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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocked no one has reviewed this yet!
As the best of the batman movies to be released during the late 90's (on a par with Batman) it's amazing this movie slipped so far from public viewing. Mask of the Phantasm was the first movie to be released as a spin off from the hugely successful Batman the animated series (which in itself was the best kids cartoon possibly ever released and defiantly the best of its...
Published on 15 Jun. 2005

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Poor Quality
Firstly I have to say that this really is a great movie, fantastic performances from the usual Batman: Animated Series cast. Just the right amount of cartoony logic to the animation (see in particular the animations of the Joker) and writing that would hold up ion a live action film. Having said all that the video quality was strangely grainy, as though I was watching a...
Published on 31 Oct. 2011 by B


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocked no one has reviewed this yet!, 15 Jun. 2005
By A Customer
As the best of the batman movies to be released during the late 90's (on a par with Batman) it's amazing this movie slipped so far from public viewing. Mask of the Phantasm was the first movie to be released as a spin off from the hugely successful Batman the animated series (which in itself was the best kids cartoon possibly ever released and defiantly the best of its time)
As there is no Amazon review I'll just give a quick synopsis, the gangsters of Gotham are being killed of by a terminator meets grim reaper character and its up to batman to bring this vigilante to justice but while all this is happening Bruce Wayne has one more shot with the one who got away and once more he must decide can he sacrifice all he desires to remain as the caped crusader.
For those who have not seen any of the series let me just say that the animation is top notch and the voice talents absolutely superb, Mark Hammils rendition of the Joker almost ranks in memrobility beside his performance as Luke Skywalker.
This is a seriously good film and for once the cliché as much for the adult as the child holds true. One little note while personally I would find no problem with a child viewing this movie some would probably disagree so if showing it to a young child maybe a parent should give it a watch first (if nothing else it will let you enjoy it a second time with the kids!)
Enjoy
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dark knight as he should be portrayed, 25 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
I have always loved the animated series but have found it in some cases too child orientated. Now at last we have the batman how he is meant to be portrayed, something I have only ever known Tim Burton to do on screen! A film noir atmosphere, gothic design concept, a tragic romantic sub-plot this movie has it all. Gangsters, guns, gadgets intrigue and mystery. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil are on top form as usual and Shirley Walker's musical score should have even Danny Elfman muttering with jealousy. In short a must have for any self respecting batman fan!
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily on a par with the live action films, 10 April 2006
By 
R. Wood "ryecroftwood2" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Everyone loved the Batman animated series of the early nineties. There was no mystery as to why it was such a huge success. It consisted of nothing but pure quality. The character of the Batman and his universe was transferred perfectly from comic to TV, so it was no surprise that a movie would follow.
Given the fact that Batman Begins had just come out in the cinemas last June, it seemed only logical for Mask of the Phantasm to be released on DVD (at last!) round about the same time. Because, really, this can be interpreted as the animated version of Batman Begins (even though this was released twelve years prior!), as the Dark Knight's origin is explored in great capacity, as he has to deal with one of the most enigmatic and perverse foes he has ever faced: The Phantasm.
Batman is framed for the murders of Gotham's most dangerous gangsters. As the Caped Crusader has to unravel the mystery of the Phantasm's identity and motives, he must also have to confront his past and along the way, we discover how Batman almost never came to be because of Bruce Wayne's one and only chance to be happy.
There's so much going on in this film and there's so much depth to the plot. The mystique and aura of the Phantasm is what drives the film, but there's also a lot of creative insight regarding the past of Bruce Wayne. The exploration of who he was on his road to becoming Batman brings the film a lot of merit, along with the introduction of Andrea Beaumont, who unlike Batman's on-off relationships with Catwoman and Talia, was perhaps his only genuine shot at happiness.
Another positive boom is the inclusion of the Joker in this film. Given that this was the first-ever, feature-length, animated Batman movie, it would've been so easy to use the Dark Knight's greatest enemy as nothing more than window dressing. But fortunately, the Joker plays a very meaningful, and very significant role in the entire film. The Joker has always been one of the most fascinating characters in all of fiction, and his role in this film justifies that truth, as we discover that he's been in Batman's life much longer than we realise.
It's not just the dive into the past that makes this film, or the rich characterization, or the sheer mystery of the film. It's the action as well. There are tremendous sequences involving Batman being pursued by the GCPD, the murders of the Gotham mobsters, and of course the epic, brutal fights between Batman, the Phantasm and the Joker. They're all brought to life by the quality animation and Shirley Walker's fantastic music score.
Any negatives? Hardly. The only possible bad thing I could bring against this is that the animation may not be on a par with Disney or some of Warner Bros.' later stuff, but so what? It suits the film perfectly. And at the end of the day, it's the presentation that matters, and that certainly hasn't been messed up.
Mask of the Phantasm is right up there with the Tim Burton live-action films. It is the epitome of Batman storytelling, and without criticism, and I'm sure that nobody can dispute that. Yet for some bizarre, incomprehensible reason, it failed miserably at the box office.
One of the greatest Batman films has finally been released on DVD in this country, and it's about time. Sadly, there are no extras, despite the fact that there's supposed to be a trailer included as listed on the back of the case. I would've liked to see the trailer, along with audio commentary and a documentary or two, but I suppose it's irrelevant really. This timeless classic is here at long last, and that's all that matters.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 27 July 2007
Everything about this is just superb. I have a U.S version and one of the reviews on the back says "Gotham's saviour; the way he was meant to be", I couldn't agree more. This is an atmospheric piece of cinema-noir, the music is beautifully written and the animation is perfect. The cast deliver top-flight voice performances, Mark Hamill as the Joker really stands out.

