Review - Batman Hush
Batman: Hush is the latest instalment in DC’s ever extending library of animated movies, adapted from long standing source material.
This venture follows the Caped Crusader trying to uncover the changes in his most notorious villains’ motives, or to discover if there is another hand at play. While the film does an excellent job of following and adapting the comic of the same name, written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee, it does in fact become just another film in a long list of animated adaptions without standing out from its predecessors.
*Warning the following review does contain spoilers*
The film sees Jason O’Mara return to don the cowl once again (metaphorically speaking), in which he does an excellent job playing the Dark Knight, but this was to be expected after such longevity with the character. Bringing the flirtatious playboy to life in Bruce Wayne with a cool charm and sullen intense when the bat. He can definitely be considered a close runner up for the voice of Batman close behind the one and only Kevin Conroy.
One of the main things that stood out throughout the film were the changes in characters made from the source material, that offer no change in the story whatsoever. For example, the film starts with Batman taking on the task of rescuing a kidnapped child from Bane (voiced by Adam Gifford) who has demanded payment for the boy’s safety. Bane’s story arch is later revealed that he was under uncontrol from Poison Ivy (voiced by Peyton List), in comparison to the source material this arch is played out the same but with the character of Killer Croc.
The film even goes so far as to recreate iconic shots from the comic with Bane instead of Croc. This comes across as a missed opportunity for lesser known villains a chance to stand in the limelight, allowing for different stories a chance to be adapted. Instead the film chooses familiarity to guide us through the story, and comes across as trying to cram as many recognisable villains into the story as possible, without allowing each one to establish their own motive in the story.
The majority of these changes ultimately fall flat, with said changes not adding much to the overall piece. The film tries to expand on Bruce’s inner conflict of isolation, by seeking a relationship with Catwoman (voiced by Jennifer Morrison) going so far as to reveal his secret identity to her. Unfortunately, this conflict doesn’t translate well since for the most part everyone in the audience sees Batman as dark, foreboding and set on defeating Gotham’s underworld. This is one of the few times where we see him want something more in his life. Their relationship is shown through a montage of the pair taking part in activities as a couple, but this comes at an awkward time in the film and brings the plot to an abrupt halt since the person seeking to kill Batman’s nearest and dearest is still on the loose.
Another strange aspect was the identity of Hush from Bruce’s childhood friend Thomas Elliot (voiced by Maury Sterling) to the Riddler (voiced by Geoffrey Arend), this is clearly an attempt on the creatives part to keep the audience guessing if they are already familiar with the comic. But in the end is hard to accept that one of Batman’s least threatening villains is suddenly tough enough and smart enough to manipulate all his other villains to get what he wants.
The comic succeeds in making this believable by limiting his role to purely the mastermind rather than making him intimidating. I commend the attempt of original storytelling, but the choices made were not necessarily the ones worth pursuing.
Where the film does succeed is in capturing all the iconic panels from the comic, catching Batman and Catwoman’s kiss on the rooftops to Poison Ivy draping herself off Superman when she has him under her control. The attention to detail from the animation team is clearly at its highest in these moments, however one detail that will catch you off guard is how without their costumes there is virtually no design difference between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson facially.
Overall the film is entertaining for those who are out to find a film that shows Batman at his peak, making his way through all his most famous foes with ease and seeing him interact with most if not all of those in his corner.
Currently DC seem to be having more luck in their animation department rather than their live actions. While this animated film might not have mainstream appeal, it will not doubt entertain fans of the comics, prior DC animated fans and younger audiences. For this I rate the Caped Crusaders latest outing 3.5 out of 5.