I’ve paid for and watched three DC animated movies in the last six months. These have been movie versions of some of my favorite comic book stories. While Superman: Red Son(my favorite Batman costume design and favorite Superman, period.) and Gotham by Gaslight didn’t quite impress me, I really enjoyed Batman: Hush. Batman: Hush is a great Batman story, and I think it works well as a movie.
Hush is the story of a mysterious killer who comes to Gotham hunting for Batman. He sets up elaborate twists and turns and sends Batman on an emotional ride before facing off against him. The story is exciting; lots of Batman characters make appearances, and it’s a new story and villain. The art is beautiful and iconic, thanks to the legendary Jim Lee. It sets a standard for a modern Batman, his villains, and his world.
I was initially afraid the Hush movie wouldn’t stand out as much because of the lack of Lee’s art, but I was wrong. I think the art, while not iconic, is familiar yet fresh. I quickly got used to it, and it never distracted from my enjoyment of the story. There are a few unique character designs that I am always happy to see in the Batman world. I definitely enjoyed seeing Batman change into the traditional costume worn in the Hush comic. For some reason, the black and gray, which is my preference, doesn’t quite fit in the lush, brightly colored world of Hush.
What I liked the most about the movie is how well it represents the Hush comic. Be warned Batfans: the story is not the same as the comic book, but it is close. There are vital moments and story elements that are perfectly reproduced in the movie, which is satisfying to see. I liked that I felt I was watching Hush, and could just sit back and enjoy the action and characters and didn’t have to turn a page or come back and finish it later. At the same time, though, is something lost from a mystery/detective story when you get it all in one sitting?
I thought the movie moved at a perfect pace. It stayed exciting with constant action or costumed characters making appearances. It also keeps you guessing with who did what and what’s going to happen next. I think the romantic aspect of the story is handled well. We get to experience Batman in a relationship and happy without taking away from everything else we love about Batman. We also get to feel some heavy emotions and pain but don’t linger on it long enough to have a negative impact.
Another thing I admire that is also unique to this movie is the portrayal of Catwoman. I’ve never really been a fan of Catwoman. I’ve never thought twice about her as a Batman villain, girlfriend, or partner until this movie. She actually has a personality in the film. She feels a little more like a real character than a one-sided supervillain or eye candy. I think writing her this way took a little extra work and love for her and Batman in general. I’ve never seen Batman and Catwoman work so well together. It feels natural, and rather than distract from my enjoyment of everything Batman, it added to it.
There are a few things I didn’t like or didn’t add to the movie. The movie is rated PG-13, which is for a combination of sexiness, language, and blood. Nothing was too over the top, although a Joker beatdown does get incredibly close. Out of all of it, the language is the only thing that really stands out enough to distract from the movie. When I’m reading a Batman comic, I don’t expect to see sh#@ and @#%hole on the page, therefore I don’t expect to see it when I’m watching a Batman cartoon. I don’t think it’s necessary, and in most of the cases in the movie, not funny. It also loses a little bit of it’s meaning when it’s said repeatedly. I don’t feel it added to the adultness of the film but instead targeted kids or teens looking to giggle at cursing.
Another thing I didn’t enjoy was that we don’t get to see much of Tommy Elliot. In the comic, we get to know a little more about him and his past with Bruce Wayne. He is an essential character in the story, and also has no background before Hush. Therefore we don’t know anything about him, and we don’t really learn much in his few appearances in the movie. I understand it’s part of the change to make the film work the way it does, but it felt like a weak point.
Another minor issue I had was Alfred’s voice. He sounds sick and old. This is either the actor’s interpretation, or he actually sounds like that, but it was a little distracting. I enjoyed Alfred in the movie, and his lines were great, but he sounded off. Every time he talked, I felt terrible and wanted to scold Bruce for making a sick, older gentleman work for him like that. It may not bother everyone, but in a Batman movie I really enjoyed, it stood out.
At the end of the movie, I was happy but felt like I had missed out on something. Unfortunately, to make the film fit well in its 1 hour and 20 minutes length, the villain is changed. Although we get a Hush, it’s not a unique new character. The story works the way it plays out, but it feels a little off to have “high on the Lazarus pit” Riddler as the mastermind behind it all. It just feels a little cheaper. Hush isn’t a notorious Batman villain, but rather a juiced-up Batman “C-lister” as it’s put in the movie. While I applauded the uniqueness and enjoyed the surprise when it was all over, I wanted to see how things would have played out with the real Hush as they did in the comics. Of course, that’s probably just me wanting more Batman, when I should be happy I got to see a Hush movie at all.
I highly recommend Batman: Hush to Batman and superhero movie fans. It’s a fun story with lots of action and characters. It’s well made, and it takes up less than an hour and a half of your night(because you have to watch Batman at night). I don’t think any casual viewer would find many issues with the movie either, as it’s pretty well rounded. However, some may be slightly turned off by some of the language and innuendo. I give Batman: Hush 4 and a half out of 5 Batarangs.