Over the last several years, Marvel and DC have pumped out plenty of straight to video animated films based on a lot of their hit characters. From what I have gathered online and from other comic/movie buffs, DC treats these videos with a little more care. I have only seen several of them, but do remember preferring DC's work with the excellent two part, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Assault on Arkham, over mediocre recent Marvel animated features I saw featuring the Avengers and another with a Punisher and Black Widow crossover. In the early 90s however, animated comic feature length movies were practically nonexistent.
This is a real quick watch at 75 minutes. A new masked vigilante going by the name Phantasm, is wiping out some of the top crime lords of Gotham, and not-quite-accurate eye witness accounts are putting Batman at the blame. It would not be an early 90s Batman animated adventure without the devious Joker being along for the ride, and he makes sure to mettle with Bats in ways never before seen on the cartoon show that only a multi-million dollar movie budget can afford. To top it off, an old romance interest of Bruce Wayne returns for his affection, and that side story of getting Bruce to drop the Batman act once and for all to win over the girl helps bring the running time to a theatrical length.
Mask of the Phantasm comes as no surprise as another hit from the team responsible the cartoon. While the plot is pretty straightforward and leaves plenty of hints at who the new Phantasm menace is, it is still a fun ride along the way. Kind of like how The Simpsons Movie had some grander animation sequences with their new budget, so does Mask of the Phantasm with more dynamic chase and set piece sequences that really pop and stand out more than what I was accustomed to from The Animated Series.
The DVD I picked up has a release date of 2005, and this version along with the other various releases from over the years I researched online come with no extra features other than a trailer. This is a little disappointing as I remember a lot of the DVD releases of The Animated Series come with a pretty decent amount of extras, and even a little throwaway 10 minute feature on what it was like to bring The Animated Series to the big screen would have been something that would have went a long way.
for a pretty penny online. While it would be nice to own that, I just do not think I want to invest that price for only four seasons of content, so I think I will be happy with my copy of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm as a far more cost effective, yet still highly entertaining substitute.
Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs
21 Jump Street
Captain America: The First Avenger
Field of Dreams
Good Will Hunting
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty