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Episode 14

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This week your friendly hosts took a break from Batman: The Animated Series (sort of). Instead of covering five episode of the show that launched the DC Animated Universe, they discussed the first (and only) DCAU theatrical release. Oh yes, it's Batman: Mask of the Phantasm! [ 2:26:08 || 66.8 MB ]

The above is from: http://www.worldsfinestpodcast.com/episodes/wfp_014.mp3

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Okay, here goes:

Pre-Episode Banter

Never seen any Saw movies. My friend said that after the first two films the series got awful, but he tends to like it and I tend to always a agree with him; he's 17, but he may as well be in his thirties he's such a genius.

I really don't care about the Wiki stuff to be honest. I don't really care about references that much, and I already know enough of those to be satisfied anyway.

E-Mails

Legion continuity bugs me. I don't even want to think about it.

Bat Embargo: Yep, stupidest thing ever. No kid is going to get confused between different versions of the same characters.

I agree with whoever talked about Veronica. I actually like Veronica in a way. She was a spoiled brat who was playing a joke without being aware of the consequences, but if you look at her in episodes like 'Harley's Holiday' and at the end of 'Birds of a Feather', she's actually a pretty nice person. I know that Penguin robs from the rich, but I don't really think that the show should be THAT intent on continuity.

The downloads are fine for me. And I do sort of see Batman as a virgin, even though there was implied sex in MOTP, but I buy it there given he's the more emotional BTAS version of the character. In TNBA and JL I highly doubt that he'd engage in sexual relations due to his emotional repression and deeper intent on his duty as a crime-fighter. As for sex without true love, I see him as eliminating any chance of inhibitions, and that includes STDs.

Oh, I'm Stuart. Forgot I made that E-mail. I do agree that if the show is really hard to place in continuity if it IS in continuity. Given that the show made by a different crew, I seriously don't see it as being the same universe. I definitely think it should be covered because it's a great show and is always associated with the rest of the DCAU, but I just prefer to see it as its own universe. Cool to see I stimulated so much discussion.

Explosions are just action cartoon cliches. You can't get rid of them.

I'm one of the people who really enjoy 'Fire From Olympus'. Jay Allman's review is perfect justification. Your diatribe on how we're all on crack is pretty funny though.

'Read My Lips'- It's definitely MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) or DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). But the semantics about insanity are pretty cool though.

I agree with Ian and Mike about how to handle the reevaluations; really want to see Top and Bottom episode lists.

Mask of the Phantasm

Okay, here we go. It's such a massive film that I won't bother reviewing it. I'm simply going to respond to you guys.

What about 'The Savage Time'? It was a three-part JL episode, so will it also be treated as a movie?

PG Rating- surprisingly, a lot of people actually think that 'Return of the Joker' Uncut shouldn't have been PG-13, which I find even more surprising. 'MOTP' was pretty sophisticated and everything but I don't think it was PG-13 material. The blood wasn't enough to be truly discomforting and there really weren't any sex/language scenes really. So yeah, I agree with the rating more or less. 'Return of the Joker', however, DEFINITELY should have been PG-13 and was a lot less kid-friendly than 'MOTP'.

The 3-D opening credits looked amazing! The reason it fails in JL(U) is because its so standard CG with overly shaded designs, but in the opening credits, the 3-D is really a 2.5-D, in that it integrates really well with the 2-D animation but is still technically a 3-D model. It was also used briefly for a rain shot.

Amazing music as well. The Spectrum animation is really a step-up from the series save the TMS episodes of the show. And even then the backgrounds are much more textured.

Yeah, the fights were far more creative than usual here. Love that table scene. I'd adore to see any parent's reaction to the movie. I actually showed the movie to my dad a few months ago. He thought it was great.

The two freakiest scenes for me was the statue scene in which it crushed Chuckie and Sal Valestra's smile after the Phantasm turns around the chair. And when Joker got kicked in the balls, because I always flinch whenever someone gets hit in the balls no matter how its animated and no matter who it is.

