Reviews - Film
Batman - Mask of the Phantasm: The Animated
Original Release Date - December 25th, 1993 - Theatrical Release
When Gotham City's most-feared gangsters are systematically eliminated,
the worst is feared: that Batman is to blame. But prowling the Gotham
night is a shadowy new villain, the Phantasm, a sinister figure with a
troublesome link to Batman's past.
Media by Bird Boy
Reviews by Emmanuel Papillon, Jim Harvey
Story by Alan Burnett
Screenplay by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Martin Pasko, Michael
Edited by Al Breitenbach
Produced by Benjamin Melniker, Michael Uslan
Co-Producers Alan Burnett, Eric Radomski, Bruce W. Timm
Executive Producer Tom Ruegger
Directed by Eric Radomski and Bruce W. Timm
Music by Shirley Walker
Animation by Dong Yang Animation, Inc., Spectrum Animation
Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne / Batman
Dana Delany as Andrea Beaumont
Hart Bochner as Arthur Reeves
Stacy Keach, Jr. as Phantasm and Carl Beaumont
Abe Vigoda as Salvatore Valestra
Dick Miller as Chuckie Sol
John P. Ryana s Buzz Bronski
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
Robert Costanzo as Detective Bullock
Mark Hamill as The Joker
Arleen Sorkin as Bambi (Uncredited)
Jane Downs as Additional Voice
Pat Musick as Additional Voice
Vernee Watson-Johnson as Additional Voice
Ed Gilbert as Additional Voice
Peter Renaday as Additional Voice
Jeff Bennett as Additional Voice
Charles Howarton as Additional Voice
Thom Pinto as Additional Voice
Marilu Henner as Additional Voice
Neil Ross as Additional Voice
Click here for the MOTP Media / Pan page.
REEVES (on TV): What kind of city are we running when we depend on the
support of a potential MADMAN ?
ALFRED STOPS THE TV
ALFRED: Such rot, sir. Why, you're the very model of sanity. Oh, by the
way, I pressed your tights and put away your exploding gas balls.
BRUCE: Thank you, Alfred.
ANDREA (from visiting her mother's grave): So tell me, with all that
money and power, why do you always look like you want to jump off a
BRUCE: Why should you care ?
ANDREA: I don't. Mother was asking.
BRUCE (as vigilante): On your stomachs, arms spread !
THIEF: Who's this clown ?
ANDREA: Nice footwork. Can you dance too ?
GOTHAM'S FAIR, TEN YEARS BEFORE
HIGHSPEAKER VOICE: Welcome to the Gotham's world fair, a dream of the
future. A bright tomorrow filled with hope and promise for all mankind.
This is a vision of the shimmering utopia where we shall all spend the
rest of our lives.
ANDREA (calling her father): You're sure about this ?
BRUCE: Sure, I'm sure. (In Alfred's ear) What am I doing, Alfred ? This
isn't part of the plan ! I must be going nuts !
ALFRED: If I may make so bold, Master Bruce, I'd say quite the reverse.
BRUCE (to his parents' grave): It doesn't mean I don't care anymore. I
don't want to let you down, honest, but... but it just doesn't hurt so
bad anymore. You can understand that, can't you ? Look, I can give money
to the city to hire more cops. Let's someone else take the risk, it's
different now !
A LIGHTNING LIGHTS THE GRAVE
BRUCE: Please. I need it to be different now. I know I made a promise,
but I didn't see this coming. I didn't count on being happy.
REEVES: I suppose you could demand Police protection.
VALESTRA: What are you, a comedian ? This is the Batman we're talking
about. A freak job !
BATMAN: Sal's having company tonight. Don't wait up.
ALFRED: Meaning, I trust that once you're done with him, you'll be
seeing her ?
BATMAN: You think you know everything about me, don't you ?
ALFRED: I diapered your bottom, I bloody well ought to. . . SIR !
