Where are the haters at? Bring em on. While DC has yet to expand it's film universe and doesn't have a lot of diversity, they have made plenty of good Batman films. But which is the best? Many all scream, "Nolan!" Yes, Christopher Nolan is a genius and gave us comic fans one of the greatest trilogies in cinema. But, he did not direct the best Batman film. And, it's not 'The Dark Knight.' So, lets take a moment to relive a lost classic from 1993 'Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm.'
This is a film based off the animation design of legendary Batman artist and writer, Bruce Timm; the man behind the acclaimed 'Batman: The Animated Series.' Oh yeah, he's that guy. And he knows his stuff. Big time.
This was the first Batman movie where he actually was a detective trying to solve a mystery! Jeez, he is only from "Detective Comics," after all. It's about a ghost like Batman imposter who goes around killing off gangsters, and Bats is put to blame, chased by the police, while dealing with a former love interest, and battles his greatest enemy; The Joker. Sounds simple, But I've never seen a story so beautifully told by any other Batman writer on screen. Here are a few things I noticed 'The Dark Knight' possibly borrowed from 'Phantasm.'
This is the REAL Joker. While Heath Ledger is the greatest live action Joker, Mark Hamill will always be Joker. Whenever I read a comic, I always hear his voice and laughter. This is the first Joker who watched THE WORLD BURN. As he set fire to a futuristic amusement park, he laughed at the destruction he caused, even though he was defeated.
It explored Bruce Wayne's journey from common street fighter to 'THE BATMAN' for the first time, and even before "Batman Begins." While in 'Begins,' Bruce trains with the League of Shadows, he takes a different approach by traveling the world learning jiu jitsu, and infiltrating Gotham's underworld, while getting his butt kicked because he can't strike terror in his victims. It's then, he decides he needs to exact fear into his victims and becomes the bat.
It gave us a great love interest for Bruce. Andrea Beaumont. A gift to Bruce during his college years. While trying to keep good on his vow to his deceased parents to rid the city of the crime, he found solace in Andrea and even thought of giving up his life of being a vigilante. But, we all know Batman can't have a happy ending, so the two never ended up together. They do see each other later on, I won't spoil anything. She is deadly, I'll give you that much. And, a way better love interest than that God-awful Rachel Dawes character in 'Dark Knight.'
It humanizes Batman, which isn't easy to do. He isn't an easy character to connect with. He's a billionaire playboy! How many of those do you know? Exactly. However, we all know heartbreak and the feeling of losing the one you love the most. Until this film, pre-'Dark Knight,' Batman never really lost the great battle. At the end of this movie, he lost the love of his life, was defeated by his arch nemesis, and still found a way to move on and fight another day. Because he's Batman! It taught future Batman writers and filmmakers how to tell the stories we all know and love today and we should all give it another watch. You might've overlooked something. Batman has no problem being alone, but that's the last thing he wants to be.