Alfred was truly at his best here. Terrific balance between sardonic humor and serious father figure. Whoa, James just said that.

Oh yeah, Dana Delaney is Beaumont! Strange that Bruce has had romantic relationships with two characters voiced by Delaney. Oh yeah, speaking of Hamill, I think this is one of his ALL TIME GREATEST performances. Arthur Reeve's actor was also great, especially in the laughing scene. It sounded so creepily real.

The animation was done by Spectrum and Dong Yang partially (though the film feels mostly like Spectrum). Spectrum also did 'It's Never Too Late', 'Heart of Ice', and 'Robin's Reckoning pt 1'. Great stuff.

I rather like the idea of a young Bruce Wayne Smallville thing. I wonder what the spin-off's title would be.

Also love the outdoor training scene.

Along the lines of Mike's talk on a more innocent portrayal of Bruce, I do really think that this movie more so than in most other episodes, Bruce feels like a real emotional human character. You don't get that a lot in TNBA and JL, where he's just such an emotionally repressed straight-up badass that he sometimes doesn't feel human.

Agreed. Danny Elfman rules.

Oh, in the 'Bruce's first night out scene', did y'all notice Bullock in the old-timey cop uniform that was used in 'Robin's Reckoning'? Oh...you did.

Yep, noticed the Radomski easter egg; don't think I noticed anything else.

Haha. 'Bruce has got some serious mojo!'

Love Joker's backstory actually. The fact that he never speaks shows that he was still a badass even before he became the Joker. And yeah: no name = best way to handle a Joker past.

I definitely don't mind the differences from 'The Killing Joke' (I really need to reread that). Your gripe doesn't bug me at all. I just don't think that hard about it.

Oh yeah, absence of Gordon. I really agree with you there. I still wouldn't remove points for that (the only points I'd remove would be for predictability and too much exposition).

Didn't notice the 'On Leather Wings' cop. I don't think the biker was meant to be anyone in the series. It was definitely Chuckie. And no, I don't think they should re-use Thorne, especially given some great episodes coming up feature Thorne ('Second Chance'!!!!).

The Wayne tombstone scene is amazing, very well animated, perfectly scored, and brilliantly acted. Excellent scene.

Love your sarcasm about the 'laying the roses down at Crime Alley'. Completely agree.

Speaking of the line, 'My God!', did you know that Toon Disney edited it out in 'Heart of Ice' when they were re-airing it recently. Made me so mad.

Ha, fate contradiction.

My favorite Joker line is:

'(angrily) GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!....(cools down) I don't know where they've been.'

My other problem is that two of Andrea's lines are too similar. 'If anyone's still ruled by his parents, it's you!' and 'if anyone knows the answer to that, it's you!'. Both are great lines, but they're just so similar to each other.

Joker being the killer was amazing, and the static direction on that scene actually works for a change. It's so subtle and nonchalant. He walks in, gunfire, he walks out, and she cries, or something like that. It was so awesome.

I thought it was in Europe too Mike.

Oh yeah, one more scene that bugged me was the animation in Batman's fall to the ledge in which he falls during the police chase. Very awkward looking.

I think having the pre-Joker not talk is not only mysterious, but so so cool. You just get the sense that this guy's a monster by the way he smiles sinisterly without saying a word.

The meat joke made me laugh out loud, honestly.

Totally disagreed about the 'if the killer was caught, he wouldn't be Batman'. I think Batman's quest is far more deeply rooted than simple vengeance. Wasn't the other part of his reasoning 'to make sure what happened to him never has to happen to another eight-year-old boy'? I mean, he fights the Joker, and Joker's definitely not the killer, but he still fights him right? Ditto Two-Face, Poison Ivy, etc. He also helps the innocent; that certainly doesn't help him catch the killer, but he does it anything. No, Batman goes far beyond vengeance.

The Joker death is really hard to figure out. I prefer not to think about it.

I don't think the closing shot was at all the best animation. The entirety of the climax was probably the best.

James's theory on how she dropped the locket is pretty great; never thought of that before.