The story is powerfully told using the classic neo-Gothic setting of Gotham City, that we all know and love. It is written with care and intelligence and has everything a good Batman story should have, plus a lot more. The tragi-romantic edge is superb and is genuinely moving the first time you see it.

Don't be fooled by the fact that this is a cartoon; kids wouldn't understand the permeatations and the meanings in "Mask of the Phantasm" and also it has a couple of moments that younger kids may find scarey

A true classic, a triumph in every sense, even if your not a Bat-fan you will admire this as a piece of art. - the Dark Knight: as he was supposed to be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best hand drawn animated films, 15 Mar. 2007
By 
It does tread on the same ground as Batman Begins - how he became Batman and began training etc but technically this came first. If you have had the pleasure of watching the animated series when it was on in the early 90s then you know what to expect.

A dark storyline, great visuals and excellent voice acting (particularly from Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as Joker). As you can pick this gem up relatively cheap - what have you got lose? The chances are you'll agree at how good this movie was for its day and still is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 11 Jun. 2000
By A Customer
Don't be fooled by it's cartoon appearance. This is just as mature as the first two Batman films and has the same dark feel to it, which is great. The story telling goes fast enough (even though it has flash backs) and is suprisingly good. It surpasses it's own cartoon series and is WAY BETTER than that Batman & Robin Crappy flick. A must have!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE best Batman movie ever., 29 Dec. 2012
By 
McRonson (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
Yoinks...it's scary to think that this is almost twenty years old!?!

Batman The Animated Series: Mask of the Phantasm is, in my estimation, the best Batman movie ever made. Forget that it's animated, the plotting itself could not have been bettered by anyone, never mind Christopher and Jonathon Nolan, the main writers on the recent hideously overrated Batman Trilogy with Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne.

Well, Mask of the Phantasm has got ALL three of these aforementioned efforts beat all hollow. Not to mention the previous quadrilogy by directors Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher.

Fans of my other reviews on the plethora of mostly pitiful live action attempts to do various Marvel and DC Comics characters justice will be aware of my catchphrase, "Template of failure" when comparing the animated versions of Batman, the Avengers et al to their big budget cinema incarnations and here, on Mask of the Phantasm, it's all substance and a correctly proportioned awful lot of style (mostly Art Deco, some Impressionism) compared to the Nolan Bat trilogy, for example.

Reading the script for B TAS: MOTP without ever seeing the visuals would still render this a classic. It's not giving anything away here to say that the actions of one Councilman Arthur Reeves, a romantic contender here for the hand of Bruce Wayne's first love, are the catalyst for bringing the Phantasm into being as well as possibly a certain chalk-faced, green haired Bat adversary. The way in which this is done is superlative - it's explained without visuals or laboured flashback sequences and this is exactly what makes Mask of the Phantasm adult in the sense that it also appeals to grownups and not just young children.

