Exactly twenty years ago, Warner Bros., DC Comics, and legendary Batman: The Animated Series creator Bruce Timm delivered quite the Christmas present to loyal Batfans on Christmas Day, as the very first full-length Batman animated feature was released in theaters and brought a new unique and original vision to The Dark Knight in cinema.
That movie was Batman: Mask of The Phantasm, released on December 25, 1993.
Heavily inspired by the classic Batman origin story "Batman: Year One" but spinning into an original tale of its own, Mask of the Phantasm saw the Caped Crusader taking on a mysterious new for called "The Phantasm", who left a trail of death on its path by slaying some old and retired mob bosses of Gotham City. Falsely accused of the murders, Batman relentlessly pursues this new criminal, but his mission is complicated by the return of a lost love, as well as the lingering presence of his eternal arch-nemesis, The Joker. In order to solve this case, The Dark Knight must piece together clues from his past and the present, and see whether he can rekindle an old romance at the same time...
Literally a blast from the past and perfect for Throwback Thursday this Christmas week, Mask of the Phantasm is literally one, if not THE BEST Batman animated film that has appeared in the Caped Crusader's long and thriving history. Featuring the immortal voices of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill as The Joker, this animated film opened doors and showed the potential of the then young and thriving DC Animated Universe, and helped keep the Batman hype and interest alive following the previous year's live-action release of Tim Burton's Batman film sequel, Batman Returns. The animation was luscious, and the OST was simply memorable and breathtaking, especially with music artist Tia Carrere's ending theme for the film, "I Never Even Told You".
Happy Twenty Years, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm... And prepare for Batman's 75th Anniversary next year!