Welcome everyone to the newest feature here at Coming Soon. ‘5 Reasons Why’ is dedicated to featuring and defending a controversial topic that is sure to spark a healthy debate among readers. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of this writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Comingsoon.net, Mandatory.com, Crave Online or any of its other subsidiaries.
Let’s turn back the clock to December 25th, 1993. It was a cold December evening, perfect weather for a Dark Knight. Unbeknownst to many fans, an animated Batman film was theatrically released on that night and it would go on to become one of, if not the best Batman films ever made. While Box Office returns were paltry, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm went on to become a classic, cited by fans to be one of the most accurate portrayals of Bruce Wayne/Batman ever put to screen.
5) It Featured the Longest-Running Batman Actor
Adam West was Batman for two years. So was Ben Affleck. Michael Keaton was Batman for three. Christian Bale was Batman for seven years. All of those are respectable numbers to be under the cowl, but there is one actor who has continued to play Batman for 25 years. That actor is Kevin Conroy and, to many fans, he is Batman. Conroy first started voicing the Caped Crusader in 1992 when the cartoon Batman: The Animated Series first debuted. Conroy knocked the performance out of the park, differentiating between Bruce Wayne and Batman himself when the script called for it. Since then, Conroy has performed as the Dark Knight in a myriad of television shows, video games, and films. It was in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, however, that Conroy showed the world just how good he was.
4) It Did Batman Begins, Before Batman Begins
Mask of the Phantasm very easily could have just been an elongated episode of the animated series. It could have been a cookie cutter story, simply about Batman beating up a bad guy. It was so much more than that, though. In addition to the main storyline focusing on Batman, The Phantasm, The Joker and various mobsters, MOTP also featured flashbacks of Bruce Wayne while he trained to become Batman. It showed a pre-costumed Bruce Wayne fighting bad guys, as well as the first time Bruce ever donned the cape and cowl. Alfred’s reaction to the newly-dressed Batman was one of heartbreak, fear, and understanding.
3) It Featured a Love Interest That Fans Actually Cared About
The only decent live-action film relationship Batman has ever been in has been with Catwoman. But it’s pretty easy to write that one. Andrea Beaumont in Mask of the Phantasm was a completely different story. She was formidable, both as a lover and as an adversary (Spoiler Alert: she was the titular Phantasm). She was independent, beautiful and knew how to take care of herself. With enough tragedy in her own life, she and Bruce had a lot in common. Both were damaged. Both had daddy issues. More than anything, both had a thirst for vengeance and the devotion to carrying it out.
2) It was Based on Batman: The Animated Series
When it comes to Batman mythos, The Animated Series tops the list of greatest iterations of The Dark Knight. Originally a cartoon on the Fox Network, B:TAS was much, much more than that. It featured a noir-ish look at Batman, his villains and Gotham city as a whole. It told stories that were mature, complex, sometimes even dark. It makes sense, then, that it would spawn a film or two. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was rooted in the animated series. It was a separate tale, but it took place in the world of the animated series. It also featured Kevin Conroy as Batman, as well as Mark Hamill as The Joker. Hamill was one of the best parts of the animated series and the writers of the movie knew how pivotal Joker would be to the film. Mask of the Phantasm was a movie that came from Batman: The Animated Series. Batman: The Animated Series is the best version of Batman mythos. Ipso Facto, Mask of the Phantasm is the best Batman movie. It’s simple math, guys.
1) It Featured the Single-Most Heartbreaking Scene in Batman’s History
Early in his career as Batman, as depicted in Mask of the Phantasm, Bruce Wayne met a girl named Andrea. She was everything Bruce could have ever hoped for, but he never saw her coming. When she did, he fell almost immediately in love. Suddenly, his life looked a little brighter. It was a little less angry, a little less dark. Bruce Wayne had the potential to create a new family with Andrea and, suddenly, Batman seemed a little less important, in the grand scheme of things. Bruce Wayne, finally, had the potential to live happily-ever-after.But this is Batman we’re talking about and Batman doesn’t get a happy ending. This is why a specific scene in Mask of the Phantasm is so heartbreaking. In the scene, Wayne is talking to his parent’s grave, trying to justify his reasoning for not continuing as a masked vigilante.
“It doesn’t mean I don’t care anymore,” Bruce cries to his parents. “I don’t want to let you down, honest, but… but it just doesn’t hurt so bad anymore. You can understand that, can’t you? Look, I can give money to the city – they can hire more cops. Let someone else take the risk, but it’s different now! Please! I need it to be different now. I know I made a promise, but I didn’t see this coming- I didn’t count on being happy. Please…tell me that it’s okay.”
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