Western Animation / Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

And you thought The Joker was scary...

"Your angel of death awaits..."
The Phantasm

Mask of the Phantasm is The Movie of Batman: The Animated Series. Of the various films based on the DC Animated Universe (and DC's original animated films), it is the only one to have been given a cinematic wide release.note  The film was released in 1993.

As Batman continues his war on Gotham City's underworld, he discovers a new foe who wants to take that war to a whole new level: the Phantasm, a mysterious masked figure who has killed off several of Gotham's high-profile mob bosses. The Phantasm has a similar appearance to Batman and targets criminals like Batman does, which leads the police to blame The Caped Crusader for the killings. As the police try to stop him, Batman tries to clear his name — and tries to stop the Phantasm before another murder happens.

The film also follows Bruce Wayne's past and present relationship with love interest Andrea Beaumont (who has her own ties to the Phantasm) and shows Bruce's first attempts at vigilantism before truly becoming The Batman.

The film was followed by the direct-to-video films Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.

Dana Delany was the voice of Andrea Beaumont. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their roles as Batman and The Joker from Batman: The Animated Series.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm contains examples of the following tropes

  • Abandoned Area: We see Bruce and Andrea visiting the Gotham World's Fair. A decade or so later, the abandoned, decaying ruins of the fair are the Joker's hideout.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: The Joker takes in the situation at the end: he's going to be killed by Batman's apparent former lover, dooming him to a lifetime of misery and regret, and belts out his loudest, longest laugh in the face of death. To him, he won the jackpot.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Some elements of the story are loosely taken from Batman: Year Two. The flashback scene where Bruce goes after some crooks before cooking up his Batman persona is also a reference to Year One.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The Reaper (whom the Phantasm was based on) not only went after criminals, but also had zero problem murdering anyone who dared stood in his way or attempted to "protect" his targets, including several cops. The Phantasm on the other hand solely targets mob bosses (specifically the ones involved with her father's death).
  • Alertness Blink: Bullock when standing behind the commissioner at the press conference.
  • All There in the Manual: Robin's absence is explained in the novelisation as Dick Grayson being away at college.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The Joker turns the World Of The Future amusement park into his own abode. Being The Joker, he also fills it with plenty of traps and puts high explosives in every one of the tunnels underneath the park (of which there are 20 miles worth).
  • And the Adventure Continues: The last shot is Batman surveying Gotham and the Bat Signal turns on, with him leaping into the sky.
  • Animation Bump: The film has noticeably better animation compared to the average Batman The Animated Series episode. A few select set pieces stand out (a few of the Phantasms' smoke effects and the final explosions at the Gotham World Fair most notably).
  • Anti-Villain: The Phantasm murders people, but they're all really sleazy characters that nobody's exactly going to miss. Phanty's motives, when revealed, are also pretty sympathetic.
  • Ascended Extra: Not in the film itself, but in the novelization, which ties up a dangling plot thread by giving some extra scenes to a character who's only in the film for less than a minute.
  • Asian Airhead: One of the girls vying for Bruce's attention at the party at the beginning of the movie.
    Airhead: What about the "I" word?
    Bruce: "I" word?
    Airhead: "Ingagement".
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Batman was rather annoyed when Alfred thinks he has any intentions of getting back together with Andrea.
    Batman: You think you know everything about me, don't you?
    Alfred: I diapered your bottom, I bloody well ought to... Sir!
    Batman: (gets in the Batmobile) Well, you're wrong! (drives away)
  • Asshole Victim: Almost every death in the movie is that of a violent, unrepentant criminal that nobody mourns. Batman only opposes the Phantasm because, regardless of the fact that they deserved it, it is not any one person's place to be judge, jury, and executioner.
  • Award-Bait Song: "I Never Even Told You", sung by Tia Carrere.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Salvatore Valestra. It's essentially the most mob-bossiest mob boss name ever. Damn.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Well, sort of. We get to see Bruce put on the cowl for the first time.
  • Bat Signal: After blaming Batman for the first murder, Reeves and various cops try to summon him with the bat signal. However, he already knew they were looking to take him in and didn't show up.
  • Behind the Black: Buzz Bronski falls into a grave that's out of view of the camera because it's over the edge of a hill. However, he should have been able to see it from his point of view. Since it was night, this may be a case of Hollywood Darkness, but no one else had any trouble moving around before.
