Why BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM Should Be The Origin/Background Story Used In The Batman Reboot

With WB's wanting to reboot Batman, LEVITIKUZ explain why the first film in the new Batman series should be based on the classic 1993, Oscar nominated animated film. Click to find out why.

By LEVITIKUZ - 11/17/2012

Christopher Nolan's Batman series is over. Over the summer he concluded his series with The Dark Knight Rises. With WB’s wanting to reboot Batman and hopeful introducing this new Batman series in the Justice League film. With this new Batman series one has to wonder how you top the Christopher Nolan trilogy. The answer is you don’t try to stop him. You try to deliver a great Batman movie and story. The best influence you can go for Batman is the highly acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series. The highly successful animated series made one film that was in theaters that told Batman’s origin in the series. That one film was Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. The next Batman series should draw influences from the animated series. Here is why Mask of the Phantasm should be the origin/background story in the new series.

1. It Was Written By Paul Dini

Dini’s body of work speaks for itself. Everything the man has been involved in has been successful. Animated? Dini wrote Batman: The Animated Series which has been proclaim not just the greatest superhero animated series but one of the greatest animated series of all time and won Emmy awards from it. Video games? Dini wrote both Batman: Arkham Asylum & Batman: Arkham City which are the 2 greatest superhero games of all time and have won numerous Game Of The Year awards. Comics? Dini wrote the one shot series Mad Love which is canon to Batman: The Animated Series showing us the origins of Harley Quinn. IGN proclaimed Mad Love as the 12th greatest Batman book of all time and said “Mad Love is everything a comic book should be" and said that it’s "one Batman book everyone should read." Dini won an Eisner Award for Mad Love. Dini also wrote the story line called Heart of Hush which talks about Hush’s return to Gotham and vengeance on Batman. The Philadelphia Daily News said about this story that “[Paul Dini is ] the perfect writer for the Dark Knight.” IGN called the story “Exciting, action-packed.” Live action TV? Dini was on the writing time on the successful TV series Lost. Movies? The only real film Dini worked on was Batman: Mask of The Phantasm and it was by for an Oscar but lost to The Lion King. If this body of work doesn’t impress you and give you confidence, I don’t know what does.


Many Batman fans want the next Batman series to be based off the Arkham games and what were the Arkham games based off of? Batman: The Animated Series. Batman: The Animated Series has been called the greatest superhero animated series of all time and one of the greatest animated series ever. Batman: The Animated Series has been said to be more respectful and more faithful to the Batman comic’s history than any of the live action films. When doing the Batman reboot, there isn’t a better influence to look at than Batman: The Animated Series.

3. The Year One Nods

In Batman: Mask of The Phantasm we see many nods to Batman: Year One. We see in the story a young and inexperienced Bruce Wayne fighting street thugs and realizing his shortcomings like how he was in Year One. We also see a scene where Batman/Bruce is cornered by Detective Bullock's SWAT Team adheres to a similar setting from the graphic novel. We also see Bruce thinking of what to be when we see him with a pen and pad coming up with ideas and when he goes by the window we see a Bat.

4. The Plot

We see a different plot from this film than we seen from other Batman films. We see someone killing mob members and leaders and are making Batman take the fall because this someone looks like Batman even though it isn’t him. Batman has to clear his name while dealing with some demons from the past. Just about in every Batman film we see Gotham City in terror and in danger. Instead of having Gotham in danger, let’s focus on Batman in danger and make it a little more personal for him with having someone destroy his reputation.

5. It Isn't An Origin Story...

The story starts off with Batman well into his crime fighting career. It’s obvious that Bruce has been Batman for a period of time because of the fact he has gained trust of the police and many of his villains have already been villains for a while like the Joker.

6. …But At The Same Time It Is

We see via flashbacks how Bruce came to accept becoming Batman. It’s different than any other incarnation in the live action films. We see Bruce struggling to become Batman and fulfilling his promise to his parents. We learn the origin of Batman, Joker, and the Phantasm. Speaking of the Phantasm…

7. Andrea Beaumont/The Phantasm

Andrea is both a love interest and villain of the story. One could say Andrea is more of Batman’s equal than Talia al Ghul and Catwoman. Andrea isn’t trying to frame Batman but she does in the process. Andrea is a love interest from Bruce’s past who Bruce nearly gave up the life of crime to be with her for the rest of his life. Andrea adapts the Phantasm identify to seek vengeance on the mobsters who killed her father. Its best if we introduce a new villain instead of keep bringing back old foes in a new twist.