GOTHAM'S FAIR, IN THE PRESENT, EMPTY AND DIRTY - SAL VALESTRA CAREFULY
WALKS IN AND GASPS WHEN THE RUSTY FAIR ROBOTS START SINGING - SUDDENLY,
AN UNSEEN MACHINE GUN TEARS THE ROBOTS' HEADS OFF
JOKER: I hate that song.
JOKER: You know, I've been reading lately how old guano-man is wound
tight enough to snap. Wouldn't it be great if I'd finally driven him off
the deep end ? HAHAHAHA !!!
VALESTRA: This isn't a joke ! Batman's knocking us off, and you're the
only one who take him down ! Look, five millions up front, with whatever
you want to finish him off !
JOKER: YAAAAWWN. What do I look like, pest control ?
BATMAN: You still follow your dad's orders ?
ANDREA: The way I see it, the only one in this room controlled by his
parents is you.
BATMAN LEAVES - ANDREA WALKS TO HER BED AND BURSTS IN TEARS
REEVES (speaking on phone): You're telling me there were four precincts
on Batman's heels and he still got away ?
REEVES HANGS UP THE PHONE
REEVES: Unbelievable !
JOKER (at the door): Tsk, tsk. And to think our tax money goes to pay
JOKER: I'm impressed, lady. You're harder to kill than a cockroach on
JOKER: You're crazy ! I'm your only chance to get out of here ! Let me
go or we both die !
BATMAN: Whatever it takes !
ALFRED: Vengeance blackens the soul, Bruce. I always feared you would
become that which you fought against. You walked the edge of that abyss
every night, but you haven't fallen in and I thank Heaven for that. But
Andrea fell into that pit years ago, and no one, not even you, could
have pulled her back.
Review (by Emmanuel Papillon): Now, this is what Batman is
all about ! The BTAS team obviously wanted to make a classic with
that movie, and they succeeded. Every important Batman theme is
there : the 1940 mood, the gangster atmosphere, the gigantic town,
the corruption, and vengeance as a main subject. A lot of theme
found in such great stories as The Dark Knight Returns, such as the
"anti-bat" campaign, or the cops trying to get the Batman at any
cost, were also there, in a perfect consistency all along the movie.
It's dark, it's strong, it's what BTAS have accustomed us to.
The scenes taking place in the past were very cleverly written.
Bruce's first night as a vigilante was fun and interesting to watch,
because we clearly see he's not Batman yet, he's not yet as dark and
bitter as he'll be later. In fact, the whole movie is about the loss
of hope and the darkening of the future, and in that sense it
reminds the best Franck Miller scripts. Watching Bruce and Andrea at
the end arguing in the ruins of their past happiness is very moving.
Andrea Beaumont's character happens to be one of the most moving and
well-written characters of BTAS. Her expressions, dialogue and the
fact that she was probably Bruce's best chance of leading a happy
life conveys a lot of feelings for her. Her story with Bruce sounds
indeed very serious and realistic - unlike his romance stories with
Kyle or Talia which were more physical than long-lasting.
Bruce's obsession and hesitations between Batman and Andrea also fit
perfectly with his character. In fact, Mask of the Phantasm
describes what really made the Batman of BTAS what he is. There was
the death of his parents, of course, but he didn't really give up
happiness and Bruce Wayne to become Batman until Andrea left him.
The Joker is also well written, and appears like he really is, that
is more like a sadistic killer having his fun than a psychotic
clown. He's really scary, too, especially during his scene with
Reeves, he's menacing and not funny at all. There's even a short
scene with Velestra where we wonder if all that Joker thing with all
its theatrical effects isn't an act to escape justice by pleading
Alas, the animation wasn't always on the same level than the story.