  • Berserk Button: When Valestra reminds Joker of his past as Valestra's enforcer, the whole background turns red as Joker twitches in anger before screaming at him. Although, he does regain his cool and play it off a moment later.
  • Beta Outfit: Bruce Wayne's first shot at an "intimidating" costume for fighting crime causes more shrugs than fear. It is only after a lot of additional trauma and brooding that he comes up with the cowl in his last flashback.
  • Big Bad: The Phantasm. Though the Joker steals the spotlight when he gets involved.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Batman showing up in the Batwing to confront the Phantasm.
    • And again when he shows up in the Batcycle at Joker's hideout.
  • Big Damn Movie: Averted in that the scale of threat is relatively small compared to some of the episodes of the TV series. The stakes for Batman, however, are higher in that the police are after him and the matter is much more personal than usual.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, Andrea disappears with the Joker in the explosions, but she leaves Bruce her locket, therefore letting him know she survived. The film doesn't exactly end on a happy note, though.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The Phantasm, who is Bruce's old flame is killing mobsters, but the mobsters all had been responsible for her father's death and the Joker is obviously bad, but he may have done a favor for Sal Valestra and Arthur Reeves.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The Phantasm wields a bladed weapon over one of his hands.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The TV cartoon, while being significantly more "adult" than just about any animated program made for American syndication before or since, still could not show any blood or show anyone being killed. This film, made as a theatrical release, had no such censorship limitations, and so we see a fair bit of blood as well as seeing the Phantasm straight-up murder people. We also see a grinning corpse used for a scare effect.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Valestra brings one when appealing to the Joker to save him from the Phantasm. It doesn't work.
  • Call-Forward: In a flashback where Bruce and Andrea visit the Gotham World's Fair, he took notice of a display of a futuristic car resembling the Batmobile.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Andrea did this to her father concerning his remarkably poor decision to be business partners with guys like Sal Valestra.
  • Car Fu: A villainous example: when Chuckie Sol tries to run over Phantasm in the opening scene. Sadly, his Car Fu isn't strong, and he ends up killing himself.
  • Cast as a Mask: Stacey Keach plays the Phantasm, but not his secret identity. Deliberate misdirection since he also plays Andrea's father.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Your Angel of Death awaits."
  • Central Theme: The Future gets invoked a lot.
  • Chair Reveal: Used when the Phantasm invades the home of Sal Valestra... and finds that the Joker got there first.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The swarm of bats that interrupts Bruce's proposal to Andrea leads Bruce to investigate the cave where they came from, which in turn leads to him establishing the Batcave there.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Joker during his brief fight with the Phantasm. Subverted later when the Joker bypasses a large kitchen knife to grab a salami and bludgeon the Phantasm with it.
  • Composite Character: The movie takes elements of the story Year Two. The Reaper was Judson Caspian, whose daughter Rachael was in a budding relationship with Bruce Wayne. In the movie, Andrea Beaumont was both the Phantasm and the love interest.
    • In addition, the Phantasm has a few similarities with Azrael, who debuted in the comics more than a year prior to this film's release. Phantasm's mask resemble's Azrael's more so than Reaper's (though keeping some of the skull motifs of the latter's mask) and interestingly the Phantasm self-describes as an "Angel of Death", a title of which is also associated with Azrael.
  • Compromising Call: The Joker has paid Councilman Arthur Reeves a visit. During this time, Andrea Beaumont — the daughter of the man they're discussing — calls, and the Joker — immediately suspicious — forces Arthur to pretend that all is well. Afterwards, the Joker comments on this:
    The Joker: "Now ain't that a co-inkidink. We're discussing the old man and the fruit of his loins just happens to call. Makes you wanna laugh..."
    The next scene is Reeves in a fit of laughter in the hospital.
  • Continuity Nod: The socialite angry at Bruce for dumping her had previously appeared in the episode "Joker's Wild", wearing the same hairstyle, evening dress, High Class Gloves, and fur wrap.
  • Cool Mask: The titular mask of the Phantasm, which resembles a skull.
  • Counterfeit Cash: Chuckie Sol, the first gangster victim of the Phantasm, intended to launder a briefcase full of the high-grade variety in his casino before his encounter with Batman (and the Phantasm).