8. The Joker Is In It

Ok since we know how greedy and money grapping Warner Brothers is, this is a great reason for wanting to make this film. WB’s knows that the Joker sells. Everybody knows and loves the Joker. He is one of the greatest villains of all time. Joker may not be the main villain but the Joker does leave his mark in the film.

9. World's Greatest Detective

This is more of a detective Batman story. Batman himself in a position where he is being framed for crimes he didn’t commit. Even the police go after Batman. Batman must discover who is framing him and why while clearing his name. We see Batman’s back against the wall and see how he must clear his name while going up against old demons.

10. Harvey Bullock

Yea I’m using Harvey as a reason. He is one of my favorite Batman characters and I really want him to get his big screen credit. There have been many influences in Batman films of Bullock. In Tim Burton’s Batman, Harvey Bullock was an influence in the character of Lt. Maxwell Eckhardt. In Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Bullock was an influence in the character of Arnold Flass. In The Dark Knight Bullock was an influence on two characters. The good but tough cop Stephens and the corrupt Weurtz. It’s time to stop using Bullock as an influence and bring him on board in a Batman film.

11. Even With The Burton And Nolan Films, This Film Has Been Called The Best Batman Movie Ever

Despite the fact that we only had one Batman animated movie in the film, it was still praised as high as or higher than any of the live action Batman films. Empire magazine cited it as the best animated film of 1993, and felt it contained better storylines than Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert regretted not having viewed the film in its theatrical release. They did give a positive reaction, with Siskel feeling that Phantasm was better than Batman Returns and Batman Forever, and only slightly below Batman. In October 2012, WhatCulture also praised the film, saying it was at the same level, if not slightly higher, than the Christopher Nolan directed The Dark Knight Trilogy.

12. This Scene

In my opinion, this is Kevin Conroy’s best scene as Bruce Wayne/Batman. In all of the Batman films, we see Bruce accepting his role as becoming this creature of the night without a fight. He promised his parents he would have vengeance as Batman as a child and has been preparing his whole life for that role. In this film, it’s different. Now we see Bruce in a conflict. After Andrea came into his life, Bruce found someone who filled the void in his heart that has been gone since the night his parents died. Bruce doesn’t want to risk his life every night if there is someone who loves him waiting at home. We see Bruce pleading with his parents, wanting to know if it’s alright if he doesn’t necessary goes back on his promise but more so live happy. Bruce didn’t count on being happy.

13. The Foil Between Batman And The Phantasm

We see a great foil between Batman and the Phantasm. They have so many similarities but choose 2 different paths when they hit the fork in the road. As we find out in the story, we learn that Andrea is the Phantasm. Andrea lost her mother at a young age but when the mob put a hit on her father, Andrea and her father leave Gotham. The mob hired a hit man he found where Andrea’s father was and when she went out shopping, he killed Andrea’s father who was at home. Andrea lost her father to criminals. We all know that Bruce’s lost both of his parents to a criminal. Both Bruce and Andrea choose the same road but went different ways about it. Andrea spent years of training and plotting to seek vengeance on the men who killed her father and she would kill them. Bruce spent years of training and plotting to seek justice in Gotham against the criminals in the city. They both look similar in terms of design but go different ways at justice.

14. The Batcave & Batsuit

While this is a small reason, I think the next series needs a Batcave. Nolan never really made a Batcave. We need a cave similar like the comics. Burton’s Batcave was alright. Joel’s was ok. We need a full Batcave.

We also need to stop the all black suit. It’s time to drop it. It’s but overdone and used in every live action Batman film. Not saying let’s make the suit exactly but it’s time to have the grey suit. I don’t care if it’s grey and blue or grey and black but it should be one of those. If I had to pick, I would choose grey and blue over grey and black.

15. It's Not Too Big Of A Story But It’s Also Not Too Small

It’s best if the new Batman series is a little smaller but not too small. Nolan tried to make the Batman movies on an epic scale. There is nothing wrong with this but it makes whoever directs the next Batman series will feel pressured to make it as epic as Nolan’s Batman. As long as the script is good, you don’t need to try to compete with Nolan. Don’t make the next film as big as he made his. Try something smaller but don’t go to small. Die Hard is a small movie in a sense because it takes place in one building and it is the greatest action movie ever. Smaller doesn’t mean worse.

