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VIDEO: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm vs. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

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It’s Batman vs. Batman when the Animated Heroine compares Batman: Mask of the Phantasm to Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker!

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  • Jay_Bay

    No matter the choice….Batman wins!

    Me personally, I like Return of the Joker. The (kinda) turn on Jason Todd’s story and tying into the Beyond universe is definitely interesting and with just a few tweaks, could be down right horrifying.

    • Jay_Bay

      And yes, I know it’s Tim not Jason, but this history is very much gel with Jason.

  • $36060516

    Good review! I hope your cup of coffee/tea you were holding didn’t get cold!

  • Heya! Good review, though I think you could’ve articulated why the twist in Return of the Joker doesn’t work a little better. The writing was kinda vague there. It has little if anything to do with the plausibility of it. I mean, people turn into mud mutants and were-bats on Batman, microchip cosmetics is kind’ve just an average day. The reason it feels silly and contrived is because it wasn’t really set up properly. Sure, setting up Tim as the main suspect was, but no mention was ever made before this point of the genetics technology used for the transformation beforehand, so it feels like they just pulled it out of their ass. Take Watchmen for example. Yes, Ozymandias’s plan was ludicrous, I mean, giant psychic squid? But the book spent so much time setting up every single detail of it individually that when it all comes together at the end, you buy it. Just a bit more foreshadowing would’ve made a world of difference for Return of the Joker.

    • drumstick00m

      Yep a bit more foreshadowing would have been fantastic, but I am sure a little thing called money (Justice League was probably getting most of it at the time of production) was an issue. With hindsight I am a big more forgiving of the whole deus ex microchip bit, if only because this is the best conclusion to what I always argue is the best modern tragedy every animated as a television series: Batman: TAS (which concludes in Batman Beyond)/the DCAU. The DCAU: it does Nolan better than Nolan, the Avengers better than the Avengers, Watchmen better than Watchmen, and almost does Teen Titans/X-men better than them too, but I digress. Batman Beyond Return of the Joker (along with the Justice League Unlimited episodes: Divided We Fall and Epilogue), really do deserve top billing for what they conclude and conclude so well.

    • Cristiona

      I think it’s a matter of it being a chip on the neck. The placement makes no sense for what it’s doing. I chip in the brain? That could work. But the neck? Hell, even if it was on the back of the neck to it was near the spine, that would have helped. Sure, the spine has nothing to do with who you are, but even the tiniest hook can sometimes be enough for suspension of disbelief.
      Especially with a show like Batman where “SCIENCE!” isn’t good enough. If it was set in the Silver Age, that might have worked, but it seems like Batman Beyond needs more rationale than 50’s sci-fi schlock.

      • The Animated Heroine

        My big problem was less about a chip that made him act like the Joker…and more about the whole transformation in general. If the chip had just been a personality thing it would have been less ridiculous.

      • Yeah, I mean wearing a mask wouldn’t really have changed things, and worked better.

        I can buy the chip mind manipulating him to think like The Joker (hell that’s no more silly than Mad Hatter’s schemes) but actual physical transformation seemed a cheap way of fooling the audience. As I say I’d much more likely believe the tech to create a flawless mask existed than that.

  • Necroglobule

    Damn, no awesome chair this time. Finally give up the ghost on you, AH? And we should officially call your coffee cup the Pimp Mug.

    Hehe. Hammill is always awesome as the Joker. Always.

    • The Animated heroine

      Nah, I still have the chair. It’ll be back.

  • Thomas Stockel

    Oh, don’t make me choose between these two films. Don’t make me choose!

    Seriously, I love the hell out of both movies as well as both series. I remember back in the day how upset I was that Batman was ending and Beyond was replacing it, and how pleasantly surprised to see how good it was. Honestly, I think the writers and producers came to realize they had told all the Bruce Wayne Batman stories they had wanted to tell.

    It makes me realize just how lucky as fans we have been, these past twenty years or so. Between Batman, Superman, Beyond, Justice League, Teen Titans, Brave & The Bold and Young Justice (And heck, even Green Lantern, which doesn’t suck.) WB has generated a tremendously good collection of animated series. It really depresses me to know that it appears to be coming to an end, because I am not looking forward to this new Batman series.

    Anyway, a good analysis of both movies. I agree that ‘Phantasm is the superior movie in every way, but I still like Return of the Joker despite that stoopid chip plot device.

  • MephLord

    Mask of the Phantasm is still my favorite Batman movie of all time (yes even better than Dark Knight or Tim Burton’s Batman). Having a bit of the Joker’s past recounted might have diminished the character to some extent, but we still don’t really know a lot about his life as a gangster, so it gets a pass. The great voice acting, not overly complicated plot, interesting characters and especially Bruce’s internal dilemma of being truly in love for the first time and having to choose between her and Batman really resonated with me. Plus the ending scene in abandoned Gotham Amusement Park #37 was really what made the movie work for me.

    A good Reel vs Reel would be Ultimate Avengers vs Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. The two movies don’t share much story-wise, but do feature marquee lineups of the main characters with some interesting choices that both work and fail in several areas.

    • The Animated Heroine

      It was a pretty solid movie 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll look into those films.