  • Darker and Edgier: It's a widely held consensus that this is easily the most mature of the DCAU Batman adaptations (and that's saying something!). It's only logical since the show had the same amount of finesse with handling adult issues but keeping it at a PG-rating (or at least trying to).
  • Dead Man Honking: Happens when the Phantasm killed one of the mafiosi inside his own car.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Alfred.
      Alfred: What rot, sir! Why, you’re the very model of sanity. Oh by the way, I pressed your tights and put away your exploding gas balls.
      Bruce: (grinning) Thank you, Alfred.
    • Joker during the scene where Valestra tries to hire him to kill Batman.
      Joker: (yawns) What do I look like, pest control ?
  • Decomposite Character: The movies takes elements of the story Year Two. The Reaper was Judson Caspian. However, despite both sharing a voice actor, Carl Beaumont isn't the Phantasm.
  • Demoted to Extra: Commissioner Gordon has a few lines in the first half where he argues that Batman wouldn't be killing mobsters, and after the second murder tells Arthur Reeves to direct the Batman manhunt himself as he wasn't going to be part of it. He isn't seen for the rest of the movie.
  • Deus ex Machina: Subverted. It seems like this when Andrea's car shows up in the nick of time to rescue Batman from the police pursuing him. She was already in the area as the Phantasm and changed her clothes.
  • The Dreaded: The Joker. Even the guy who hires him wishes there was another way and for good reason — Joker murders him off-screen.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Reeves asked Carl for help with his political campaign, Carl refused, and Reeves sold him out to the mob in return.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Sal Valestra hires the Joker as a hitman. The latter kills the former to use his corpse as bait for the hit.
  • Evil Old Folks: Sal Valestra, at least in the parts of the movie set in the "present".
  • Evil Overlooker: In the poster above, the Phantasm is looming above Batman menacingly.
  • Expy: The Phantasm is heavily inspired by the Reaper, a violent vigilante from Batman: Year Two.
  • False Reassurance:
    The Phantasm: You're not smiling, Joker. I thought you found death amusing.
    The Joker: Oh, me? You won't hear a giggle out of me. [he presses a hidden button and his robot "wife" laughs maniacally and attacks with a kitchen knife]
    • Earlier in the film, he has another.
    The Joker: Nobody's gonna hurt my pal, Sal.
  • Fat Bastard: Buzz Bronski, the second of the Phantasm's victims.
  • Femme Fatale: Andrea, upon being revealed to be the Phantasm.
  • Fiery Redhead: Andrea sometimes. Also the one socialite who chews Bruce out for suddenly dumping her.
  • Film Noir: This is probably the most noir-ish example of a Batman adaptation ever. The tone is dark and foreboding. The villain is a murderous Femme Fatale. The main story involves people unable to escape the past, making bad choices because they can't free themselves from guilt.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: In this case, actually a Swing At The Camera Ending, with Batman swinging towards the screen and then a little bit to the up and left (so technically its last shot is of Batman's armpit).
  • Foot Popping: Andrea does this when she and Bruce have a passionate kiss after being reunited.
  • Foreshadowing: Loads of it:
    • Andrea took self-defense classes and can take Bruce on. You don't say...note 
    • Andrea telling Bruce that her father "doesn't matter anymore." Bruce thinks this is because he was told Andrea's father is the Phantasm, but it is because Beaumont is already dead and Andrea herself is wearing the costume.
    • The Joker confronting Reeves in his office hints that they know a good deal about the Beaumonts. The Joker puts the pieces together about the Phantasm's identity in this scene and later tries to kill Andrea with a booby trap phone call (calling his intended target "toots" and "boopsie"). The reason he does not suspect Andrea's father is also foreshadowed in all of this - because Joker was the one to kill him all those years ago.
      • Batman was the one who picked up the phone, and likely realized the Phantasm isn't Andrea's father and she was still keeping something from him.
    • Bruce's proposal to Andrea is interrupted by a swarm of bats erupting from the cave below them.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Dual examples in the spooky, unnamed mafia hitman who eventually becomes The Joker and Andrea, who takes a few levels in badass and becomes the Phantasm.
