Although the live-action Batman
franchise faltered artistically after Tim Burton gave up control, the slack was taken up by the Saturday morning cartoon show, whose creators are responsible for this feature film. Though a cartoon, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
is less cartoonish than the popular '60s TV show (which spawned its own movie, Batman: The Movie
). Mask of the Phantasm
combines the noir of the original comic book, the violence and dark humor of the Dark Knight
comic book revision, and Burton's two movies.
In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, everyone's favorite schizophrenic billionaire crime fighter is investigating the murders of several prominent gangsters. Meanwhile, his ex-fiancée and her father are back in town. Through flashbacks, these two death-obsessed kids are shown falling in love (she lost her mother; he lost both parents--of course, they meet in a graveyard), until she leaves quickly and mysteriously. Along the way, there's a short course in the origins of the Batman costume and the origins of the Joker (voice of Star Wars' Mark Hamill!), a big fight with the smoke-enshrouded Phantasm character, who is suspected of killing the gangsters, and an even bigger fight with the Joker at the abandoned Gotham World's Fair grounds. Altogether, a good ride. --Andy Spletzer
Unmasking the Phantasm is just one of the twists in Batman: Mask of Phantasm, "one of the most imaginative films of the past year" (Chuck Rich, Westwood One). Only here will you discover all-new revelations about Batman's past, his archrival the Joker and the most grueling battle of Batman's life - the choice between his love of a beautiful woman and his vow to be the defender of right. Batman: Mask of Phantasm is a "mystery that is genuinely absorbing, suspenseful and moving" (Cincinnati Enquirer) and a film no fan should be without! Can the Dark Knight elude the police, capture the Phantasm and clear his name? Year: 1993 Director: Eric Radomski Starring: Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Abe Vigoda