Mike, you forgot 'Beware the Creeper' from TNBA!!!!! That was a connection to 'MOTP'. The first part talks about how Joker was a nameless gunman for the Valestra mob.

I loved it the first time I saw it, but I don't remember much of the experience. I remember it being on Cartoon Network's Cartoon Theater but little to do with my actual watching the movie. Re-watching it this past year was like a new experience for me.

Scores

You: 9 and 9 / Me: 9

Closing

Ooh, nice choice for a closing scene.

Keep up the great work. Some of my favorite episodes next week: 'A Bullet For Bullock', 'Avatar', and 'House and Garden'. Can't wait.

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Blane   

*ducks* Maybe I have to rewatch this but I was SHOCKED at how good of reviews this got. The movie just never and still doesn't do much for me.

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I will admit for a long time now I have listened to World's Finest Podcast, but made no comments which is really kind of lazy of me. However, when I heard the episode on MOTP, I had to express a few of my thoughts. First I will say I am slightly biased, since MOTP has been a favorite of mine for many years, since it was one of the few BTAS videos I have had on VHS for many years. My name's Derrick btw, I'm just not up for typing a huge intro right now.

Now to the topic at hand that caught my attention, the Joker. Now as I said, I freely admit my bias, as well as the fact that I only read The Killing Joke a few weeks ago, to put everything in perspective. And don't get me wrong, besides Batman laughing at the end, I really liked it. And I do think it could have been the impetus behind the Gangster Joker, if you think of it this way. Take everything we know from the Killing Joke, except have Joker go the Ace Chemical Factory later, maybe a few months or years later. He could still have been pulling some other kind of job for his pregnant wife, who then dies, and Joker just falls into this mindset of not giving a crap anymore, with him eventually getting knocked into the chemical vat by Batman. Now while this is initally more convoluted, I think there is a good reason besides how it affects Andrea and Bruce in this movie. Think of how long Batman trained around the world before he could be the Dark Knight and even then he made quite a few mistakes. So why is it, besides the short time frame comics tend to like to cover, that a normal man that becomes the Joker suddenly becomes this guy who's even a threat to the criminal kingpins? I just don't know how likely it is he would be able to form the different gangs he has and keep them in line. He has little to no experience doing such a thing if we take the Killing Joke as his backstory entirely. Sure craziness and having a fondness for guns can be intimidating for some, but even the Joker sleeps. I mean its not like the Joker's a huge guy, so his personality and violence are what he has going for him. Plus there's also the whole question of how he would be so proficient at handling firearms if the Chemical Factory was his first stint as a crook, but I'm not entirely knocking that story. I suppose he could have went to a gun range when he was younger, its just most cities tend to have strict gun restrictions.

And finally, I can see Batman not being able to figure out all this stuff about the Joker. With the gangster bosses already dead, there is at best a few people who knew who this man used to be. Men who the Joker probably either killed right after becoming the Joker and totally crazy to keep his past "multiple choice" or certainly after the Phantasm seems to be knocking off people connected to Joker's time as a hired thug/assassin. Besides which, if I had lost everything I knew in his situation, how likely is it the Joker just sat down and told his gang buddies everything about himself? And yet again, even if they knew a few things about him, wouldn't he do his best to get rid of them once he goes nuts and becomes Joker? In short, even Andrea doesn't know that much about him. And with the mob bosses gone, I just don't see that many people knowing about Joker's past. I mean if the Riddler was keen on erasing all mentions of his past in BTAS, wouldn't the Joker at some point as well?

And in conclusion, I also like Joker's backstory to be more mysterious and certainly not as pat as it is in the first Batman that Burton made. Also, I really do like your podcast and may comment more often, but I just had to put my thoughts into words on this issue. Thank you for your time and forum.

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Thanks for joining, Derrick! To address your points:

Attempting to roll all of any character's different origins into one will never work. Look at Superman: did Clark head to the Fortress of Solitude directly after Pa Kent's funeral (Superman: The Movie), did he stick around the farm for a while (Smallville) or is Pa still alive (comic books)? Did Clark know Lex before Luthor ruled Metropolis (Superboy comic books, Smallville), or did they meet when Superman first arrived (Superman comic books, STAS)? Does Lana know Clark's secret (comic books, STAS), or is she in the dark (Superman III, Smallville)?