  • Ghostly Glide: Part of the Phantasm's whole spooky persona is his ability to seemingly glide across the ground, an effect he uses when going for the kill on his victims. At other times the Phantasm is seen to run normally.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Things have gotten pretty desperate when you try to hire the Joker as a hitman.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Phantasm's design is based on this. Lampshaded when the Phantasm calls himself the "angel of death." Also lampshaded by the Joker: When Reeves tells Joker that Batman is killing Beaumont's gang, the Joker answers, "It ain't the Bat...I've seen the guy, looks more like the Ghost of Christmas Future. Nowhere near as cute as Bat-boy."
  • Heartbroken Badass: Batman again, and especially so by the end of it. Andrea is also one. Two times they had chances at love: the first time their happiness was destroyed by her father, the second time by Andrea's thirst for revenge.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Andrea Beaumont. Bruce was actually prepared to marry her. Incidentally, a socialite who he previously dated, and then calls him out for not bothering to phone her near the beginning of the film, is also a redhead.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Phantasm. Alfred even notes it when consoling Bruce near the end of the movie.
    Alfred: Vengeance blackens the soul, Bruce. I've always feared that you would become that which you fought against. You walk the edge of that abyss every night, but you haven't fallen in, and I thank heaven for that. But Andrea fell into that pit years ago, and no one, not even you, could have pulled her back.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The Joker's relevance to the plot and centrality to the climax does kind of come out of nowhere; he's not even introduced until about halfway through, and even then his connection to events is only hinted at for a while after. A case of Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Batman confronted Andrea about what she knows, but she claimed ignorance and wants him to leave. Before leaving, he spitefully asks her whether she's still following her dad's orders. She retorts that he's the only one in the room being controlled by his parents — she knows who he really is after seeing him near the tombstone of Bruce's parents. But as soon as he's gone, she collapses onto her bed, sobbing uncontrollably. She probably said that so Batman/Bruce wouldn't interfere, but it hurt her to say that to him.
    • Invoked later in the movie:
      Batman: But, Andi, what will vengeance solve?
      Andrea: If anyone knows the answer to that, Bruce, it's you.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Arthur Reeves had his own reason for selling out Andrea and her father to the mob.
    Arthur Reeves: laughing hysterically due to Joker toxin) I was broke! Desperate! They said all they wanted was their money back!
  • Inexplicably Awesome: The Phantasm appears to have super strength, super speed and smoke-related teleportation, and makes it pretty clear in a couple instances that the last one is a bona fide superpower. The movie never explains how the Phantasm is able to do any of this, save the Bat-computer's analysis that the Phantasm's gas is some sort of Applied Phlebotinum (a complex molecular polymer of some sort.)
  • In the Hood: The Phantasm disguises himself with a spooky Grim Reaper hood.
  • Ironic Echo: One of the mob bosses the Phantasm kills had earlier said that the Phantasm's previous victim "always was a loser." Right before the Phantasm kills him, he says that the mob boss always was a loser.
  • ISO-Standard Urban Groceries: Andrea is carrying the standard paper bag with French bread sticking out the top, when she comes home and gets a terrible surprise.
  • Jerkass:
  • Joker Immunity: Joker's fate at the end of the movie is not revealed, but his appearances in later DCAU materials show that he clearly survived.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • "Chuckie, Chuckie...you always were a loser." Some thing to say to a dead friend's grave.
    • Played for Laughs when the Joker kicks the robotic dog in the World Of The Future amusement park.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The Joker's murder of Sal Valestra and later poisoning Arthur Reeves with some of his laughing gas.
  • Kung-Foley: Immediately following Bruce's first night trying his hand at this whole vigilante gig, we see him practicing Jujitsu in his front yard accompanied with full sound effects.
  • Lady Killer In Love: Inverted with Bruce. He was genuinely in love with Andrea before he became the womanizer he is in the modern parts of the movie. Then he and Andrea briefly get back together again...
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Arthur Reeves sold out Andrea and her father to the mob for refusing to fund his first election, thereby facilitating Andrea's father's death. As a result, the Joker initially suspects him of either being or hiring the Phantasm to get rid of loose ends and confronts him. Though the Joker quickly deduces that it's Andrea instead, he still doses Arthur with Joker toxin, leaving him hospitalized.
