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Batman – Mask of the Phantasm

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Batman -- €“ Mask of the Phantasm

Unmasking the Phantasm is just one of the twists in Batman: Mask of Phantasm. Only here will you discover all-new revelations about Batman’s past, his arch-rival the Joker and the most grueling battle of Batman’s life — the choice between his love of a beautiful woman and his vow to be the defender of right.

Synopsis of  Batman — Mask of the Phantasm

While a gang war is causing civilian casualties in Gotham, and the bodies are starting to pile up, Batman has to deal with a new costumed crimefighter, The Phantasm — who believes in vengeance first, and has no compunction against murdering criminals. At the same time, Bruce Wayne is facing his own crisis — as he falls in love, and is considering giving up the cowl.

Review of  Batman – Mask of the Phantasm

In a very serious way,  Batman – Mask of the Phantasm is one of my favorite Batman movies, even above the live-action Christopher Nolan movies.  Because it deals with the human being behind the mask, early in his career as Batman, who truly falls in love.  Deeply, truly in love, so much so that he’s torn between the sacred vow he’s made on the grave of his parents, and the possibility of actually having a life that he can share with the woman he loves.  In a nutshell, the true conflict of the movie comes down to the following quote:

It doesn’t mean I don’t care anymore. 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.

Heart of the story

It’s very touching and almost heart-breaking. There’s the more traditional conflict, with a gang war, the masked Phantasm killing mob bosses, and the Joker having been hired by the gangsters — but for my money, this is the heart of the conflict; and it makes the conclusion even sadder.

I strongly recommend  Batman – Mask of the Phantasm, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

Movie quotes from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Joker (Mark Hamill): So, what’s an old-timer like you want with a two-timer like me?

[the Phantasm goes to Valestra’s mansion, but instead finds Valestra dead, along with Joker’s surveillance camera and a bomb]
Joker (Mark Hamill): Whoops! Ha! I guess the joke’s on me. You’re not Batman after all. Looks like there’s a new face in Gotham and soon his name will be all over town … to say nothing of his legs, and feet, and spleen, and head …
[the Phantasm leaps out the window just as the bomb explodes]

Joker (Mark Hamill): Can’t be too careful with all those weirdos around.

Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): What’s that you’re practicing?
Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): Jujitsu.
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): Gesundheit … That was a joke.

Arthur Reeves (Hart Bochner): [on TV] What kind of city are we running when we depend on the support of a potential madman!
Alfred Pennyworth (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.): 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 Wayne (Kevin Conroy): Thank you, Alfred.

Joker (Mark Hamill): Mi casa nostra es su casa nostra.

Batman (Kevin Conroy): Do you still follow your dad’s orders?
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): The way I see it, the only one in this room controlled by his parents is you.

Alfred Pennyworth (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.): 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.

[last lines]
Partygoer: Quite a sight.
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): Yes.
Partygoer: I … I’m sorry, did you want to be alone?
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): I am.

[at Andrea’s mother’s grave]
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): So, tell me … with all that money and power, how come you always look like you want to jump off a cliff?
Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): Why do you care?
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): I don’t. Mom was asking.

Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): Hi. Hey, what happened to you? Trip over some loose cash? It’s been three days since we met and still no calls. I figured you must be dead or something.
Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): You expect every guy you meet to call you up?
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): The ones who are smart enough to dial a phone.

[Bruce’s crime-fighting training is derailed by his infatuation with Andrea]
Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): What am I doing, Alfred? This isn’t part of the Plan! I must be going nuts!
Alfred Pennyworth (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.): If I may be so bold, sir, I’d say quite the opposite.

[At Bruce’s parents’ grave] Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): It doesn’t mean I don’t care anymore. 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!
[thunder and lightning]
Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): 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.
[thunder and lightning]
Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): Please! Tell me that it’s okay.
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): [enters] Maybe they already have. Maybe they sent me.
[They embrace in the rain]

Batman (Kevin Conroy): You think you know everything about me, don’t you?
Alfred Pennyworth (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.): I diapered your bottom; I bloody well ought to, sir!

[Alfred sees Batman in costume for the first time]
Alfred Pennyworth (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.): My … God!

Alfred Pennyworth (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.): There are certain advantages to having a sturdy cranium, Master Bruce. But then, hardheadedness was always your virtue.

Chuckie Sol (Dick Miller): What do you want?
[the Phantasm points his right arm at Chuckie]
The Phantasm (Stacy Keach): I want you, Chuckie boy.

Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): You’re not smiling, Joker. I thought you found death amusing.
The Joker (Mark Hamill): Oh, me? You won’t hear a giggle out of me.
[Joker presses a button. Hazel the Robot laughs maniacally and attacks with a cleaver]

The Joker (Mark Hamill): Ain’t it always the way? You get in the mood and company shows up.

The Phantasm (Stacy Keach): Sal Valestra, your Angel of Death awaits …

The Joker (Mark Hamill): For once, I’m stuck without a punchline.

The Phantasm (Stacy Keach): Stay away! This is not your fight!
Batman (Kevin Conroy): This madness ends now!

The Joker (Mark Hamill): Very cute! But I can blow smoke too, toots!

The Phantasm (Stacy Keach): [just before dropping a statue on Buzz Bronski] You always were a loser, Mr. Bronski.

[Buzz talks to Chuckie’s tombstone, leaving a wreath]
Buzz Bronski (John P. Ryan): Chuckie, Chuckie. You always were a loser.

Joker (Mark Hamill): You’re crazy! I’m your only chance to get out of here! Let me go or we’ll both die!
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Whatever it takes!

The Joker (Mark Hamill): All right, I give in. I surrendered already. Tell her, Batman.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): [Panting] Andrea, you’ve got to … get out of here! The whole place is set to … explode!
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): No. One way or another it ends tonight. Goodbye, my love.

Police Commissioner James Gordon: (Bob Hastings): He didn’t do it! It’s garbage, Councilman! The Batman does not kill. You want him, you get him! I’ll have no part in it.

Joker (Mark Hamill): You just don’t know when to quit, do you?

[while Reeves is trying to resist the effects of Joker’s toxin, Batman appears in his hospital room]
Arthur Reeves (Hart Bochner): [gasps, then giggles helplessly] Oh, no!
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Why did the Joker meet with you?
[Reaves keeps giggling]
Batman (Kevin Conroy): It has to do with the gangster murders, doesn’t it? He thinks you’re involved. WHY?
Arthur Reeves (Hart Bochner): [giggling] I don’t know!
Batman (Kevin Conroy): [grabs him] That’s not the answer I want!
[Reaves manages to calm down]
Arthur Reeves (Hart Bochner): Beaumont needed me to help him and his kid get out of town …
[starts to giggle again]
Arthur Reeves (Hart Bochner): He kept in touch.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): When was the last time you spoke to him?
Arthur Reeves (Hart Bochner): Years ago, my first election campaign. I was running out of money and I asked him for help …
Arthur Reeves (Hart Bochner): He said no!
Batman (Kevin Conroy): So you sold him to the mob.
Arthur Reeves (Hart Bochner): [now laughing hysterically] I was broke! Desperate! They said all they wanted was their money back!
[he collapses with laughter, as Batman leaves in disgust]

Salvatore ‘Sal The Wheezer’ Valestra (Abe Vigoda): Hello, Joker. Didn’t mean to drop by unannounced.

[Sal walks through the remains of the “Future of Gotham” park as the robots sing; then the Joker enters]
Joker (Mark Hamill): I hate that song … Gasp! Can it be? Old Sallie ‘the Wheezer’ Valestra! Welcome, paisan! It’s been a dog’s age!
Salvatore ‘Sal The Wheezer’ Valestra (Abe Vigoda): [nervously] Hello, Joker. Didn’t mean to drop by unannounced.

Joker (Mark Hamill): Don’t touch me, old man! I don’t know where you’ve been.

The Joker (Mark Hamill): What a photo op: The city councilman and his wacky pal!

The Joker (Mark Hamill): That’s it. That’s what I want to see, a nice big smile.

The Joker (Mark Hamill): [when Batman picks up the phone in Andrea’s apartment] Hello, anybody home? Listen, boopsie, even though you never call and never write, I still got a soft spot for you. So I’m sending you a fun gift, airmail! And there’s no use jumping out the window this time, toots …
[Batman looks out the window and sees a toy Joker plane flying in carrying a bomb]
The Joker (Mark Hamill): The plane of the future is going to make you history!
[Batman throws a Batarang, exploding the bomb outside the window; the blast knocks him back against the wall, and the phone is left dangling]
The Joker (Mark Hamill): [laughing] Hello? Hello, operator? I believe my party’s been … disconnected! HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAA!

[Bruce proposes to Andrea]
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): I never thought this would happen. I always felt like … like I’d thrown you a curve ball, like you never knew what to do with me, because I wasn’t in ‘The Plan’
Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): You are now. I’m changing the Plan.