See how confusing that is? Each version has to be seen as a different entity based on the same basic myth: an alien child fell to Earth and was raised by kindly Kansas farmers.

The same must be said of the Joker. In comics that predate The Killing Joke, the unnamed man was the criminal Red Hood long before he became the Joker. In The Killing Joke he was a family man / failed comedian. According to Tim Burton's movie and BTAS he was a mobster. To combine them we'd have to assume that the unnamed man was a ruthless mobster who became the Red Hood for unknown reasons, yet forsook his evil ways to live in poverty with his wife. He was the forced back into a life of crime by "one bad day." It doesn't work. Why would a well-paid mobster become a masked criminal, only to give it all up to become a chemical engineer / comedian who lived in a dive? Had he been a killer before falling into the vat, he wouldn't have been so nervous and bumbling when he and the crooks were breaking into the chemical plant.

So again, we have to accept all of his various origins as being unique to the medium in which they were told. However, despite their differences, they all have two things in common: Batman and the vat of chemicals.

All that said, I see where you're coming from with the Joker; it's hard to believe he went from being a hardworking family man to a psycho supervillain overnight. To make sense of this, we have to assume the unnamed comedian always had this dark, scheming side in him, but never let it out -- until his family perished. I've also assumed he went underground after the turn; though he didn't train as heavily as Bruce, he did become an expert marksman and learned to fight with knives. And he plotted. Oh, he plotted!

We also have to take into consideration his "multiple choice" comment in regards to his origin. Just because The Killing Joke has been embraced by DC as Joker's origin, it is not set in stone -- especially when you consider that the origin is seen through Joker's flashbacks. His mind is so messed up, for all we know that was the story his mind concocted for that day. The day before he might have been a pilot in his former life, and the day after he might believe he was a police officer. Let's take a look at "Mad Love." In said BTAS episode Joker tells Dr. Quinzel that his father busted him up. Did it happen? No one knows, but I'm willing to bet the Joker actually believed the story as he told it. Couple his lies and manipulations with his lunacy and we're left with a foggy origin.

When it comes to the origin we're told in The Killing Joke, I'm willing to accept that one day it might be changed. In fact, the only reason The Killing Joke has remained (mostly) untouched is because Alan Moore wrote it. Had another scribe penned that story it would have been retconned a long time ago.

When it comes to Batman figuring out Joker's history (in BTAS / MotP, that is), I still maintain that if Andrea could uncover the truth, so could "the world's greatest detective." All he has to do is ask Andrea, so that part of the movie just didn't work for me.

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Koete   

As I was introduced to Earth-2.net through Mike's promotion of the first episode of WFP (then an episode of Earth-2.net The Show) and WFP is one of my favorite podcasts, it only seems right my first post be in the WFP forum.

In my opinion, Batman: Mask of The Phantasm is the second best Batman film ever made, live action or animation. The 60's Batman film, though in that era of Batman camp, is alot of fun ("Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb"), but it's not The Dark Knight. I know Mike has problems with the Tim Burton Batman films, but I enjoy them, the first over the second comparing the two. They were a huge step in the direction of the Dark Knight, but there's something I can't put my finger on that makes them not the best of the Batman films, in my opinion, I'd put the both at third. Batman Forever is better than Batman and Robin, but even still, they're towards the bottom. Batman Begins is widely considered the best by many and I agree, 'nuff said. Now finally to Batman: Mask of The Phantasm. I don't know if it was on the big screen or on VHS, but I remember seeing this as a kid and being blown away. I saw a ton of animated films in my childhood, mostly the Disney stuff naturally, but no other film sticks out in my memory as much as MoP. To me, it was the culmination of BTAS, being too young to see the Burton films, this was my Batman film. The animation was fantastic, the music memorable, it had Batman's greatest foe, The Joker, and he was scarier than we had ever seen in BTAS. That and, as a kid, the Phantasm looked damn cool. This film just WAS Batman. It was dark, it was grim, it had action, emotion, it takes the Batman universe established in BTAS and replicates that on a grand scale. Until Batman Begins, no other film gave us a better picture into Batman's universe and mythos, and almost 15 years later, it still gives us that picture clearer than almost all other Batman films.