  • Laughing Mad: The Joker constantly laughs throughout the film, but the most notable instance of Laughing Mad is right when, shortly after being captured by the Phantasm/Andrea Beaumont and Batman, and certainly going to die at the former's hand, the bombs across the abandoned future fair grounds explode and start demolishing the fairgrounds, making any chances of him dying even more likely; the Joker starts breaking down into uncontrollable laughter.
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test: Take away everything to do with Batman being framed, the Phantasm trying to get revenge on the Joker, and Bruce Wayne's failure to hold on to a woman. This is the core of the film, where Batman's ready to become a masked vigilante and go down the path of darkness and angst forever (although he hasn't seen any bats yet)...but has found happiness with Andrea Beaumont, the Girl of the Week. This leads into a scene where he begs his (dead) parents to let him go.
  • Leitmotif: Batman and the Joker's respective themes are carried over from the show (and benefit from the full orchestra). Composer Shirley Walker also created new leitmotifs for the Valestra Gang, the Bruce/Andrea romance, and the Phantasm.
  • Loan Shark: This is strongly implied to have been the reason Andrea's father had to uproot both himself and her and run to Europe. Though he eventually recoups their money, they decide they've had enough of his stalling and send a certain hitman to kill him.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: Bruce refuses to do this. "It's gotta be one or the other, I can't have it both ways. I can't put myself on the line if there's someone waiting for me to come home."
  • The Mafia: Carl Beaumont makes the staggeringly bad decision to launder money for the mob, and he makes the even worse decision to embezzle from them. This forces him to flee for his life with Andrea. In the present story, the Phantasm is back to exact revenge on Carl's enemies.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Does the Phantasm have supernatural abilities? Or does he use smoke grenades and other tricks?
  • Mêlée à Trois: The film is largely a three-way conflict between Batman, the Phantasm, and the Joker, as demonstrated by this nifty color guide. By the time they're all gathered in the same place, though, Enemy Mine has come into effect.
  • The Mole: Reeves was Carl's accountant and helped organize both his escape and refinancing the money Carl owned to the mob. When he asked Carl for help with his political campaign Carl refused, and Reeves sold him out to the mob in return.
  • Monster Clown: The Joker, who else? He's an evil clown!
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • A slight version occurs when Sal Valestra tries to convince the Joker to take out Batman. The Joker pokes fun at the old man and seems to ignore him the entire time. Then we find out he murdered the old guy and propped him up in a chair to lure The Phantasm into a trap.
    Joker: (to Sal) That's it! That's what I like to see! A nice big smile.
    • In that whole scene he goes through some.
    Joker: (fuming mad) Don't touch me, old man! (shoves Sal, then smiles, laughs and brushes him up) I don't know where you've been!
    • Later on, when the Phantasm shows up to get Valestra but instead finds a corpse with a camera set up by the Joker, this trope is fully reinstated:
    Joker: (on a speaker) Whoops! Looks like the joke's on me, you're not Batman at all. There's a new player in town, and soon his name will be all over town... to say nothing of his face, legs, spleen, and head! (bomb detonates)
    • When The Joker is meeting with Arthur Reeves, he goes from intimidating, to nonchalant, to full-on psychopathic in about 2 and a half-minutes.
  • Mythology Gag: During a flashback, a bat was briefly seeing outside Bruce's window and flew away. However, Bruce didn't see it, as he was preoccupied with designing his new vigilante costume. In the comics, the original reason he chose the form of a bat was because one crashed through his study window and Bruce recalled the sudden fear he had, later versions had him falling into the bat cave as a child and being startled by a swarm of bats. The movie does its own version of events as Bruce and Andrea are walking the Wayne Manor grounds at sunset and a swarm of bats emerge from a nearby crevice (also leading him to explore the cave later on).
    • Joker was partially responsible for the origin of Batman, like in the 1989 movie.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted in the climax of the film: "Let me go or we'll both die!" "Whatever it takes!"
  • New Old Flame: Andrea Beaumont is introduced as the one-time love of Bruce's life who has never been mentioned before. The movie does at least go to the trouble of showing the original relationship in flashback.
  • No Name Given: Despite the film being titled "Mask of the Phantasm", the word "Phantasm" is never used and leaves Andrea's disguise nameless.
