Greatest Movie Series
Franchises of All Time

The Batman Films




Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Batman Films
Batman (1989) | Batman Returns (1992) | Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) | Batman Forever (1995)
Batman & Robin (1997) | Batman Begins (2005) | The Dark Knight (2008) | The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Batman (1943) - serial | Batman and Robin (1949) - serial | Batman, The Movie (1966) | Catwoman (2004)

The Batman Films

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
(aka Batman: The Animated Movie)
d. Eric Radomski and Bruce W. Timm, 76 minutes

Film Plot Summary

A meeting of crime boss counterfeiters was held in a Gotham City's Shady Lady Casino, to discuss how to launder the money (1/2 a mill a week) through the casino. Batman (voice of Kevin Conroy) blasted through a window to fight against them. Surviving gangster Charles "Chuckie" Sol (voice of Dick Miller) fled into the casino's parking garage, and was confronted by another mysteriously-cloaked, black-garbed figure moving in a dark cloud (known as The Phantasm (voice of Stacey Keach) or "Angel of Death", but never directly called that name). The gangster was killed when his car hurtled off the building and crashed into an adjacent building. Because Batman was visible at the scene, he was blamed for the death.

Corrupt City Councilman Arthur Reeves (voice of Hart Bochner) bashed Batman to the media: "It's vigilantism at its deadliest. How many times are we gonna let Batman cross the line?" Batman was called "a loose cannon," "a potential madman," and an "unstable" influence on the city. Wealthy entrepreneur and eligible bachelor Bruce Wayne (also Kevin Conroy) held a party at his mansion, where Reeves insultingly told him that he had formerly had a great girlfriend named Andrea Beaumont - a "sweet number - how'd you let her get loose?"

In a flashback, Bruce ("boy billionaire") remembered how he had laid roses on his parents' grave as a college student, after they were murdered. There at the cemetery, he met red-haired, blue-eyed Andrea Beaumont (voice of Dana Delany), and told her he made a secret vow to his parents, although he didn't reveal what it was. Wearing a dark ninja outfit and black cap/mask, he disrupted an armed robbery in progress, although the thieves regarded him only as a "clown" and "Mr. Kung Fu." The "mysterious vigilante" was able to repel one bandit fleeing in a truck, although he told his butler Alfred Pennyworth (voice of Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) later about his one worry: "They weren't afraid of me." When Andrea visited Bruce three days after their initial meeting, they both tried jujitsu moves on each other (she told him: "Nice footwork, can you dance too?") - and they became romantically involved.

Returning to the present, criminal gangster Buzz Bronski (voice of John P. Ryan) visited the grave of ex-partner Chuckie Sol, where he was stalked and killed by the Phantasm. He had fallen in an open grave and was crushed by a heavy statue. Again, Batman was blamed for the murder of the mob boss, although Commissioner Gordon (voice of Bob Hastings) didn't believe he was involved at all. The Bat-Signal was displayed, summoning Batman, who visited his parents' grave. There, he was seen by Andrea - she immediately suspected that Bruce Wayne might be the alias of Batman.

The film again returned to Bruce's flashback, where he remembered his dating of Andrea when he took her to Gotham's World's Fair, and then met her wealthy father Carl Beaumont (voice of Stacey Keach) in his office. They were rudely interrupted by the entrance of cigarette-smoking mob boss Salvatore "The Wheezer" Valestra (voice of Abe Vigoda) who was there for business, and they were forced to hurriedly leave the office. Outside, Bruce fought off vicious thugs on motorcycles who stole a money box from a vendor. Bruce was conflicted about his future plans: "It's gotta be one or the other. I can't have it both ways" - his choice was whether to pursue the risky role of crime-fighter as 'Batman', or to settle down domestically with Andrea.

In the present, Batman discovered that two "dummy corporations," O'Neil Funding Corporation and Adam's Tool and Die, were directed by two dead crime figures ten years earlier - partners Sol and Bronski. He also learned that a third director was crime-figure Valestra. Another flashback commenced as Batman looked at a photograph of Andrea's father Carl seated with the organized crime bosses. He remembered how he offered a diamond ring and proposed to Andrea (telling her: "I'm changing the plan" and kissing her, as hundreds of bats flew into the air). When she returned home, she decided, with Bruce's assent, to give her Dad "the good news" later. But she was unexpectedly forced to leave Gotham for business in Europe with her father - presumably forced to flee for some urgent reason (to be revealed later). She ended her engagement to Bruce with a short note: "Left with Dad. Too young, need time. Forget about me." Bruce was crushed by the news. In his Batcave, Bruce donned his Batman cowl/mask for the first time, with Alfred's awed reaction: "My God."