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The downloads are fine for me. And I do sort of see Batman as a virgin, even though there was implied sex in MOTP, but I buy it there given he's the more emotional BTAS version of the character. In TNBA and JL I highly doubt that he'd engage in sexual relations due to his emotional repression and deeper intent on his duty as a crime-fighter. As for sex without true love, I see him as eliminating any chance of inhibitions, and that includes STDs.

I must apologize in part Mxyzptlk for how little of this particular post I'm quoting, but it caught my eye and I thought I would respond to it. I really don't see Batman as a virgin or someone who's having very little sex over the years. Now I would like to point out, I don't think this because Batman is my favorite of the comic book characters, or because I just want Batman to be the uber pimp, or because since he's usually such a good philosophical and visual foil to Superman that he should be in this category as well. (From my limited understanding of Superman, it seems like Lois and maybe Lana have been his only sex partners.) I think the real reason he has sex on a semi-regular basis is a few key factors. First, Batman has had alot of women he's been interested in. Now granted, it's probably in part because Batman has never really been able to have that one perfect character that works with him on all of his various psychological layers, but that fact remains. Second, Batman strikes me as a secular humanist who would not have the more traditional Puritan ideas of sexuality, so not being married wouldn't bug him, though I see him having monogamous relationships with these women during these different periods of his life. Third, Batman risks his life every single night, as well as the lives of men and women he feels are his family. (Dick Dreyson as Robin, Jason Todd before the Joker, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, etc...) I think he certainly would be aware of the dangers of STDs, but I don't see him having casual sex with women he barely knows, and he might be just obsessive enough to screen their blood for himself anyway. And finally, his image. He's seen as a vapid playboy, in the traditional sense that he screws around with female celebrities and such. If Bruce isn't having sex, I don't think that facade would be maintained. While I think in women in general are wonderful, certainly there are those select individuals that would try to embarrass Bruce if they could get neither his money or even some fun time in the bedroom. We would start having people wondering if the rumors that Bruce might be gay or have ED are true. Rumors that have never been said in the comics themselves when it comes to Bruce Wayne, though there is certainly the out of universe Seduction of the Innocent I suppose. And I do think those rumors would have to start after awhile if he's not having sex at all and no, I'm not mentioning the original Robin's costume in my analysis. :laugh:

Anyway, just my thoughts on the Dark Knight. Oh and by the way, I have a question to any Bat fan who might know the answer. Every time I look at Batman comics and the visual depictions of the Batcave, I see alot of things. A big Penny, the Batmobile, and a dinosaur to mention a few. My question is, where the hell did the dinosaur come from? I was just curious.

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From Wiki:

Three memorabilia items often seen in the cave are a defunct full-size mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex, an equally large U.S. penny and a Joker playing card. The origins of these trophies are explained in Batman #256: the T. Rex comes from an adventure on "Dinosaur Island"; the penny was originally a trophy from Batman's encounter with a penny-obsessed villain named the Penny Plunderer (in World's Finest Comics #30, 1947). Other "keepsakes" in the cave include Two-Face's original coin, Deathstroke's sword, the shroud of the Vampiric Monk, and over-sized ten-pins.

The New Batman Adventures

In the 1998 episode "Mean Seasons" from The New Batman Adventures, Batman and Batgirl are forced to fight a giant mechanical T-Rex. The comic book tie-in to the Justice League Batman - Batman Adventures #12 - features a short called "The Hidden Display" which tells how a young Dick Grayson persuades Batman into keeping a robot T-Rex early on his career, which eventually leads to the Trophy Room of the Cave. Either one of these tales could be how the animated Batman obtained the dinosaur.