  • No-Sell: The Phantasm's first appearance has a mob boss shooting at him almost a dozen times with the bullets not doing a thing. Exactly how the Phantasm was able to do that is never actually explained, but presumably it was him making good use of his Smoke Out abilities, or perhaps heavy duty body armor.
  • Not So Different: The Phantasm thinks this of Batman and herself. Alfred agrees, to a point, but notes at the end that unlike the Phantasm, Batman does not kill (see He Who Fights Monsters above).
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Alfred, seeing Bruce in the cowl for the first time.
    Alfred: Dear... God!
    • Alfred also gets pissed once, when Bruce says that Alfred only thinks he knows him.
      Alfred: I diapered your bottom! I bloodly well ought to! Sir!
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Bruce gets one when examining a group photo of Sal Valestra's old gang. One of the men looks familiar. With a red pen, he draws a grin and...
    Batman: Oh, no!
    • Arthur when he realizes the Joker is in his office.
    • Also when the Joker believes Arthur hired the Phantasm to kill the mobsters, erasing his connections with them.
    Arthur: (backs away, nervously) Uh, wait a minute, you don't think...?
    [phone call from Andrea]
    • Then Joker when Andrea looms over him after his jetpack crash.
      Joker: Uh-oh.
    • While we can't see the Phantasm's expression due to wearing a mask, she likely has this reaction when she finds out the Joker is onto her when he laid a booby trap on Sal Valvestra's body (originally intended for Batman).
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Played with. The opening theme for the movie is a choral version of the main theme from the animated series. However, the language isn't Latin, or even a real language. Word of God is that the lyrics were the names of some of the film's producers written backwards.
  • Origins Episode:
    • We see Bruce's first night out as a vigilante, the inspiration for his costume, the inspiration for the Batmobile, the discovery of the Batcave, and the first time he put on the mask.
    • We also see Bullock as a beat cop!
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The Phantasm's entire modus operandi, coming back to kill the mobsters who destroyed Carl and Andrea Beaumont's lives.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Chuckie Sol. In the book, it's explained that he deliberately cultivates that image because he believes it'll be taken as a sign of weakness if he ever lets anyone see him smile. The one time he ever smiles in the story is explained in the book by his belief that the Phantasm, who's the only character seeing him do it, won't live long enough to tell anybody.
  • Photo Doodle Recognition: Bruce realizes a gangster in an old picture is the Joker after drawing his trademark grin on it.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Joker: (to Sal) That's what I like to see - a great big smile.
  • Pretty in Mink: A socialite wears a black fur wrap while describing how Bruce dumped her. The fur even adds a dramatic flourish when she throws a drink at Bruce, turns around, and storms away.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Joker's first instance as one in the DCAU, though he screws his employer over big time.
  • Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": An especially chilling example happens when we find out what the Joker does to Sal Valestra.
  • Reality Ensues: For a cartoon, in that when Batman decks the Joker hard, a tooth is knocked out — and remains out.
  • Red Herring: Carl Beaumont is the most likely candidate after the puzzle starts to unravel, and Stacy Keach voiced both characters. Joker knew it couldn't be Carl because he personally killed him several years ago, and addressed the Phantasm by female pronouns when they show up, with Andrea revealing herself to him.
  • Refusal of the Call: We see that Bruce tried to do this, but...
  • Returning the Wedding Ring: When Andrea breaks up with Bruce she does so through a "Dear John" Letter and her engagement ring left behind for him to find.
  • The Reveal:
    • The silent mob enforcer/hitman in the flashbacks is actually the Joker now.
    • Everyone thought that Carl Beaumont was the Phantasm, only in a flashback towards the end do we realize that Carl was murdered by the mob he owed money to (even though he already paid them) and the Phantasm is in fact, Andrea.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The Phantasm's vendetta has become all-consuming, to the point that Andrea keeps on with it even when she knows it will cost her any chance of a happy-ever-after with Bruce. "I'm not saying it's right or even sane, but it's all I have left."
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Andrea's motivation for being the Phantasm is to make the mobsters who ruined her life (and took her father) pay for what they've done. And she's not letting anyone stop her, especially not Bruce, even if she'll lose his love.
