his detective brian to use. I appreciated that.

Directors Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski clearly know and adore everything about Batman and his comic book roots. If anyone needed further evidence they need only watch Timm and Radomski’s fantastic Batman: The Animated Series. Mask of the Phantasm is linked to the show with the origin of Batman and other plots carrying over. Yet the movie can be seen as a stand alone without having ever seen an episode of the series.

All of the talented animators, much like in the series, deliver outstanding work. This is one beautiful looking movie. Excellent animation and tremendous art direction. Gotham and it’s inhabitants look and feel like they are in the midst of a 1940’s film noir. What we get here is my favourite representation of Batman and his world, yes, to date. I think, this is a tall order, but any movie (live action) that could come close to matching the tone and quality of the work on display here would be a accomplishment. The music in Mask of the Phantasm is really well done. The score is excellent and compliments the film perfectly.

The film features a host of excellent voice talent. Kevin Conroy as Batman is very good and it’s little wonder he’s played the role the longest than any actor out there. Mark Hamill as The Joker would go on to gain as much fame as he did from Star Wars due to his excellent work as the king of crime. Dana Delany, as one of Bruce’s lost loves, also puts in great work.

There aren’t enough great things I can say about this movie. The plot is great, the writing is excellent, direction is confident and the action is a match for anything you’d see in any other big screen Batman movie. Mask of the Phantasm is a must own for any Batman fan and fans of animation in general. They sure don’t make them like this any more and that’s a shame.

 

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