I remember a couple of years ago some friends and I were discussing superhero movies. I had just finished watching the hilariously terrible Batman and Robin, and commented that this meant I had now seen all the Batman movies. One of my friends asked if that included the animated movies, and I had to admit that it did not; they had slipped my mind at the time (I’m also short one of the old movie serials, though I own and have watched the other.) The animated movies have had a way of slipping past my radar; I remember seeing commercials for the first, Mask of the Phantasm, when it came out, but as this was before I had my own driver’s license, I was unable to see it in the theatre, and eventually forgot about it. Once reminded, however, I had to add it to my “to see” list, and kept an eye out for opportunities to watch it.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was the first animated movie featuring Batman, and also the only one to have had a theatrical release. It was originally conceived as a two-part episode for the Batman animated series, but was expanded just slightly (to 76 minutes, just barely long enough to constitute a feature) and reworked for the movie theaters. Being essentially a part of the series, it uses the same animation style, and several of the regular voice actors reprise their roles. Kevin Conroy is Batman, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. is Alfred, and Bob Hastings provides the voice of Commissioner Gordon, though Gordon’s role in the film is rather small. Continue reading