  • Roof Hopping: The Phantasm does this when Batman swoops down on him in the Batplane after catching him outside Sal's house. And then when the police show up, Batman has to do this.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The World Of The Future amusement park is a metaphor for Bruce's own future. When he and Andrea visit it, it's bright, shining, and hopeful. In the present day, however, the park has become decayed, rotted, and unforgiving — not to mention being haunted by an insane clown. And the second Andrea refuses Batman's Last-Second Chance by stating that she intends to break his one rule the place explodes into utter chaos.
  • Running Gag: Alfred walking in on Bruce and Andrea kissing, where he quickly walks out without disturbing them.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Phantasm is Andrea Beaumont.
  • Scale Model Destruction: The climactic battle takes place on a scale model of Gotham in an abandoned fair.
  • Scare Chord: We get one of these about halfway through the film, although the moment was creepy enough without it.
    Phantasm: Salvatore Valestra, your Angel of Death awaits... (The Phantasm pulls the newspaper from Valestra's hands, revealing his corpse, his face contorted into a horrific rictus smile.)
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: A twisted variation: even though Beaumont becomes wealthy enough to repay The Mafia several times over, he's still killed to make an example of welshers.
  • Second Face Smoke: Sal does this to Bruce as gesture of dominance in one of the flashbacks.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: When Batman interrogates Andrea, she makes it clear she knows he and Bruce are the same person, which allows her to have a Big Damn Hero moment, rescuing him from the police.
  • Series Fauxnale: The movie was originally intended to be the series finale, which is why Joker seemingly dies at the end.
  • Servile Snarker: Alfred as always.
    Alfred: What rot, sir! Why, you’re the very model of sanity. Oh by the way, I pressed your tights and put away your exploding gas balls.
    Bruce: (grinning) Thank you, Alfred.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Done twice with Bruce Wayne and Andrea Beaumont (the first time in flashback). Both times, the camera pans away to a slightly ajar doorway, in which Alfred appears, mutters a quick "Oh my", and moves away. But subverted the first time, as the camera pans to them making out on the grass. The second time however, it is made clear exactly what went on off screen, especially in the scene afterwards, it shows Andrea sitting on the balcony gazing at the sea, wearing nothing but Bruce's shirt. Bruce himself is seen wearing nothing but pants.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Andrea is only seen wearing a large shirt after she spends the night with Bruce.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Possibly why Harley Quinn isn't here.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bruce taking out a motorcyclist on foot is a direct reference to AKIRA.
    • When Batman is washed down the sewer near the end of the movie, the sequence of shots is the same as Lupin being washed down an aqueduct in The Castle of Cagliostro.
    • Batman's escape from the police through a construction zone is similar to a scene with a condemned building in Batman: Year One.
    • Joker tries to escape on a jet pack similar to the one James Bond used in the beginning of Thunderball
    • The end scene is almost identical to that of the 1989 Batman: Batman standing on a rooftop, looking at the Bat-signal. It's just that both are never fully in frame at one time.
    • Alfred's line about vengeance and the abyss is very similar to Friedrich Nietzsche's quote about becoming that which you fight against.note 
    • The lyrics of the chorus singing the Batman theme are the names of the production crew backward. It's elaborated on in Ominous Latin Chanting.
    • The famous WB shield logo pops up on a ruin at the amusement park, for no reason.
  • Sleazy Politician: Councilman Arthur Reeves starts out as a typical anti-Batman crusader (who is also friends with Bruce Wayne), but it turns out he used to work for Andrea's father - helping embezzle money for organized crime. When they came demanding their cut, it was tied up in investments that couldn't be freed up within their time limit, so the Beaumonts went on the run. He eventually gave them everything he promised, but they never forgave him for not paying on their deadline. When Reeves first ran for office, he ran out of money and asked Andrea's father for a loan, only to be rejected. So Reeves sold him to the mob.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The film is blisteringly cynical for a kids' superhero cartoon. The major theme is that Batman's life always takes a turn for the worst and that he is damned to sadness and loneliness.
  • Smoke Out: Up to Eleven with the Phantasm, who uses it for both teleportation and immunity to projectiles, including bullets.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Flashback Sal Valvestra is frequently seen smoking, in all his mobster badassness. Fast forward to the present however, and it is easy to see the toll all that smoking took on him.
  • The Sociopath: The Joker. Even his pre-acid dip incarnation who only appears briefly in flashbacks has shades of this.