Similiar to The Dark Knight, the first ever superhero film to break the billion dollar box office mark, the Joker is presented here fully formed (almost - in the cartoons, he's never been named. Not even Alan Moore & Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke graphic novel gave him a name). Batman does do a little bit of lateral thinking with a red pen here but that's your lot for exposition or even a fullblown origin, thankfully.

The depiction of Bruce's early days as a costumed crimefighter also owes a nice debt to the four issue Frank Miller Batman: Year One comics as he attempts to find ways to strike fear into the hearts of evildoers (ahem..) but it all works and a later set piece involving Batman evading capture by Gotham's finest is similiar to a scene in Frank Miller's classic tale, The Dark Knight Returns (on the rooftop of the TV studios while the Joker is being interviewed on the "David Endochrine show") - very exciting and very realistic. Batman fighting cops? Why not?? He's a vigilante operating outside of the law!

Lastly, the choice of villains that Batman encounters here is unusual - it's all old gangsters! There's a good reason why this is and you'll have to watch the movie to find out but it's refreshing to see that the producers ruled out the use of any of Batman's regular Rogues gallery of costumed supervillains and instead created a totally new villain in the Phantasm for this then direct to video affair.

The quality of the print here isn't great; it's quite grainy in places. Apart from a trailer, there are no other extras and if you're ever unlucky enough to catch this on TV at any point, don't - it's cut to ribbons! Quite why TV censors would want to trim the violence in certain scenes down when so many rated 18 computer games are bought for children, lord knows, but this DVD is uncut and for that reason, as well as the other reasons I've gone into above, makes Batman: Mask of the Phantasm an essential purchase for any Batman fan.

Regards,

McRonson.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Knight's first animated movie!, 24 Jun. 2005
By A Customer
After a successful run through of the TV series Batman: The Animated Series, Warner Bros decide to make the Batman hit the big screen by having his own movie, which is fantastic. The film starts off well with some of Gotham City's most ruthless crime bosses & kingpins getting killed by a mysterious figure known as the Phantasm. After this everybody is convinced that Batman is responsible for the strange demise of crooks, but that isn't the only thing this movie reveals, we also get some insight into Batman's past when he met a woman called Andrea Beaumont and fell in love with her.
A few years later she returns to Gotham to get revenge after her father was murdered a long time ago, and Batman discovers that the Joker was one of the henchmen who threatened Andrea's father. I found the movie explained a lot of things about Bruce Wayne like how he became a vigilante before putting on the costume and turning into Batman, who puts the fear of God in most of the gangsters and criminals alike!
Anyway enough said, buy this film if you don't already have it, just add it to your collection, it's well worth it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a rare thing..., 12 Dec. 2008
By 
Joshua N. Crooks "JCROOKS" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It's a rare thing for an animated movie to surpass the live action attempts, but Batman has torn it's way through many different medias oer the years (from his first appearance in the comic books, right up until the live action movies of today), but this movie has to be seen to be believed. For those who want me to compare it to the dark knight, I would always choose this movie over the dark knight (but i maybe bias in the fact that this was a favourite childhood movie of mine), but they are two completely different approaches. If you haven't seen this yet, i would emplore you to buy it and try for yourselves, as this is a masterpiece in modern story-telling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Origin Story, 25 July 2012
By 
T. Cosens (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
The Mask of Phantasm serves as a great prelude or alternative origin story to the current crop of films and should be added to any fans collection. Most of the background story is told in flash backs and tells the story of Bruce Wayne's first real love. This also provides an origin story to the creation of the Joker and his on-going battle with Batman.

The present day story is about mistaken identity. A mystery figure is slowly bumping off well known criminals and making it look like Batman was involved. The race is then on for Batman to clear his name and find out the true culprit whilst avoiding the clutches of the law.

The action is fast paced and the story is well written. It would have been nice to see more of Gordon and Alfred, but that is just nit-picking. The animation is superb throughout and presents Gotham in a suitably dark and gothic manner.

The story starts off with the Phantasm being the predominant villain and then takes a turn to involve the Joker. It's a great plot move which enables a well known and much loved antagonist to enter the fray. As usual Batman really comes to life when he is up against his most dangerous wisecracking foe and it is no different here.

Batman continues to be the world's most interesting detective. It's well worth a visit to this early film if only to indulge further in the world of The Dark Knight.
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