It was very uneven, some scenes and effects were very nice, like the
smoke surrounding the Phantasm or most of the flashback scenes, and
the end was also impressive, but some ordinary scenes were just
horrible. The Joker was always changing shape during his first
appearance with Valestra, the background characters always seemed a
bit stiff, and there were some big continuity design problems - like
Valestra's smile with pink gum on one shot and no gum on the next
one. All in all, between its bright and poor moments, it deserves
four stars, though... and the whole movie well deserves its five
Review (by Jim Harvey): Fans of "Batman: The Animated Series"
should love "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm." Unlike director Tim
Burton's live-action "Batman" films, this animated feature actually
puts the emphasis on the Dark Knight rather than the still-colorful
villains. It's kind of a kitchen-sink "Batman" tale - his past,
present and future are all mixed into a brew full of angst and
action. This movie has a lot of factors which should make it totally
enjoyable to fans. We got classic action, as well as a new villains
who looks to be a complete bad-ass, which is pretty. It's nice to
see a villain who doesn't pull his punches for a change.
"Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" features the look of the current
animated television show - an alluring "Dark Deco" - and was
produced and animated by the same team. The animation fits as well
on the big screen as it does on the small TV screen. While the
animation is exactly the same as it is on the show, it seems
more...enhanced, or something, here on MOTP. There's just something
about the story and about the animation that makes it seem bigger
As much for adults as for children, this "Batman" is basically a
film noir with a haunting love story and edgy suspense.
"Mask of the Phantasm" blends nicely with the "Batman" mythology
that began with Bob Kane's creations for DC Comics. Billionaire
Bruce Wayne (voice of Kevin Conroy) - who fights crime disguised as
Batman - is puzzled when underworld figures start getting bumped
off. Witnesses describe the killer as a hooded, caped figure -
possibly Batman. Intent on clearing his alter ego's name, Bruce
studies evidence for clues to the true identity of this mysterious
Meanwhile, the lonely Dark Knight is thrown into turmoil when his
long-lost love, Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany), suddenly returns to
town. Bruce hasn't seen Andrea since she broke their engagement a
decade ago. This little plot is a nice addition to the Batman
mythos. While we're used to seeing Batman as this cold unforgiving
figure, it's nice to see his alter ego getting in on some of the
action, and story time. As wel delve into his past, we can actually
feel his pain in some flashbacks, and frustration.
Although the story isn't exactly packed with surprises, it is
efficiently plotted. At 70-odd minutes, it doesn't feel much longer
than a television show, but it accomplishes a lot in a short time.
This movie is able to provide the viewer with a lot of information
in a short time, but doesn't make the movie feel congested and too
quick. The pace is pretty good in this movie. A bit iffy in places
here and there, but overall the pace is well done. This movie has it
all: an intriguing plot, interesting dialogue, rapid-fire action and
good characterization. It also shows you can have two costumed
villains in the movie and still have the whole story center around
BATMAN (take note, future directors: it all goes back to a GOOD
STORY that doesn't assume the audience has the intelligence and
attention span of a six-year-old hopped up on sugar and caffeine.) I
know I've said it already and will likely repeat it adnausuem, but
the voice actors here are great!
The story is able to build itself up to the inevitable showdown, as
well as the many twists which will no doubt be littered throughout
It's interesting to note that Mark Hamill - who as Luke Skywalker in
the "Star Wars" trilogy was upstaged by Han Solo and aliens - does
the voice of the Joker (as on the series) but still can't steal the
show from Batman. No one can. Kevin Conroy just has the perfect
voice for Batamn. He is able to change his voice between Bruce and
Batman personas, and that really emphasis the change of the
characters. Of course, it also brings up the question of who really
is the mask and who is the alter-ego. He's even able to make his
voice a bit higher in the flashbacks scenes, which is barely
noticeable, although a nice effect.
The best things about "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" are the slim
but sure slices of sophisticated dialogue (as seen, or rather,
heard, on TV!) and the very lifelike chemistry between Conroy's
Bruce and Delany's Andrea. It's odd how the live-action Bruce
Wayne's chemistry is as cold as ice, but animated, it seems pretty
damn real! Conroy deliver a great job on their roles, and it shows.