  • The Spook: This is the first time we get a glimpse of the Joker before the clown appearance, and he is still appropriately mysterious and without a name, to the point where he only speaks in the modern day. Even then, he only appears marginally less psychopathic than his current incarnation.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Phantasm is a master of doing this, often with a Smoke Out. In their only direct confrontation with Batman, they perform it on an open rooftop once the police helicopters come in, and Batman can't do the same and is forced into a protracted escape.
  • The Stoic: Alfred, being The Jeeves, is only surprised twice. Both times Bruce and Andrea are making out while he brings refreshments. Alfred is stoic enough that he just gives a mild "Oh" with a brief widening of his eyes, before turning around and leaving discreetly.
  • Suit-Up of Destiny: When Batman first puts on the cowl. It is a moment so utterly awesome and epic that Alfred is shocked.
  • Staggered Zoom: Onto the Joker as he unpleasantly surprises Arthur by showing up in his doorway.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Bruce and Andrea. Just as he decides that she's worth giving up his plan of being Batman for, she has to leave Gotham and disappear thanks to the mob. When she resurfaces years later, they're still in love, but she has become the murderer Phantasm, hunting down her father's killers, and is Batman's enemy.
  • Taking You with Me:
    Joker: I'm your only chance to get out of here. Let me go or we'll both die!
    Batman: Whatever it takes!
  • Talking to the Dead: Andrea to her mother, Bruce to his parents.
    Andrea: So, tell me — with all that money and power, how come you always look like you want to jump off a cliff?
    Bruce: Why should you care?
    Andrea: I don't. Mother was asking.
  • Taught by Experience: Bruce's first foray into vigilantism has him show up in black clothes, a utility belt and a ski mask, and he just jumped down into the group and started barking police orders. Reflecting on the event, Bruce was pleased with his skills and overall ability to handle the situation, but noticed that they didn't fear him and he needed to have that advantage before a confrontation.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Bruce Wayne finally going from well-meaning citizen to full-blown vigilante. No matter how you slice it, it's 100% badass...
    • Andrea after becoming the Phantasm. While she's taken some self-defense classes in the flashback sequences, she's still overpowered by the mob goons easily. Fast forward to when she's become the Phantasm, and she is terrifying.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Andrea leaves her locket in the Batcave, which Bruce clutches tearfully.
  • Tragic Villain: Andrea, Andrea, Andrea. Her need to avenge her parents destroys her love for Bruce and deprives both of them of the chance of a happy life.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Joker showing up about a 1/3rd of the way into the movie was supposed to be a surprise; too bad the trailer decided to feature him.
  • The Unfought: Batman and the Phantasm only meet once, and their tussle is over almost before it begins thanks to the police.
  • Villain Has a Point: Salvatore Valestra and the mob have been corrupting city politics in Gotham ever since Bruce was a teenager, and their puppet Arthur Reeves was about to become Mayor — by steering attention away from the mob in favor of hunting Batman, who had yet to realize Reeves was in their pocket. The only reason Gotham didn't go completely mob-city was because Andrea became the Phantasm and started killing them off.
  • The Voiceless: That mob hitman with the pointy nose. Likely to obscure the fact that he's a pre-chemical dip Joker.
  • Wacky Sound Effect: When Joker greets Sal, he runs up and stops short with a SPROING! cartoon sound effect.
  • What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: The Joker asks a variation of this:
    The Joker So, what's an old-timer like you want with a two-timer like me?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Andrea becomes angry at her father for having to go on the run with him, forcing her to not only cancel her and Bruce's wedding, but never see him again. Breaking into tears, she asked why did he get them involved with the mob. Ashamed, he tells her he's trying to give her a good life, but now swears he'll get them out of their debt. Which proved to be futile; he paid back every cent and quite a bit extra, but they wanted interest compounded in blood to keep anyone from pulling anything similar in the future.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Joker has green hair, as always.
  • Zeerust: In a flashback, Bruce and Andrea are shown having a wonderful time visiting the Gotham World's Fair, with its lively and optimistic Raygun Gothic view of the future with standard things such as robot butlers. When the fair is revisited in the present, it is in ruins, seemingly paralleling Bruce and Andrea's future, and serves as the final battleground for the two former lovers and the Joker. Lampshades, as a skeptical Andrea doubts if we'll see carrot-chopping robot maids in the future.