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I appreciate that information, thanks for your quick response. I just wanted to point out that I just finished up Superman TAS a few weeks ago and Batman Beyond, including Return of the Joker, today and I will be starting Justice League today or tomorrow. I may have not mentioned it, but until I got the BTAS DVDs, I had not even watching all of the episodes that comprised the original run and only one or two episodes from TNBA. I'm glad I've been able to get them recently, especially as far as Superman, because I'm pretty much a comic virgin. I've only been getting into the Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul plot recently. It helps that my local comic guy's favorite character is Batman as well, so he's been pointing in me in the right directions. I particularly enjoyed Batman and Son when I bought the hardcover recently, just before I got into the Resurrection plot. As a novice, I will also point out, after having listening to the Earth 2.Net show a few times, Countdown and the multiple Earth's seem daunting to me. At least somehow Superboy or Superman Prime or whatever brought Jason Todd back, his becoming Red Hood to me gives him that interesting emotional connection to Batman, stronger then even Two-Face probably.

On another note, it seems like Talia switches voice actors from the BTAS to STAS to BB. I must say I prefer the BTAS voice actress the best, usually I hear her during Talia's parts of Batman and Son, as well as the crossover.

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The downloads are fine for me. And I do sort of see Batman as a virgin, even though there was implied sex in MOTP, but I buy it there given he's the more emotional BTAS version of the character. In TNBA and JL I highly doubt that he'd engage in sexual relations due to his emotional repression and deeper intent on his duty as a crime-fighter. As for sex without true love, I see him as eliminating any chance of inhibitions, and that includes STDs.

I must apologize in part Mxyzptlk for how little of this particular post I'm quoting, but it caught my eye and I thought I would respond to it. I really don't see Batman as a virgin or someone who's having very little sex over the years. Now I would like to point out, I don't think this because Batman is my favorite of the comic book characters, or because I just want Batman to be the uber pimp, or because since he's usually such a good philosophical and visual foil to Superman that he should be in this category as well. (From my limited understanding of Superman, it seems like Lois and maybe Lana have been his only sex partners.) I think the real reason he has sex on a semi-regular basis is a few key factors. First, Batman has had alot of women he's been interested in. Now granted, it's probably in part because Batman has never really been able to have that one perfect character that works with him on all of his various psychological layers, but that fact remains. Second, Batman strikes me as a secular humanist who would not have the more traditional Puritan ideas of sexuality, so not being married wouldn't bug him, though I see him having monogamous relationships with these women during these different periods of his life. Third, Batman risks his life every single night, as well as the lives of men and women he feels are his family. (Dick Dreyson as Robin, Jason Todd before the Joker, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, etc...) I think he certainly would be aware of the dangers of STDs, but I don't see him having casual sex with women he barely knows, and he might be just obsessive enough to screen their blood for himself anyway. And finally, his image. He's seen as a vapid playboy, in the traditional sense that he screws around with female celebrities and such. If Bruce isn't having sex, I don't think that facade would be maintained. While I think in women in general are wonderful, certainly there are those select individuals that would try to embarrass Bruce if they could get neither his money or even some fun time in the bedroom. We would start having people wondering if the rumors that Bruce might be gay or have ED are true. Rumors that have never been said in the comics themselves when it comes to Bruce Wayne, though there is certainly the out of universe Seduction of the Innocent I suppose. And I do think those rumors would have to start after awhile if he's not having sex at all and no, I'm not mentioning the original Robin's costume in my analysis. :laugh:

Yeah, part of my version of Batman definitely has root in my strict moral upbringing, so while it's probably a given that Bruce goes around having sex to maintain his image, I haven't been exposed a lot to how frequently sex occurs given how morally conservative I've been my whole life that it's hard for me to picture one of my favorite heroes engaging in the act every so often. While I think that avoidance of STDs is probably the only concrete reason Batman would abstain from it, I do admit that looking at it realistically, he's probably not a virgin. So yeah, there's definitely a lot of personal bias in my preference of a less sexually active Batman portrayal, but I guess it's what floats your boat.

