The Classic Critic Episode 1: Mask of the Phantasm.

Disclaimer: I own nothing involved in these reviews, comparisons, or countdowns as they belong to their rightful creators.

Italics is a sound effect, a scene being played out from a film, or a character saying something at random

Bold Italics means narration

In a small brick home in the rural North Carolina area, a beacon with the insignia of a bat in the center flashes across the sky from his porch a young man being 22 years of age stares at the signal with a purpose.

"It's time." The figure says as he rushes to a closet and dons a black leather jacket, a black baseball cap, and a pair of sunglasses before getting into a seat this man was Airnaruto45.

"Hello folks I am the Classic critic. I remember it so you are not required to." He introduced. "In case you have not noticed, I am dressed in black to pay tribute to one of the biggest DC Comics superhero/vigilantes Batman; the dark knight, the caped crusader, the world's greatest detective, etc. Before I begin however if you have watched the video review done by the Cartoon fiend on YouTube, you would know that Batman became an animated series in 1992 released by Warner Brothers. The show a huge hit among children and adults. It was dark, gritty and had in depth plots behind each episode. What he didn't tell was that less than two years later Warner Brothers decided to make an animated movie based on the show and it was the first of two that were made back in the 1990s and it is the subject of my debut review." He explained.

The movie title screen appears.

"Released on Christmas day 1993 the film is Batman: Mask of the Phantasm." Airnaruto revealed.

Plot:

"The film begins with a meeting of all the organized crime lords in Gotham city but their little party is soon interrupted." Airnaruto explains as soon a crash is heard

CRASH!

Batman gets up and stares down the thugs.

Thug: The Bat

"Alright Batman god he looks awesome yes!" Airnaruto said in a fan boy kind of way before recomposing himself. "Sorry about that." He said before continuing.

"Anyway during the fight one of the gangsters Chuckie Sol tries to escape only to encounter a mysterious cloaked figure calling himself the angel of death.

Figure: Chuckie Sol your angel of death awaits!

Chuckie Sol: What do you want?

Figure: I want you Chuckie boy.

Airnaruto shuddered a bit "Now that's spooky." He said before continuing. "As Chuckie Sol tries to run over the phantasm he ends up driving his car off the edge of the parking lot and into the side of a building ending his life.

CRASH! (Car alarms blaring)

"Ouch that's gotta hurt." Airnaruto winced. "Batman is blamed for the death of course. Corrupt councilman Arthur Reeves tells the media that Batman is an irresponsible menace." Airnaruto said.

Reeves: How many times are we gonna let Batman cross the line?

Commissioner Gordon: I'm sorry councilmen, but you can't blame Batman for what happened to Chuckie Sol.

Reeves: Why not he's a loose cannon commissioner.

"He then attends a party at Wayne Manor hosted by millionaire Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego played by Kevin Conroy, Reeves jokingly taunts Bruce about allowing an old girlfriend Andrea Beaumont to get away." Airnaruto said.

Reeves: what was her name Anne, Andy, Andrea yes that's it Andrea Beaumont now there was a sweet number how do you let her get loose?

"In a flashback to Bruce's college day we see him first meet Andrea voiced by Dana Delany in a cemetery while visiting his parent's grave. Bruce has vowed to avenge the murder of his parents by dedicating his life to fighting crime." Airnaruto said.

Bruce: Here it goes.

"He later dons a mask and black ninja-style outfit and manages to foil an armored car robbery, but is disappointed by the fact that because of his attire being considered commonplace among criminals they don't fear him." Airnaruto explains.

Bruce: They weren't afraid of me. I've got to strike fear in them from the start.

"Around this time Bruce begins a romance with Andrea." Airnaruto said before the next scene returns to the present.

"In the present the murder of another gangster named Buzz Bronski at the hands of the cloaked figure is placed on Batman. This leads to sickly gang boss Salvatore "the wheezer" Valestra to hire The Joker voiced by Mark Hamill to kill the superhero." Airnaruto said.

Joker: Of course, I'll help.

"While inspecting the crime scene Batman is scene by Andrea at the Wayne family grave and realizes his secret identity." Airnaruto explained again.

Andrea: Bruce?

M. Bison: Of course.

"Shut up Bison." Airnaruto said before turning back to the review.

"This prompts another flashback where Bruce and Andrea are enjoying themselves at the Gotham world's fair, Bruce then meets her father Carl Beaumont a businessman with ties to the Valestra mob." Airnaruto said the scene shifts to graveyard. "Later after realizing that crime fighting and romance and don't go together Bruce asks his parents for a sign that they'll forgive him for forsaking his vow." Airnaruto continued.

Bruce in front of his parent's grave: Please I need it to be different now. I know I made a promise but I didn't see this coming, I never counted on being happy.

"As if an answer Andrea arrives to console Bruce." Airnaruto said before Bruce and Andrea hug.

Andrea: Maybe they sent me.

"As Bruce tries to propose to Andrea in his backyard." Airnaruto says before the sound of bats cuts him off.

(Bats screeching as they fly out of a cave beneath the manor)

"Bats, is this the sign Bruce was looking for?" Airnaruto asks himself. "The next day while Bruce is exploring the underground tunnel, Alfred arrives with a note from Andrea calling off their engagement and bidding him farewell forever, heartbroken Bruce resumes his war on crime turning the cave into a headquarters and donning the fierce costume and cowl based on the image of the bat, Alfred is visibly frightened by the sight of Bruce in the costume and Batman is born.

