YMMV / Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

  • Adaptation Displacement: It's far better-known and better-regarded than the comic it's loosely based on.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Does the Joker know, or at least suspect, that Bruce and Batman are one and the same at the end? If so, his laugh at the end could be triumph at his realization that his actions have corrupted and driven away his archenemy's greatest love. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker would seem to contradict this, though it's certainly possible it didn't count for him unless the info was forcibly extracted...
  • Awesome Music: And how. Shirley Walker cited her work here as one of her favorite compositions, and it's not hard to hear why.
    • "I Never Ever Told You" was viewed initally by Bat-fans as an intrusive Award-Bait Song. However, fans have come to associate the song as an inseparable part of the film, and summarizing the mood perfectly at the end.
  • Complete Monster: The Joker both pre-transformation and post-transformation. Closer to the 1989 movie's origin of the character than the Multiple-Choice Past's origin of the comics, though no less ambiguous than the latter.
  • Counterpart Comparison: The Phantasm's voice and Dissonant Serenity have often been compared to Xemnas's.
    • The Phantasm can also be compared to the Red Hood, as both are murderous vigilantes with a grudge against the Joker, and they are both somebody from Bruce's past that he deeply cared about.
  • Cult Classic: The film was ignored when it was first released into theaters, but has since gained quite a following and is now considered one of the best Batman films.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans felt that the film worked better on its own and shouldn't have been in canon with the series (Joker's death, Reeves' mere presence, and the absence of both Robin and Harley Quinn being indicators that it was in its own continuity) and were only forced to accept it as canon with Andrea's in-costume cameo in the JLU episode 'Epilogue'. With the release of the now rare Shadow of the Phantasm Batman annual explaining why Andrea left Joker alive and the fate of Reeves, some have accepted it, but others see this comic as Paul Dini admitting they wrote themselves into a corner.
  • Fridge Brilliance: More like Fridge Tearjerking. The song "I Never Even Told You" by Tia Carrere doesn't make sense in terms of Bruce and Andrea's relationship. After all, the entire film was about how they loved each other and told each other so. So, who is the song about? And then it hits you: it's about Bruce and his parents. It was a sudden, brutal murder. The way they were killed never gave Bruce a chance to tell them he loved them or even goodbye. Bruce's parents never got to say goodbye or tell him they loved him. Their deaths hang over the entire film, too — Bruce is looking for love and acceptance, because he never got closure with his parents. It's the entire reason he's Batman. He was willing to toss away being Batman because of love. All of which is denied him in the film, all stemming from not having that closure.
  • Foe Yay: When he visits Arthur Reeves to try and get answers on who killed the mob bosses, we get this little line from The Joker (what, and this surprises you?)
    Arthur Reeves: Haven't you read the papers?! It's Batman!
    The Joker: (makes a buzz noise) Wrong! It ain't the Bat! Nope, nope, nope! I've seen the guy. He looks more like the Ghost of Christmas Future. Nowhere near as cute as Bat-boy.
  • Growing the Beard: Mark Hamill said that this was the project where he truly developed the Joker voice and laugh.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The film showing how Bruce is seemingly fated to be alone looks even worse when Batman Beyond shows this really will be the case for him.
    • Batman Beyond also showed Andrea's future: as a contract hitman.
    • The scene where Bruce visits his parents' grave is an extra twist of the knife when you think of the DC Rebirth storyline The Button, in which his father (from another timeline) tells him personally to stop being Batman and find happiness.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Joker says "Why so formal?" to Sal Valestra. Replace "formal" with a synonym and you get...
    • The Joker ultimately taking over as the central antagonist by the end of the film over the Phantasm becomes more amusing in light of his tendency to do so in the Arkham games.
  • He Panned It, Now He Sucks: Gene Siskel liked the movie a lot, but his statement that he didn't like the Joker's voice drew quite a bit of ire from fans.
  • Iron Woobie: Bruce Wayne.
  • It Was His Sled: The Phantasm's true identity. It was even Spoiled by the Merchandise!
  • Jerkass Woobie: Andrea.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Joker is in top form here, playing Phantasm and Valestra like fiddles, and immediately deducing Phantasm's true identity when he hears Andrea is in town. Add to the fact that his entire lair is a series of insanely awesome death traps and one of the classiest exits in the entirety of western animation.
  • Misaimed Fandom: The sequence with Batman confronting Andrea in her hotel room, ending with her declaring that "The only one in this room controlled by their parents is you," has become something of a moderate Memetic Mutation from the film and is typically used on places like Tumblr to blast Batman for the root cause of his being Batman. In context, however, it completely ignores the fact that Andrea is just like Bruce, if not worse, as she's become a killer because of the death of her father and seeks vengeance only on those involved with said death while having no plan for her life afterwards, possibly even wishing to die achieving her final vengeance. Even she admittedly doesn't get that Batman is not about vengeance, as demonstrated at the film's end.
  • Older Than They Think: "Why so formal?"
  • Signature Scene: The scene in the flashback where Batman puts on The Cowl for the first time. Gothic melodrama at its finest.
  • Vindicated by History: A downplayed example. When the film was initially released, reviews were generally positive but the film was a failure at the box office due to getting a last-minute release with little advertising. However it eventually turned a profit in its home video releases and in the years since then it has only become more well-regarded, and is now hailed as not only one of the best Batman films, but one of the best animated films ever.