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The Phantom (1996)

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One of the craziest, cheesiest, and weirdest superhero movies of the 90's. It also features potentially the creepiest last line of dialogue in a comic book movie ever: "No one refuses The Phantom."

 

It's on Netflix Watch Instantly and definitely worth a look.

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I feel that the correct title of this movie is "Slam Evil!" and it stars the Phantom.

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Treat Williams and Billy Zane were clearly having a contest to see who could give a hammier performance in this movie.

 

 

They both won.

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When Hollywood tried its hardest to make Billy Zane a legitimate leading man, the world responded with a collective "no thank you."

 

The trio of "mid-1990s pulp adaptations that could have been legitimate franchises but just resulted in disappointing films" needs to be addressed in some manner on HDTGM. I mean, they all SHOULD have been great (Alec Baldwin as The Shadow? A Rocketeer movie from the studio that arguably thrived/created that fantastical version of Art Deco the character lives in), but it never really happened. I think The Shadow is the least likely of the three of these to have become a franchise anyway, but it's also the one most similar in structure to the current wave of superhero movies, so I think it's equally worthy of an episode.

 

FURTHER SIDE NOTE: The Rocketeer is another movie fucking ruined by Joe Johnston... or at least one that should have been great but was ultimately disappointing. Captain America and the Benicio del Toro Wolfman movie are two other examples. Seriously, how does this guy keep getting work?

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When Hollywood tried its hardest to make Billy Zane a legitimate leading man, the world responded with a collective "no thank you."

 

The trio of "mid-1990s pulp adaptations that could have been legitimate franchises but just resulted in disappointing films" needs to be addressed in some manner on HDTGM. I mean, they all SHOULD have been great (Alex Baldwin as The Shadow? A Rocketeer movie from the studio that arguably thrived/created that fantastical version of Art Deco the character lives in), but it never really happened. I think The Shadow is the least likely of the three of these to have become a franchise anyway, but it's also the one most similar in structure to the current wave of superhero movies, so I think it's equally worthy of an episode.

 

FURTHER SIDE NOTE: The Rocketeer is another movie fucking ruined by Joe Johnston... or at least one that should have been great but was ultimately disappointing. Captain America and the Benicio del Toro Wolfman movie are two other examples. Seriously, how does this guy keep getting work?

 

 

Honestly I liked the Rocketeer. It was more than a little goofy but it was fun and i thought Billy Campbell was pretty darn good in it. Also Timothy Dalton was clearly having a hell of a time as the villain in the movie and I always appreciate that.

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Timothy Dalton might be the best part of that movie, and is pretty great in everything, and 'The Rocketeer' is definitely not terrible the way, say, 'Catowman' is. I just think it could have been a lot better, just like Joe Johnston's 'Captain America,' which has a great and enthusiastic cast (with a game Brit playing a Nazi villain). Not terrible; just very unengaging and it could have been better.

 

As for 'The Phantom' itself, it's been a while since I've actually seen it, though I do remember some terrible things about it. I may have to re-watch it for a proper evaluation... which I will do if it does become an episode.

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Outstanding Review from Amazon 5 Stars:

5.0 out of 5 stars Long-time PHANTOM fans couldn't be happier April 13 2003

By Will Ravenel

Format:DVD

To really appreciate the 1996 PHANTOM, it helps to know who he is: whereas other costumed heroes depend heavily on at least one super power and are forever in your face about it, the PHANTOM is the only one who relies on good genes, a white Palomino, a pet wolf, a loyal tribe of pygmy poison people (the Bandar), and a personal fortune to get him past bad times and bad people. He also has this stone fox of a girlfriend (Diana Palmer), a skull throne [THE Skull Throne], and the coolest home on the face of the earth, the Skull Cave.

Many "super"-type heroes have elements of the PHANTOM's lifestyle: Batman, for instance, ripped off the Skull Cave with his Batcave and his wealth; but unlike the PHANTOM Batman isn't saving the world 24 hours a day. Batman clocks in at sundown, works all night, then sleeps it off the next day. Presumably, too, crime in Gotham City isn't always afoot; Batman, as billionaire socialite alter ego Bruce Wayne, mixes it up with the nation's wealthiest 1% whenever possible. And who built the Batplane, the Bat-o-cycle, the Batmobile, the Batboat, etc? If Batman's got his own pygmies building this stuff for him, let's see 'em! And what kind of "hero" ADOPTS a teenage boy (Robin) and votes Republican?