16. The Greatest Batman Scene In His Movie History

I've seen every Batman film but there isn't a scene that gives me goose bumps like this does. Bruce proposing to Andrea she says yes. He chooses her over a life of vengeance. Soon afterward, Andrea mysteriously leaves Gotham with her father, Carl Beaumont, ending her engagement to Bruce in a letter to Bruce. Bruce is left depressed at the fact his only chance of having a normal life is gone. The hole Bruce had when he lost his parents is back. Bruce finally dons the mask of Batman. The music in this scene is awesome and sets the mood perfectly. We see Bruce fulfilling his destiny in becoming Batman. Once Alfred gives Bruce the mask, Bruce looks at the mask of a moment knowing he can’t go back after this. Bruce Wayne dies in this scene. Bruce Wayne becomes the mask in Bruce’s life. Batman is who Bruce truly is. We see Alfred’s reaction. Alfred simply says “My God.” The boy he raised is no more. We never fully see Batman. We only see darkness.

Having trouble thinking how this film would look in live action? Maybe you need help to expand your imagination. NOTE: I DIDN’T MAKE ANY OF THESE.

What do you think? Should Mask of the Phantasm be used in the Batman reboot or not? Comment below. Peace.
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Minato - 11/17/2012, 2:25 PM
Great article honesty but I disagree.

Mask of the Phantasm is in my top 3 Batman movie so far (UTRH, BBROTJ) but it works better if you leave it as it is. They will never bring back the same magic that made this movie special. They would change too many elements that I love about that story if they were to adapt it to film.

Minato - 11/17/2012, 2:34 PM
You have many good points to this article.
They need to keep the spirit this article is trying to portray without Andrea Beaumont.
Preston - 11/17/2012, 2:39 PM
Mad Love

Dini won an Eisner Award for Mad Love.

If they decide to use any story, they should use Mad Love.


However, let's give credit where credit is due: Batman (1989) inspired the equally successful Batman: The Animated Series, paving the way for the DC animated universe, and has influenced Hollywood's modern marketing and development techniques of the superhero film genre.

Darklypse - 11/17/2012, 3:07 PM
Now as much as it does annoy me a lot sometimes at the blatant Batdick sucking from Dini and Timm's gang, the DC Animated Universe is nothing short of amazing and it is the best treatment of Batman as a character. While I don't agree the reboot should be a direct adaptation of this, yes it should take elements, such as him breaking down at his parent's grave and the "birth of Batman scene".

Though I personally would like this contained in flashbacks and in the present we also have Nightwing. Also, for the Batsuit, I'd like the white eyes. Nolan's costume overall was alright, but a few things let it down and made it, too me, look shit, such as the weak and barely noticeable symbol on the chest, the cape, etc.

Something like this would be brilliant: http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/6/69577/1946917-batman_mkiii_suit_by_j_k_k_s.jpg

Though the eyes could be in the shape of a glare or frown. Oh, and maybe for once his cape can hang and cover his whole body and he can actually have an awesome Batcave and be in the shadow's most of the time. And references to Metropolis, Coast City (obviously nothing to do with the Reynold's incident), Superman and Wonder Woman.

Hell, even maybe have an easter egg with the Superman logo in the background, or have a post credit scene where he views Superman and is trying to developing ways to contain him in the event he goes rogue. The Batman-Superman relationship on screen would be incredible, providing the Nolanverse doesn't turn Superman into a bastardised version of himself that is negative and has no hope or optimistic qualities...
Darklypse - 11/17/2012, 5:15 PM
TheMarvelite - 11/17/2012, 5:23 PM
I disagree LEVI.
nihcamja - 11/17/2012, 9:15 PM
^You dissagree with everything he says don't you ?
nihcamja - 11/17/2012, 9:15 PM
bazinga85 - 11/17/2012, 9:52 PM
Good article, great movie...I wouldn't call it the best batman film ever though, as those critics did, it'd probably be 5th on my list.
1. The Dark Knight
2. Dark Knight Rises
3. Bman Begins
4. Undr The Red Hood
5. Phantasm
AC1 - 11/18/2012, 7:03 AM
I loved this film as a kid, but I wouldn't want it to be the basis for a live action Batman movie... it was special because it was part of the Animated Series, and to use it elsewhere would lessen it's value.

However, I'm all for the next version of Batman taking influence from the animated series, since it's probably the best faithful adaptation so far. But I don't want a carbon copy, there needs to be a lot of originality too, so it's actually worth watching. I don't want some cheap knockoff.
CaptainAmerica31 - 11/19/2012, 9:53 AM
It should take elements but not a direct adaptation
AshleyWilliams - 11/19/2012, 3:13 PM
I totally agree with this.

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