It’s likely fans of ‘Batman” The Animated Series’ had their minds blown with the spectacular animated movie, ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’. This movie is cited as one of the best animated movies, as well as having a top-notch Batman plot comparable to Tim Burton’s incarnations and even Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’. This 1993 movie is today’s Throwback Thursday, a look at sci-fi of the past.
With the success of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, Warner Bros wanted to put out a feature length film. Originally planned for a straight-to-video release, Warner Brothers opted for a theatrical release during production. Alan Burnett was hired to write the story and brought on additional writers from ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, which included Paul Dini, Martin Pasko, and Michael Reeves.
‘Mask of the Phantasm’ delves into the personal side of Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy), where we learn about his lost love, Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany). 10 years earlier, Andrea left Gotham with her father, Carl Beaumont (Stacy Keach), leading Bruce to give up on a normal life and accept his fate of becoming Batman. However, when Andrea returns to Gotham and comes back into Bruce’s life, a mysterious vigilante pops up and goes on a rampage murdering notorious gangsters. The two storylines intertwine with a great twist that incorporates the Joker (Mark Hamill) in a supporting role.
Akin to the reviews of DreamWorks and Pixar movies, ‘Mask of the Phantasm’ is enjoyable for both kids and adults. Before the “fun for both kids and adults” trend really took off in the early 2000s, ‘Mask of the Phantasm’ exceled at treating its young and old viewers like intelligent human beings. It was entertaining without sacrificing the story for unnecessary silliness.
Watching it as an adult, it makes you realize that while it did have mature themes, they are ones that young viewers experience. In their own way, kids and adolescents understand loss, revenge and heartbreak just as much as any adult.