Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Movie Poster Image

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

(i)

 

Tamer than live-action, but still moody, violent.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: August 27, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 74 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Batman never kills and seems to act noble and suitably heroic. Though his quest for justice suggests that being a vigilante has ruined Bruce Wayne's personal life, his righteous motivations and crimefighting are contrasted with the much bleaker personal vengeance mission of the Phantasm. Andrea is a particularly strong female character. Gangsters are of stereotypically Italian-American descent, and Gotham City businessmen, police, and government officials are mob-connected or threatening.

Violence

Much fighting, gunshots, and explosions. Some blood and dead bodies shown.

Sex

Just a hint that Bruce Wayne and Andrea have spent the night together.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking; Bruce Wayne gets wine tossed on him at a party by an ex-girlfriend.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a more mature Batman cartoon than the ones they might remember from their Saturday morning-TV childhoods. There is real death (including a parent), much violence -- even if it's animated -- involving explosions, guns, knives, etc. There's even some unsettling imagery involving corpses and the Joker that may upset the youngest kids. Anyone unfamiliar with the Batman saga might have some trouble following the story.

What's the story?

Though released to theaters, BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM was produced as a feature-length pilot to Batman: The Animated Series on TV. It fills out some Bat-lore about the character's early career. As college-age orphan millionaire Bruce Wayne starts out uncertainly in his personal crime-fighting crusade, initially dressed in sort of a ninja suit. When he falls in love with a smart co-ed named Andrea (who can do martial arts just as well as he), Bruce considers giving up the superhero thing altogether for marriage and a normal life. We see this in flashback; in the present, Bruce has become the legendary Batman, and he learns the long-lost Andrea is revisiting Gotham City. At the same time, another black-caped, costumed avenger is killing local mobsters, and Batman is getting unfairly blamed by both police and the homicidal Joker.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

It's easy to deduce the identity of the mysterious "Phantasm" -- Batman doesn't earn points here as a great detective; the real surprise is how the characters draw you into this so-so storyline. Watching Bruce Wayne brooding over thwarted romance and the choices he made is genuinely moving. This is definitely economy-style animation, but it's rendered with a nicely nostalgic Art Deco look. It works well in the exciting showdown in the Joker's lair at the dystopian ruins of the Gotham City World's Fair. And, while overshadowed by a flock of spectacular, live-action Batman movies, Mask of the Phantasm possesses an emotional nuance missing from the megabudget Bat-epics. Yes, that's Lucasfilm hero Mark Hamill, reportedly an actor who takes comics with great seriousness, relishing his unrecognizable voiceover as the Joker.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the style and storyline. Is an animated Batman more effective than an actor in a live-action epic? Do you like a Batman with personal problems or a basic high-tech crimebuster? You can also discuss Bruce Wayne's single-minded devotion to his mission. Is he doing the right thing? Is Batman a vigilante? How did kids like Mark Hamill's Joker, and who is their favorite version of this classic bad guy?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 29, 2008
DVD release date:April 10, 2005
Cast:Dana Delany, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill
Directors:Bruce Timm, Erik Radomski
Studio:Warner Home Video
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures
Run time:74 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:animated violence.

This review of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was written by

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Kid, 10 years old January 16, 2011

A true masterpiece so watch it

A complete masterpiece, however it is very frightening.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bymkalv February 1, 2009

Sorry, Bats.

As the first animated Batman film to be released theatriclly, it's a lttle diisapointing. I don't know why, I just don't like this film.
Teen, 13 years old Written bypicardisbetter April 7, 2015

Direct to video has never been so good

This movie is probably the best animated superhero movie in recent memory. Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and the rest of the gang's performance couldn't be bettered, even if one was to re-release it
What other families should know
Too much consumerism

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