How Phantasm Made Batman the Most Important Character in His Own Story Again

Twenty five years later, and there’s still a big reason why Batman: Mask of the Phantasm not only stands tall as the best Batman animated movie, but as one of the greatest Batman movies period.

Before Christopher Nolan treated us to a fantastic film all about Bruce Wayne’s early tragic life, subsequent inner turmoil, and ultimate decision to become a gadget-laden vigilante dressed like a bat, Mask of the Phantasm, a springboard from Batman: The Animated Series that received a theatrical release, made its mark as the Bruce Wayne-centric story we both needed and deserved.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this Christmas, Mask of the Phantasm isn’t just a stellar standout because of its dynamic action, genius work from Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, and Shirley Walker’s soaring score, but because it was the first big screen Batman story to focus on Bruce and his conflicted feelings about self-sacrifice.

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