In the dilapidated World's Fair grounds, Valestra met with The Joker (voice of Mark Hamill) for business - he asked for the Joker to kill his enemy Batman (for $5 million up front), believing that the masked "guano-man" had killed his partners Sol and Bronski ("You're the only one who can take him down"). Meanwhile, Arthur Reeves was dating Andrea, and Batman was suspicious that Andrea's missing father had set up a corporate partnership for the criminals ("He was the one element that tied these gangsters together"). The Phantasm approached the third crime boss, Sal Valestra, to kill him, but he was already dead - killed by the Joker himself. Batman pursued the Phantasm in his Bat-wing vehicle, but was threatened with arrest by the police and the Phantasm escaped. After the Batman was relentlessly pursued at a construction site, he was rescued by Andrea in her car and got away.

While being patched up at the Wayne mansion, Andrea told Bruce/Batman the "truth" about her father - in another flashback, she recalled how her father was meeting with his partners when she returned home after becoming engaged. Carl begged for time to get money from European banks to be wired to a threatening Valestra, but then hurriedly fled with Andrea for Europe to hide out ("If I don't pay him back within 24 hours, they'll find us and they'll kill us both...Somehow, we'll be free of those guys, whatever it takes. That's a promise"). They eventually settled on the Mediterranean coast. Although her father was able to pay the gangsters back with the embezzled fortune, "it would never be enough." According to her, Carl vowed: "He said he'd get them, somehow" - and Bruce believed that Carl may have been the vengeful Phantasm. It looked like the loving relationship between Andrea and Bruce was now rekindled although "so much has changed."

The Joker appeared in the office of Councilman Arthur Reeves - threatening "to find out who's iced the old gang." The Joker knew that it wasn't Batman who had committed the gangster murders ("I've seen the guy. He looks more like the Ghost of Christmas Future") and suspected Arthur - and shortly later, the councilman was hospitalized as insanely mad. Batman spoke with Reeves in his hospital room, and learned that Reeves had helped Beaumont and Andrea flee to Europe. However, when Reeves was refused financial help from Beaumont for his political election campaign years earlier, he sold him out to the Mob - and Beaumont was murdered. In another flashback, Andrea remembered the day she found her father dead at the hands of a paid hitman (the future Joker, one of Valestra's mob members at the time), even though Beaumont had paid back the debt. [Therefore, Carl Beaumont could NOT be the Phantasm. The plot twist/spoiler in the film's downbeat and sad ending was that the Dark Knight Batman/Bruce Wayne's true love and ex-fiancee Andrea, the daughter of Beaumont, was surprisingly revealed to be the murderous, masked and vengeful vigilante villain Phantasm.]

The Phantasm appeared to the Joker - and was revealed as Andrea when she removed her mask - she was relentlessly pursuing the mobsters associated with her murdered father. When her life was threatened by being sucked into a giant fan, Batman arrived on a Batcycle and rescued her, while the Joker escaped. Batman knew that Andrea's father was dead, and that she had vengefully killed Chuckie Sol and other gangsters, shifting the blame to her father as necessary by using her father's voice. She shockingly rejected lover Bruce Wayne/Batman's plea to forsake revenge and start a life with him. When Batman couldn't convince her to give up her revenge, Andrea vanished, and Batman battled against the Joker within a miniatured version of Gotham City and the old World's Fair grounds. The entire area was wired with explosives, and everyone (including Andrea who reappeared) escaped or disappeared in clouds of smoke and fire.

Batman was propelled down a waterway and found himself back in his Batcave, where he was grief-stricken about not having saved Andrea. Alfred consoled him: "I don't think she wanted to be saved, sir. Vengeance blackens the soul, Bruce. I've always feared 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." Batman discovered a shiny gold locket that Andrea left for him in the Batcave, containing a portrait of the two of them.

The film ended sadly - Andrea was seen standing alone on the deck of an ocean liner. When a male partygoer asked: "Do you want to be alone?", she responded with a downcast face: "I am." Batman, meanwhile, was simultaneously also standing alone on the ledge of a city building, looking out at the Bat-Signal shining in the sky. He lept and swung off the building, to pursue further vigilante-style crime-fighting.

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

An adult-oriented, animated film, based upon the popular 1990s animated TV series, and "Based on the DC Comics Characters" created by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson. This was the first film (of four) to be a spin-off of the animated series Batman (1992-1994) (inspired by the Tim Burton films). The other three direct-to-video animated features were Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998), Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000), and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003).

With a production budget of $6 million, and gross revenue of over $5 million (domestic).

The film was rated PG in theaters (although quite violent) and was a box- office failure despite earning positive critical reviews. However, it earned an audience through the home video market and its original direct-to-video release, and has become one of the most highly regarded animated films of recent years.

Great scene: the climactic fight between Batman and the Joker.


Bruce Wayne

Batman
(Voice of Kevin Conroy)

The Phantasm
(Voice of Stacy Keach)

Andrea Beaumont
(Voice of Dana Delany)

Arthur Pennyworth
(Voice of Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.)

Carl Beaumont
(Voice of Stacy Keach)

Arthur Reeves
(Voice of Hart Bochner)

Salvatore "The Wheezer" Valestra
(Voice of Abe Vigoda)

The Joker
(Voice of Mark Hamill)

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