DC animated films were truly a staple of my childhood. Today, Marvel dominates the younger demographic through live action films but when I was younger I didn't watch Spider-Man, Iron-Man, Captain America, or really anything animated from Marvel, I watched DC. I remember it as if it was yesterday, a 5 year old me filled with excitement as my mother came home from the video store. Little did I know, she would bring home a film that would stick with me throughout my life until this day. That movie was Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm.
What is Batman: Mask of the Phantasm?
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was a Warner Bros animated film that was released in 1993. The film featured an array of talented voice actors such as Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Dana Delaney. It is often considered one of the best animated DC films of all time and for pretty good reason. I recently dusted off my old VHS and gave it another watch to see whether or not it holds up after all these years.
What is the plot?
Set in the 1940s, Batman encounters an enemy unlike any he has faced before: the Phantasm. A vigilante is taking out high ranking mobsters and Batman is unsure as to who and why. The vigilante gets the attention of both the mob and police and most assume it is Batman committing these murders. As a last resort, The Joker is asked to take out the Bat for good. This is really one of the most engaging plots from any DC or Marvel animated feature and it truly makes this movie stand out.
How is the voice acting?
As you would expect with any DC animated film, the voice acting is top notch. Kevin Conroy has the definitive Bruce Wayne/Batman voice and nobody will ever come close to Mark Hamill as The Joker. The film is also supported by Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, and Abe Vigoda. The surprise performance of this film was Dana Delany as Andrea Beaumont AKA The Phantasm. Delany was so good that DC hired her to voice Lois Lane in Superman: The Animated Series. Delany and Kevin Conroy had great voice chemistry and both really make each other's performances that much better. The voice acting from this movie is legendary and will live on forever.
What makes this film so great?
There are a multitude of things that make this move truly legendary, but similar to many other Batman animated films, Mark Hamill's voice work as The Joker is the crown jewel in the jewelry store that is this film. Mark Hamill is the reason The Joker is a favorite amongst young people who watched these animated films. Mark Hamill aside, everything about this film is excellent as well. The animation is that classic, early 90s style and it works to perfection. Kevin Conroy and Dana Delany compliment their voice work and with Mark Hamill added into the mix you can not go wrong. The plot didn't reinvent the wheel and was a bit predictable but nonetheless it was very enjoyable to watch and never gets old. If you haven't watched this gem of a movie then stop whatever you are doing and go get yourself a copy, you will not be disappointed.