In any case, I still have trouble imagining that Bruce maintains his playboy image at all during 'Justice League', given how busy he is on the League and how hard it is to conceive that he's spending any time whatsoever in Gotham.

As for your more recent post, just wondering, what did you think of 'Superman: the Animated Series'? Given that that's probably the least talked about series of the Timm-verse, I'm always curious as to what people think about it (as you may have already read, I'm a fervent defender of it and find it to be criminally underrated).

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Yeah, part of my version of Batman definitely has root in my strict moral upbringing, so while it's probably a given that Bruce goes around having sex to maintain his image, I haven't been exposed a lot to how frequently sex occurs given how morally conservative I've been my whole life that it's hard for me to picture one of my favorite heroes engaging in the act every so often. While I think that avoidance of STDs is probably the only concrete reason Batman would abstain from it, I do admit that looking at it realistically, he's probably not a virgin. So yeah, there's definitely a lot of personal bias in my preference of a less sexually active Batman portrayal, but I guess it's what floats your boat.

In any case, I still have trouble imagining that Bruce maintains his playboy image at all during 'Justice League', given how busy he is on the League and how hard it is to conceive that he's spending any time whatsoever in Gotham.

As for your more recent post, just wondering, what did you think of 'Superman: the Animated Series'? Given that that's probably the least talked about series of the Timm-verse, I'm always curious as to what people think about it (as you may have already read, I'm a fervent defender of it and find it to be criminally underrated).

I mean you no disservice, but my hunch told me that might be in the case in some respects that formed your opinion of Bruce/Batman. Whether I was right or wrong in my hunch, this is exactly why I like forums with smaller groups of people, I tend to have discussions more then heated debates in these kinds of circles.

Now on to your question about what I thought of Superman: The Animated Series. As a avid Batman fan, I thought it was wonderful. I thought it was a good change of pace from Batman and I thought Superman was portrayed in a more interesting way then I have seen in most mediums. I thought they took what seems to be the best of Superman's Rogues Gallery (remember that I'm not that well versed in Superman comics) and created interesting challenges for Superman. In fact, I thought Metallo was more overused then Kryptonite was in other plots (mostly because I felt like he could have been treated like Freeze with a few, memorable appearances, instead of a few unneeded episodes).

Certainly I thought the angle they played with Clark/Lois and Superman/Lois was the best way to handle it. That, in conjunction with Supergirl, the Flash, and Aquaman cameos gave a realistic reason as well for why Superman wouldn't always be saving someone, every few seconds.

I also thought Darkseid was cool, even if as an avid Star Wars fan it would occasionally make my mind wander for a few seconds with that name. And as far as Lex, well he seems to work much better as like Bruce Wayne gone wrong with money. I thought Kevin Spacey did a good job with the version of Lex from earlier years in SR, but overall I like what the wiki describes as the "post-Crises" Lex. Keep in mind as well, I have yet to watch Smallville.

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Great, it's always good to find someone else who loves the series (and I'm eagerly anticipating Mike's and James' coverage of it). It's always looked down upon in many circles because it isn't Batman and lacks that series' revolutionary qualities and also lacks the scope of 'Justice League', but so many of these people sort of gloss over all of the best aspects of the series, such as the continuity, the orchestral music, and the amazing animation. There were definitely poor episodes, but I don't think those compare at all to the series' overwhelming set of great episodes. It's always neat to read the opinions of someone who's newer to the show and comics in general.

And thanks for taking the time to write out longer posts and being so civil; I look forward to conversing with you in the future.

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I'm sorry, but I'm a fan os Saw. I don't know why, I am very tired of todays horror flicks, there is no sense to be made with 95% of them, but I guess I like the twist ending. I watched Dead Silence and if you didn't know the director and writer were involved with Saw also, the twist ending is very Saw.

I don't mind the review of B:TMOTP being review in between. It just helps me put my mind in place of the continuity of where this happens in the series. I love Wikipedia, it is a huge joke, that not everything on there is truth or fact, because everyone contributes, chances are if there isn't a truth in something, someone will erase it or edit it. I completely agree that B:TAS episode guide, review and pages for each episodes needs to be on there. I'm with you on this fight.

