Once donning the old jade mask, the wearer becomes endowed with superpowers, and dangerously violent. Also, the wearer dons a large green and bald head, large teeth, and has the power to do nearly anything the wearer wants to. They become a living killer cartoon.
Stanley Ipkiss is looking for a gift to give his girlfriend Kathy. As he's looking in an antiques shop, he finds an old mask that calls out to be tried on. When Stanley tries on the mask, he becomes, as he's later dubbed, "Big-Head". As Big-Head, he goes on a rampage, getting revenge on all those that he has ever had a grudge against, including his first grade teacher and some bullies from his old school. When Stanley takes off the mask, he begins to have an change emotionally and becomes abusive toward Kathy. Kathy kicks Stanley out, but keeps the mask, as it was a gift.
Stanley feels that he needs to steal the mask back. But Stanley gets spotted by the police, and thinks the only way out is as Big-Head. During his attempt to escape, Big-Head nearly kills everyone. When Stanley gets back to his home, he is shot in the back by Kathy, who then realizes that Stanley is Big-Head.
Kathy takes the mask and gives it to Lt. Kellaway. She warns him not to put it on and explains that the mask is responsible for creating Big-Head. Lt. Kellaway ignores her and puts on the mask as a joke, unwittingly becoming Big-Head. As Big Head, Lt. Kellaway hunts down all the criminals that have put his job in peril. Walter, a musically mutated crime lord who has never spoken, now has a massive grudge against Big-Head for killing all his henchmen. However, Big-Head gets to him first and beats him to within an inch of his life. After Lt. Kellaway takes off the mask, he begins to realize what has been happening and buries the mask in his basement, vowing never to let it be worn again.
The Mask was created by Loki, the God of Mischief. When the wearer dons the Mask, they get a small portion of his powers. It should be noted that this origin only applies to the movie version of the Mask; the comic version's origin is still a mystery.
As Big-Head, the wearer has cartoon-like powers, such as being able to pull a giant mallet or bazooka from their pocket. They are also able to change what they are wearing and the shape of their body. No matter what the shape of their body is, the user always has a large green head. The wearer also has the power to do anything they wish to do, i.e. fly, eat a car, etc. Although the wearer can not feel pain or die, they bleed like a normal person. Depending on the wearer's personality, the Mask will bring their inner self out while usually getting revenge on all the people who had made the wearer mad or just destroying what they didn't like.
The mask gives the wearer reality bending powers on a minor scale. The wearer is usually seen bringing his imagination into reality. The will of the wearer at the time of wearing the mask gets fulfilled while wearing it.
As seen in the second movie, it is possible to pass on the reality bending powers to a child. This was done while the wearer made love with his wife. The resulting child exhibits shape shifting abilities just like the wearer of the mask, although this trait more closely links to Loki's original abilities.
The Mask: Official Movie Adaptation
After the success of the movie, Dark Horse created a comic of the movie version. This version include little bits that did not feature in the movie, like when Stanley gets his watch stolen by a gang of thugs before he attacks them with the balloon animal routine.
Differences Between Comic & Movie
There are several noticeable differences between the comic book version and movie version of the Mask. The first is the names of the characters. In the comics, the wearer is referred to as Big Head, which led to later comics portraying the character with an actual big head. In the movie and cartoon version, the character is referred to as "The Mask"
The comic's plot-line is about various people becoming Big Head and causing bloody chaos wherever they go. The movie and cartoon plot-line has Stanley Ipkiss as a good-hearted but pushover of a man who uses the Mask to protect his home city and the world.
Big Head is psychotic and extremely violent. He plays the role between anti-hero and villain, depending on the wearer at the time. The Mask, on the other hand, is much more comedic, like a regular cartoon character. He is portrayed as a mischievous and wacky character who just wants to have fun, but does heroic deeds if necessary. Big Head handles most personal grudges by killing his targets, while the Mask pranks his enemies, such as giving them wedgies. Big Head uses actual weapons like guns and axes, while the Mask uses slapstick comedy and prank items. Big Head is more straightforward his battles, while Mask unleashes cartoon insanity and confusion in his.
The Mask had also shown to be much more powerful than Big Head. His reality warping powers exceeds Big Head's only ability to conjure items out of thin air. He can alter his size and shape, pop out of pictures, transform into various people and objects, and do virtually anything. However the Mask has been shown to be vulnerable to some things. In the cartoon series, when a villain named Channel Surfer trapped him in a TV show, the Mask's own powers were unable to get him out. On another occasion, when Stanley developed a cold, it affected the Mask's powers when he put it on later. This is a noticeable difference from Big Head, who was instantly healed whenever the mask was put on.
Another wearer was the Joker. After the Joker had got a hold on the Mask, he was then able to defeat Batman. But the Joker got so bored of being so powerful that he decided to blow up each major city with nukes. He was later tricked out of taking the the Mask off. Another wearer was Lobo. Lobo was hired to find the "Ultimate Bastich". Lobo and the Mask fought, and after finding that they couldn't kill each other, the Mask offered to help find his bounty. The two made a bet, with Lobo winning and getting the chance to wear the mask. Later on, Lobo put the Mask on and became unstoppable, destroying many planets. Lobo then got sucked into a black hole and was sent through time, later finding out he was the "Ultimate Bastich". He then took the mask off and put it back where the thief had found it. Lobo then turned his past self in for the bounty.
The Joker found the mask in Gotham City museum and, not knowing the power it possessed, put it on and became invincible. He used his new found strength to attack Batman and nearly crippled him. This caused tension between him and Harley Quinn, who sought help from Poison Ivy to help remove the mask from him. Later, Lt. Kellaway and Batman worked together to try to defeat the Joker. Batman tricked the Joker into taking off the mask by saying he'd lost his own style and it's no longer funny.
Grifter is sent to break up a weapons smuggling at a gun show in Las Vegas. Grifter initially thought the Mask was the bad guy, but after the Mask's girlfriend got threatened Grifter and the Mask team up to stop the smuggling ring.
Lobo vs. The Mask
Lobo is hired to find the "Ultimate Bastich". The hunt leads to him to Earth where a thief has become Big Head. After a battle that decimated tons of people in Manhattan, Big Head finally agreed to help Lobo find the previous wearer. After causing mass destruction, Lobo finally seized the mask for himself. He put the mask on and destroyed lots of planets. A black hole then sent Lobo back in time for a month. Ironically, he finds out he is the "Ultimate Bastich". Lobo then takes the mask off and puts it where the thief found it before. Lobo manages to break the time loop and turns his past self for money reward.
Marshal Law vs. The Mask
Marshall Law is called in to take down the superhuman serial killer who possessed the Mask.