Alfred: (Gasps)

"Back in the present, Batman has found evidence linking Beaumont to a number of organized crime bosses, the masked figure targets Valestra but…" Airnaruto says before we see Valestra already dead sporting a hideous Joker-like grin. "It seems that he was beaten to the punch by the Joker, Batman is blamed once again and has a close call with the police. Rescuing Batman in her car, Andrea explains that she and her father had been hiding out from the mob in Europe to whom Beaumont owed a lot of money, Beaumont eventually repaid them but that did not satisfy them, Batman believes that Andrea's father might be the Phantasm until he learns that he had been murdered sometime before the current situation." Airnaruto said before another flashback is shown of Andrea entering her house before while a hit man from the Valestra mob makes his way to leave.

Andrea: Dad? NO!

"When the Joker is targeted by the Phantasm, it is revealed that the masked figure is in fact….Andrea!" Airnaruto said in shock before we return to his place.

"Okay now raise your hand if you had half a brain to see that coming." Airnaruto said bluntly raising his hand. "I thought so." Airnaruto said, "Anyway during the course of the struggle Batman arrives, he begs Andrea to give up her desire for revenge." Airnaruto explains.

Andrea: Think of what they did to us. What we could have had, they had to pay!

Batman: But Andy what will vengeance solve?

"After a protracted and rather brutal for an animated movie battle Andrea and the Joker vanish in the confusion of fire and smoke with Batman barely escaping alive into a waterway following a series of rigged explosives." Airnaruto said before the scene changed to the bat cave. "Heartbroken, Bruce returns to the bat cave, and is consulted by Alfred who believes that no one could have helped Andrea. Bruce finds the locket with Bruce and Andrea in it in the cave. Meanwhile, Andrea stands on the deck of an ocean liner, alone. The final scene shows Batman now permanently alone standing on top of a building, still in grief. The Bat-signal emerges in the distance and Batman flies into action to continue his crusade against crime." Airnaruto says before the screen fades to black and then returns to where he is sitting.

"Now I bet you're thinking what did I think of the movie?" Airnaruto asks before answering his own question. "What do you think I thought of it, I loved it. I grew up with the series and the movie was just as true to the series.

Design:

"The film is drawn up like the art-deco cartoons of the mid to late 1940s reminiscent of the old Fleischer studio cartoons like Superman and some of the Technicolor Popeye shorts." Airnaruto explains.

Cast: "The voice talent is amazing in this film, I mean Kevin Conroy nails the grim stern façade of Batman and the hidden desire of Bruce Wayne to have a normal life to the letter, while Dana Delany executes her part of a former college girlfriend of Bruce Wayne's who looks sweet and petit on the outside with a desire to eliminate the mob by any means necessary deep within her, as for Mark Hamill as the Joker. When people have asked me who's is my favorite Joker? I think of four men that come to mind, Cesar Romero who played the role during the 1960s live-action television series, Jack Nicholson who played the part in the Tim Burton directed 1989 Batman movie, Mark Hamill who portrayed the voice of the Joker during the animated series as well as in the recently released Batman: Arkham Asylum video game, and Heath Ledger who played the part in the 2008 Christopher Nolan directed blockbuster The Dark Knight. Out of all of them I say Mark Hamill is the one and only perfect Joker I mean listen to his laugh." Airnaruto explains as we scene the scene from the film where all the explosives go off and fire consumes the Joker's hideout.

Joker surveying the fires: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

"Oh my God! Mark Hamill truly captures the Joker's twisted sense of humor." Airnaruto says before the next scene shows Joker turning around after kicking a robotic dog.

Joker: Can't be too careful with all those weirdoes around.

"Now I will admit the movie didn't do that well in theatres but thanks to it's VHS and DVD sales, the film has picked up a major cult following among the Batman fan base, but one thing I will say about some of the critics who bashed on the film specifically the late Gene Siskel who said that he preferred Cesar Romero as the Joker of Mark Hamill well lets just say I gave him what he had coming." Airnaruto says.

(Cutaway gag)

Local Chicago cemetery, Gene Siskel's grave, Airnaruto is seen digging up the grave and opening the casket with an axe in his hands and a can of red spray paint on the ground, after opening the casket he aims the can at the mouth of Siskel's corpse and spray the hideously wide Joker smile on his face before sticking the coffin and it's occupant back in the ground and filling the hole.

(End cutaway gag)

"My final rating of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, I give it 4 stars out of 5, Batman fans will truly be proud of this film." Airnaruto says. "Well that's it for now, remember I'm the Classic Critic, I remember it so you're not required to." Airnaruto finishes before leaving the room.

Pros: Very detailed animation, close to source detail, great voice acting, and very nice subplot.

Cons: a little short, a very anti-climactic revelation of the Phantasm's identity.

Final rating (scale of 1 to 5 stars): ****

A/N: well folks that's what do you think of this review, sure I skipped a few parts from the film but hey given the time constraints I had when I started typing this thing last night you can't blame me for trimming down the explanation of the plot.