The PHANTOM, on the other hand, would drop everything to come to the aid of some pygmy whose ox ate too many dung beetles. When the Bandar have a bake sale, the PHANTOM bakes a pie. Diana been away for a month and hasn't had a chance to write? The PHANTOM broods for about two seconds and puts on a hat, sunglasses, and a checkered trenchcoat, leaves town for the States, and breaks heads until he finds her and knows she's OK. Is that love or what?

Batman, as I mentioned, definitely uses his wealth to give him an edge over the bad guys in the application of technology to whatever skills he's otherwise developed, such as detective work (including working undercover and surveillance) and crime scene analysis. Batman applies his wealth to his own defense as well--the miniaturized gas masks, the canisters of chemicals in his utility belt to bail him out of an endless array of tight jams, and the aforementioned Bat-vehicles aren't cheap. And when he's not sleeping, eating, socializing, and home-schooling Dick Grayson, he's MAKING REPAIRS on all these things. Presumably. And what's with the smoking jacket?

The PHANTOM, on the other hand, is wealthy like nobody's business. In his Treasure Room he has, among other things: a goblet cut from a single diamond once owned by Alexander the Great; the Golden Fleece; Excalibur; The Holy Grail; and a specially-designed display case with a single, slightly withered apple inside with two bites taken out of it! I think he has a LITTLE LULU collection in there somewhere too. What impresses me, though, is that with all these chests full of precious stones and jewels and coins and all the rest, this guy is as rich as Scrooge McDuck and you'd never know it.

When he's not out in the world actively opposing bad people on behalf of the innocent, he's doing community service or speaking to schoolkids about the rule of law. And when there is NOTHING to do, he sits on that Skull Throne waiting to spring into action. No fancy weaponry, just a couple of pistols and a right-handed punch hard enough to leave the permanent impression of his skull ring on whatever bad guy's jaw it lands on. No "PHANTOM car/boat/bike/copter/plane" either--just one great big white horse he takes everywhere. Now you know.

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When Hollywood tried its hardest to make Billy Zane a legitimate leading man, the world responded with a collective "no thank you."

 

The trio of "mid-1990s pulp adaptations that could have been legitimate franchises but just resulted in disappointing films" needs to be addressed in some manner on HDTGM. I mean, they all SHOULD have been great (Alec Baldwin as The Shadow? A Rocketeer movie from the studio that arguably thrived/created that fantastical version of Art Deco the character lives in), but it never really happened. I think The Shadow is the least likely of the three of these to have become a franchise anyway, but it's also the one most similar in structure to the current wave of superhero movies, so I think it's equally worthy of an episode.

 

FURTHER SIDE NOTE: The Rocketeer is another movie fucking ruined by Joe Johnston... or at least one that should have been great but was ultimately disappointing. Captain America and the Benicio del Toro Wolfman movie are two other examples. Seriously, how does this guy keep getting work?

 

The Rocketeer is fucking great, as is Captain America. In fact, I'd say Cap is easily my favorite of the Phase 1 Marvel movies. Johnston may not be the world's greatest director, but he's very good at early 20th Century period stuff. October Sky is another one. Really, he only seems to falter when he goes outside that era.

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I was working at a movie theater when this came out and as a promotional item, we all got metal Phantom rings. I guess so we could all "slam evil". But the rings just discolored our fingers.

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I'm so bummed that livestreaming doesn't seem to ever be an option for these episodes.

 

I'd gladly pay $5-10 to watch this live on the Howl app or something.

 

:(((((

 

I was working at a movie theater when this came out and as a promotional item, we all got metal Phantom rings. I guess so we could all "slam evil". But the rings just discolored our fingers.

I had one of those skull rings and wore it for at least a year! They were kind of neat because they didn't look like a promotional item. Good accessory for a goth/punk teenager.

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