This Christmas, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm turns 25 years old. Mark Hamill is looking back on the Joker’s ambiguous fate in the film.
In the movie, a figure from Bruce Wayne’s past return to Gotham City and takes on the mantle of the Phantasm. The killer vigilante is out for revenge on criminals that ruined her family’s life, forcing her to break off her engagement to Bruce Wayne. One of those criminals is the man who went on to become the Joker.
In the film, the Joker gets caught up in a series of explosions at the film’s climax and it's unclear if he gets away. Hamill says he’s okay with the idea of Joker dying at that moment because Joker is a character that never really stays gone for long.
“Sometimes you have to play the scene like he’s dying, but anyone that knows comics knows that he’ll never be completely dead,” Hamill says.
Mask of the Phantasm is a film based on Batman: The Animated Series. Hamill remembered his many “deaths” in the television series
“I was falling off bell towers, out of airplanes, I even landed in shark-infested waters,” Hamill wrote. “I thought it was funny when the mainstream media picked up on when they killed Superman in the comics. All of us comic fans laughed, we knew they were just rebooting it and wanted attention, but that made it on the evening news!”
Hamill also recalled how the film wasn’t an instant hit.
“We were living in New York at the time and I was so excited,” Hamill tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We got to the theater and there were maybe twelve people! The people that were there were all diehard fans of the animated series and they recognized me.”
Today, Mask of the Phantom is something of a cult classic compared to other Batman movies. Some consider it to be the best Batman film ever and see it as overlooked because it is animated. On Rotten Tomatoes, Mask of the Phantasm has a higher rating than any of the Burton or Schumacher Batman films and a higher score than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The film was recently given the HD treatment and released on Blu-ray. The film was also included with the Blu-ray box set of Batman: The Animated Series.
What do you think of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm? Let us know in the comments!