Friday, September 05, 2014

Batman: The Animated Series - Mask Of The Phantasm/Batman & Mr Freeze: Sub-Zero Reviews

To round off my final reviews for Batman: The Animated Series, I decided to have a look at the two movies that followed the show.

Mask Of The Phantasm (1993)

The first feature to come out and overall, not a bad one as such. For those hoping for some flashbacks to the very beginning of Bruce Wayne taking on the mantle of Batman, this movie satisfied there with a few flashbacks of the would be Dark Knight embracing his destiny/promise to deceased parents and beginning his campaign to take out the criminals of Gotham. Of course, during these flashbacks, Bruce met a woman named Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany), fell in love and lost her twice through issues both of them were facing. Now in the present day, a mysterious vigilante known as the Phantasm has arrived in Gotham, seeking out criminals and acting like the angel of death towards them in the process. It doesn't take much to join the dots as to whom the Phantasm really is as the movie progresses and we learn more and more about Andrea and her father's dodgy dealings. The inclusion of the Joker is fun, but the movie essentially doesn't need him and it does seem like his contribution came down to the network wanting a familiar threat thrown into the mix. The romance between Bruce and Andrea is okay but perhaps could've been better had the series itself had referenced it beforehand. It's a solid movie with some great lines but honestly the story itself probably would've justified an episode in the series itself. 7/10

Batman & Mr Freeze: Sub-Zero (1998)

Much better however was this movie. Originally meant as a tie in to Batman & Robin, the movie was delayed by a year due to the poor performance of Joel Schumacher's other take on the Dark Knight franchise. Taking off where Deep Freeze left off though, Victor seemed to be living a peaceful life in a cold environment with his wife, some polar bears and a kid he befriended and took in, until a submarine kind of ruined things and he needed to recruit a former co-worker and kidnap Barbara Gordon (now voiced by Mary Kay Bergman) in order to finally cure Nora once and for all. It's a tense movie with some great moments and Freeze's desperation certainly makes him a lot more hostile than he was in his television episodes, although this movie did actually end with his goal being achieved somewhat differently than he imagined. It's also a good movie in developing that somewhat implied attraction between Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson as well, given that they're more or less a couple in this movie while Bruce spent a little time with a now blonde Veronica Vreeland but it's mainly the antics of the cold hearted Freeze that are the highlight of a thoroughly enjoyable movie. 8/10

That's it for now, but I will at some point cover The New Batman Adventures in a series of blogs and discuss other animated versions/movies as well.

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