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YMMV / Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

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  • 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...
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    • Alfred's reaction to Bruce when he puts on the mask for the first time. Is Alfred reacting to Bruce's terrifying appearance, or to the realization that he has finally cast aside any chance of a normal life, and has irrevocably set himself on this course.
    • Was Andrea planning on murdering Arthur for his role in her father’s death as well? Or did she not even know that he was involved?
  • 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.
    • You can tell that the film had a bigger budget than the TV show from the fact that they were able to use a 30-piece choir to sing along with the orchestra, something unheard of on the show.
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  • 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. See here for more details.
  • 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.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • As noted in this review by SF Debris, for years in this series, it is said that "Bruce Wayne" is the mask for Batman. "Bruce" is the mask he wears in the light to hide his true personality and beliefs. Now, consider the title of the movie, "Mask of the Phantasm" isn't just trying to be scary about the titular character. It refers equally to like Batman using "Bruce", the mask of the Phantasm is "Andrea Beaumont." Like Batman, Phantasm uses the appearance of a socialite person to move by people who have not earned her vengeance.
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    • Why is Andrea able to so conveniently arrive to save Batman from the police pursuit? Because she was already there, fighting him as the Phantasm just minutes before.
    • 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?)note 
    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.
    • The Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue" also showed Andrea's future: as a contract hitman (though one that still retains at least a tiny amount of morality).
    • 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.
  • It Was His Sled: The Phantasm's true identity. It was even Spoiled by the Merchandise!
  • 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.
  • Narm:
    • The stand-off with the police is a little undercut by the SWAT members all shouting “Hut! Hut! Hut!” It’s very hard not to imagine the climax of The Blues Brothers.
    • At one point, a police officer opens fire at Batman, shooting dozens of bullets in the span of a few seconds, completely ventilating Batman's cape... too bad the gun is drawn as a revolver, known for their low rate of fire and low ammo capacity.
  • 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.
    • Batman trying to escape from the cops.
  • Values Dissonance: Joker calling Andrea "Toots" would not get into a kids film today, given its offensive nature towards women.
  • Vindicated by History: 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. Notoriously, Siskel and Ebert neglected to review the movie when it was in theaters but later admitted they made a mistake in overlooking it and stated it was superior to the other Batman movie of the time, Batman Forever.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The film is easily one of the darkest films in the DCAU, and arguably animated Batman films period, but still has a PG rating, marketed under WB's Family Entertainment line, and even has Bugs Bunny standing in front of the WB shield at the beginning of the movie.


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