In terms of not using any Batman villains in the final season of JLU. It is an extremely bad descision on WB and DC part. Anymore exposure of characters being used in newly released material will get more users. I am from the DCAU era of cartoons, so if you want me to be dedicated to watch The Batman, bring in characters I may like.

Same thing with Batman Begins, using Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghoul in the JLU, would bring back interest in the characters and more so in Batman Begins. They are also the best of any DC villains

Now's here my review:

Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm, this got to be the best Animated feature length Batman story ever made. Great animation, perfect acting, dialogue, everything. The music is fantastic, if I were to base Danny Elfman's ability as a composer soley on this, he would be the best. It's an excellent blend of the Batman 1989 movie(the very beginning), TAS theme and a revamped Operatic movie score. Excellent. Nothing really to flaw here. I have to agree that this should have been rated PG-13, it's even more adult in nature than Superman: Doomsday and far more dark. PG-13 was first used for Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, so by this time, PG-13 did exists. What I liked most about this are the glimpses into the origins or semi-origins of Batman and The Joker, it was fun to see that in the DCAU Joker was still a somewhat mysterious and it seems like he's more like a psychotic Batman, whereas he doesn't talk and strikes terror just by intimidation. A tool that Batman uses. I love the first adventure Bruce has before he turns into Batman it was great, he tried to be a vigilante cop and laughed at, which is what causes him to rethink his gimmick. I also love the expression Alfred gives Batman when he first sees him, he looks incredibly scared and weerly of his master's thinking. I wish we could have seen more Phantasm in the series, but the animators were so good at keeping this character in as little of the film as possible and giving a creepy mystique about her. When I saw the JLU episode "Epilogue" it was a fan excitement to see the character again, even for a minute.

The Joker in this is the most effective of all his appearances. I agree that a parent taking their child or children to see this expecting an Adam West type Batman was probably surprised st this, but at the same time, the series during its FOX run was heavily promoted with 2 TV spots almost every hour, so chances that a parent wouldn't know what kind of Batman they were taking their kids to see are slim. I loved Dana Delany's performance in this, very effective and I wouldn't be surprised if Bruce Timm and Paul Dini remembered her when casting for Superman:TAS for Lois Lane. Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamil and Efrem Zimbalist are always great, but here they top quality voice acting.

It's a dicotic relation between Bruce and Andrea, they are so much alike, but so different. They both are avenging the death of their parents, but while Bruce keeps himself from crossing a line, Andrea isn't so cautious. It's sad cause you can see that if she gave Bruce the chance, he can pulls her from the brink, but she doesn't. It is clear in the JLU episode that Andrea has regained her sanity and learned from her encounter, but still sad.

I must say, how Andrea could know that the guy who killed her father became the Joker and how Batman can't seem to figure out who Joker really is. First you have to realise that she knew Joker before he became The Joker, so the mannerism, the clothes are all the same. The only difference is amount of talking he does and he has no makeup. She has probably been following him for years while building her mind and body to face him. The nickname explanation could also work, but he doesn't seem to have the psychosis yet of The Joker, he doesn't talk and is always serious looking.

I believe that what happened ws that Andrea left The Joker at Arkham Asylum, the next time we see him is in episode entitles "Trial" where Batman is put on trial by the inmates of Arkham with the New DA. I have no idea or theories of her teleporting.

This movie is my favorite of all the DCAU movies, Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker and World's Finest are my second and third respectively. Batman and Robin: Subzero was such a disappointment compared to this and I am a huge DCAU Mr Freeze episodes. I would have to give this 10 out of 10, yes the best score.

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Rjoyadet   

I remember seeing clips of this movie whenever I visited my cousins. I was never allowed to watch the Tim Burton movies and the old country never broadcast cartoons (Getting cable was out of the question) I remember it vividly because it was the firs time I saw Batman take off his mask and realize that there was a person underneath.

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