PART FIVE: Batman: Mask of The Phantasm
Directed By: Eric Radomski & Bruce W. Timm
Written By: Bob Kane and Alan Burnett
Starring: Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Stacy Keach, Abe Vigoda, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Mark Hamill
Production Co: Warner Bros. Animation
Release Date: 25 December 1993
Runtime: 76 min
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.
This animated Batman movie did something for the franchise that the live-action movies didn’t. The tension and mystery surrounding The Phantasm coupled with the fact that most of Gotham City were turning on their once beloved caped crusader makes this a brilliant movie. In my point of view many elements of this movie as well as other Batman graphic novels, such as Batman: Year One, were vital in creating the new direction of Batman in the more recent Nolan films. The Mask of The Phantasm was dark like the animated series and yet it was very effective in portraying a story and some backstory as well. For example what Bruce Wayne did as a vigilante before he donned the disguise of Batman. There are many other animated Batman films and TV series out there but this is by far one of the best.
Batman: The Mask of The Phantasm is available on DVD in all good DVD stores.