There's a mystery afoot in Gotham City, and Batman must go toe-to-toe with a mysterious vigilante, who goes by the name of Red Hood. Subsequently, old wounds reopen and old, once buried memories come into the light.
Batman has not been seen for ten years. A new breed of criminal ravages Gotham City, forcing 55-year-old Bruce Wayne back into the cape and cowl. But, does he still have what it takes to fight crime in a new era?
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.Written by
As a visual joke, sequence director Kevin Altieri set the climax of the film inside a miniature automated model of Gotham City, where Batman and the Joker were giants. This was an homage to a mainstay of Batman comic books of the Dick Sprang era, often featuring the hero fighting against a backdrop of gigantic props (they would later do another homage to Sprang's works in The New Batman Adventures: Legends of the Dark Knight (1998)). See more »
The construction site Batman hides in has bombs labeled on it. However, construction crews don't use explosives when building something. See more »
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.
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A version shown on UK channel ITV-1 was cut: most of the fight between the Joker and Phantasm is edited out. When Joker sprays Phantasm with his flower, in the unedited version she takes off the glove he hits pushes Joker into a table where he reaches between the large sausage and a knife, and grabs the large sausage. He then runs past her, and escapes by running through a window. In the edied version, he sprays her glove and then escapes through the window. The table fight is completly removed. See more »
like a brilliant four-part episode from the series; lots of personal wounds revealed, and the Joker to boot!
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm stands on its own feet extremely well, when at least compared to some of the lessor Batman animated movies (Batman vs Dracula anyone?), and packs a good punch for fans so many years later. The original series was in its own other region- taking what more stories from the comics (if not overall style and atmosphere like Burton or Nolan)- and was able to cover some fine ground with our troubled hero the Dark Knight. This story tells of a character, not ever quite named but called here as 'Phantasm', who is killing off some of the high-rolling gangsters in town. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne meets an old love of his, Andrea, and old wounds are opened over a brief and untimely ended engagement. And then there's also Andrea's father, who... OK, not much to try and spoil here, lets just say at some point the Joker gets involved, and everything jets into a 'laughing matter'.
Even as it was meant originally for TV, the directors Radomski and Timm, through their writer collaborators, have applied a drawing style that is distinctive amongst other cartoons of its ilk from the period: very direct lines and sharp, jagged edges, lots of smoke at (specific) times, the right blend of noir when it comes to revealing the caped crusader when he enters a room in the dead of night. In a sense they're stylists as are the (good) directors of the franchise live-action films. Only here there's a catch: the running time is short (originally the filmmakers thought it would be meant for TV before WB changed their minds), so there's only so much time to dig into the dilemma Wayne is caught in in the movie, where his identity is being cross-checked all over as the killer of the gangsters, and then the personal connection with Andrea and her father. Its some fairly significant probing into the character, if not the deepest there's ever been.
But also, aside from the slightly darker impulses, Mask of the Phantasm is a lot of fun, even up to a point if you didn't watch the series much. Just seeing Hammil ham it up as the Joker is a blast, even though he doesn't appear (almost, one might think, as a lark) until halfway through the movie! But he (via the filmmakers trying their best to give fans the best of the animated basics) supplies a hugely entertaining climax, one which involves a big fight among an immense diorama of Gotham City, rigged with explosives!
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