[after meeting Sal Valestra]
Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): Is my shirt too big, or is that my flesh crawling?

Joker (Mark Hamill): I’m impressed, lady. You’re harder to kill than a cockroach on steroids.
The Phantasm (Stacy Keach): So, you figured it out.
[the Phantasm removes his mask to reveal Andrea Beaumont]
Joker (Mark Hamill): Gotta hand it to you, nice scheme. Costume’s a bit theatrical, but hey, who am I to talk?

[Andrea Beaumont has just called Arthur’s office]
Joker (Mark Hamill): Now ain’t that a co-inky-dink?
[grabs Arthur by his shirt]
Joker (Mark Hamill): Here we are discussing the old man when the spawn of his loins just happens to call! Makes you want to laugh, doesn’t it, Artie?
[he laughs maniacally]

Batman (Kevin Conroy): Your father’s dead, isn’t he? You came into town early to get Chuckie Sol, so you could shift the blame to your father if necessary.
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): They took everything, Bruce. My father, my friends, my life, you. I’m not saying it’s right, or even sane but it’s all I have left! So either help me, or get out of the way!
Batman (Kevin Conroy): You know I can’t do that.
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): Look what they did to us! What we could have had! They had to pay!
Batman (Kevin Conroy): But Andy — what will vengeance solve?
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany): If anyone knows the answer to that, Bruce, it’s you.
[silent pause]
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Leave, Andy, now. Please.

Trivia for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

  • Andrea Beaumont was allegedly named after casting and vocal supervisor Andrea Romano, whom star Kevin Conroy occasionally teased.
  • The dummy corporations “O’Neil Funding Corp.” and “Adams Tool and Die ” shown on Batman’s computer screen are references to Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, respective writer and artist for Batman comics circa 1969. Their somber, camp-free stories have been called “ground-breaking” and are considered a major turning point for DC Comics’ Batman titles, which Denny O’Neil currently edits and oversees.
  • Also seen on the computer screen are the names “Puckett & Peterson.”  This is a reference to Kelley Pucket and Scott Peterson, writer and editor of comic books based on the Batman (1992) animated series, including the comic adaptations of both this movie and Subzero (1998).
  • Was originally intended to be the finale of Batman (1992).
  • The computer generated version of Gotham City seen in the opening credits was originally designed to be used in the TV show. The purpose was to create a ‘virtual set’ to replace hand-painted backgrounds and help speed up production of the series. It was never used for that purpose.
  • Many of the items featured at the Gotham World’s Fair were inspired from items featured at the famous 1939 New York World’s Fair. The rocket and planet centerpiece echo New York’s famous Trylon and Perisphere exhibit.
  • Late in production, Warner Bros. decided to make the movie a theatrical release instead of the originally intended direct-to-video feature. This left the show’s creators with less than a year of production time and scrambling to convert the aspect ratio to wide-screen.
  • Most of the movie is based on the graphic novels ‘Batman: Year One’ and ‘Batman: Year Two’. The flashback to Batman’s first night of crime-fighting, donning a jacket and ski-hat is parallel to book one of Year One. The design and concept of the Phantasm was derived from the Reaper, the primary villain of Year Two.
  • The character of Arthur Reeves originated in the comics. In “Half-an-Evil”, Arthur Reeves was a short-lived comic relief who had a bone to pick with the Batman. He ceased all complaints, and appearances, after the Batman frightened him senseless with one well-timed “Boo!”
  • When the Joker shoots the robots in the World’s Fair, the sound of them winding down is the sound of the Millennium Falcon winding down from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
  • Under the main headline “Mysterious Vigilante Repels Bandits” on the newspaper Alfred is holding in the flashback sequence is the smaller headline “Radomski to Press: I’m Innocent”:probably a reference to producer Eric Radomski.
  • The end credit song, “I Never Even Told You”, is a rare singing performance by Tia Carrere.
  • As Batman walks through the scale-model city searching for The Joker, a model of a Warner Brothers Studio is clearly displayed with the WB Shield.
  • Despite the title, the Phantasm is never referred to by name.
  • The opening theme contains an in-joke. The choral chanting consists of the names of orchestrators Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion and Peter Tomashek sung backward.
  • The construction site scene mirrors a similar sequence in ‘Batman: Year One’, where a rookie Batman is pursued into a tenement building by a crooked Gotham SWAT team, which Batman barely escapes.

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