Vietcong’s review published on Letterboxd:
I never realized before how goofy this story is. This thing isn't serious at all, it's absurd. I mean, it's pretty cool and there are some great moments but damn, the plot is silly. Firstly, every single woman in this movie is a fucking idiot. The ballerinas who can't stop twirling. The singer who refuses to listen to a terrorist's threats and gets a lot of people killed. A girl who thinks that the "Spirit of Music" is talking to her through a wall, and then proceeds to go into the catacombs with a mysterious masked figure and only upon seeing his coffin bed does she realize it's the Phantom, a figure so frequently talked about by everyone in the beginning it's a wonder they hadn't caught him until now. Also he's a mass murdering psychopath and leaves notes to people all the time, you'd think the cops would fucking do something.
So basically it's a dumb story with dumb characters and some serious Bond villain lair style shit, but Lon Chaney is amazing. His makeup work is unbelievably good, but his performance is the one thing that adds even a shred of humanity to this film. He's tragic and lonely, and simultaneously sadistic and monstrous. His hands are expressive enough to make up for the mask (which actually is an effective face for a mysterious, lonely man) and it's a blast to watch him when he gets into really deranged shit. He enjoys hurting people, no question about it. The ending is funny and cool, but there are certain things I like about the book's ending (judging from Wikipedia of course, i dont read fuckin books) a little better. That said, I really can't wrap my head around why this is such a well-loved story. It's just simply not very good, very one dimensional with no subtlety or depth (outside of Chaney's acting, of course).