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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 9+

Tamer than live-action, but still moody, violent.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a more mature Batman cartoon than the ones they might remember from their Saturday morning-TV childhoods. There is real death (including a parent), much violence -- even if it's animated -- involving explosions, guns, knives, etc. There's even some unsettling imagery involving corpses and the Joker that may upset the youngest kids. Anyone unfamiliar with the Batman saga might have some trouble following the story.

  • Families can talk about the style and storyline. Is an animated Batman more effective than an actor in a live-action epic? Do you like a Batman with personal problems or a basic high-tech crimebuster? You can also discuss Bruce Wayne's single-minded devotion to his mission. Is he doing the right thing? Is Batman a vigilante? How did kids like Mark Hamill's Joker, and who is their favorite version of this classic bad guy?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Batman never kills and seems to act noble and suitably heroic. Though his quest for justice suggests that being a vigilante has ruined Bruce Wayne's personal life, his righteous motivations and crimefighting are contrasted with the much bleaker personal vengeance mission of the Phantasm. Andrea is a particularly strong female character. Gangsters are of stereotypically Italian-American descent, and Gotham City businessmen, police, and government officials are mob-connected or threatening.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Much fighting, gunshots, and explosions. Some blood and dead bodies shown.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Just a hint that Bruce Wayne and Andrea have spent the night together.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: The Bat-marketplace of comics, action-figures, and video games is hard to overlook.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking; Bruce Wayne gets wine tossed on him at a party by an ex-girlfriend.