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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 
"I Am Vengeance, I Am The Night, I Am BATMAN!"
4/4 stars

Ah, the 90s. A time of innocence. A tim of awesome movies, where Nirvana and Blink-182 ruled the music scene and Dragons roamed the skies….never mind that last part. It was also a time where animated movies kicked ass, especially superhero animated movies. Now of course, the only good animated movies are released straight to DVD (Gotham Knight should have had a theatrical release!). Around this time, a movie that is perhaps one of the greatest animated movies of all time (second only to the Lion King), and one of my favourite movies of all time. That movie is, of course, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

In the 1990s, Batman: The Animated series was released to huge acclaim. It was dark, epic, and was made just as much for adults as it was for kids. Now, it is considered a gem of the 90s and animated television, and is considered to be one of the greatest animated series of all time. It was also one of the first cartoon series to win an Emmy (for the episode “Robin’s Reckoning”, check it out, it’s fantastic). Due to it’s immediate popularity, an animated movie adaption of the show was greenlit less than a year after it’s debut (the movie came out diuring it’s second season). It was directed by series creator Bruce Timm and had all the actors from the show play their respective roles. Although it got glowing reviews (it’s considered to be far better than the live-action Joel Schumacher Batman films), it was a bomb at the box office, mainly due to bad marketing. Because of it’s bad performance at the box office, the next movie version of the Animated Series, Batman and Robin: Sub Zero (another very good movie), was released straight to video, where it also got glowing reviews, like its predecessor. However, now Mask of the Phantasm has gained a loyal following, becoming a cult classic, and is now recognized as a truely brilliant movie.

This movie features phenominal voice actiong, although two people really stand out.

Kevin Conroy is excellent as Bruce Wayne/ Batman, giving great emotion, subtlety, and understanding to the character just through his voice. There’s a reason why I think he’s the greatest voice actor of all time, and one needs only to watch this movie, or Batman: The Animated Series to understand why. I also think that he’s one of the best Batman’s ever. I mean, the best is obviousely Micheal Keaton, but I think Conroy is better than Christian Bale in some aspects. It’s just really amazing how he makes you feel this character’s pain just by emoting with his voice, and that shows the mark of a great actor.

Mark Hamill is awesome as the Joker. I’ve loved this guy ever since he played Luke Skywalker in the origional Star Wars trilogy, and this really shows his range. He plays the Joker with a very psychotic and sometimes creepy tone of voice, and I think he’s one of the best Jokers, aside from Heath Ledger.

And you gotta love that classic score by Danny Elfman. As one of the greatest film composers ever, I think this is his best score it was origionally the score to the '89 Batman film, then Elfman improved it for the Animated Series). It's dark in places, it fits the mood perfectly, and it is freakin' EPIC!

Overall, Mask of the Phantasm is a fantastic movie, and a true gem of the 90s. In my opinion, this is a far better movie than Batman Forever OR that monstrocity known as Batman and Robin. From the voice acting, to the animation, to the dark, gothic atmosphere and that epic Danny Elfman music, this movie should be watched by anyone who's a Batman fan, or anyone in general.

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