FILM REVIEW – Batman: Hush
Batman: Hush is the latest animated reiteration of an iconic story-line. The original by Jeph Loeb & Jim Lee was an instant classic after it’s release. Ever since the animated film was announced, I’ve been eagerly waiting to watch it.
First of all, I really enjoyed this film, it was full of action, emotion (suprisingly for Batman), and it really did live up to all of the hype that I had heard about it, however it did add a fair few tweaks and changes.
I guess a lot of you already know the story-line, but I don’t want to ruin it too much for those that do not. The story revolves around Batman trying to trace and track down the unknown identity of a new villain named Hush. He is hellbent on ruining Batman’s life, and viciously murdering those closest to him. For once, Batman has met his match, with Hush always being several steps ahead of him, utilising well-known DC villains AND heroes to carry out his dirty-work and lead Batman in the direction he had already planned.
The film featured its fair share of emotion and romance. The way that they captured the love-triangle relationship between Bruce Wayne, Batman and Catwoman was seriously impressive. It perfectly captured the dynamic between the couple. As you know I’m more of a Superman reader, but this film really gave you a more emotional take on Batman compared to what I’ve read and seen in the past, and that’s part of what I really liked about this film.
It did have many differences to the original, but it is a still a brilliant film, I suppose they had to keep you guessing! Batman: Hush utilises the majority of characters featured in the source material in almost identical fashion, with the exception of a few of key players whose story-arcs are drastically altered. There is a scene that was left out, which I was a little disappointed about – that scene is EPIC in every way and still hurts to this day. Not only does it change story-arcs, but it also switches up characters completely – I won’t give any more detail than that, but I feel that they dangled and hinted towards certain characters being the mysterious Hush based on those very switch-ups. For those that are familiar with the original, this is just an absolute tease!
Pace-wise I thought it was very quickly paced, it seemed like there was something constantly happening and it was always full of action. The original book is a lengthy one, so this was a very streamlined version of that. Personally, I feel that it could have potentially have been made into two parts – if they really wanted to include all of the original details, which were essentially cut. With that said, I still really enjoyed this interpretation of it, and the pace was just a minor detail. I guess the length of it as it is would make the film more palatable to viewers that aren’t familiar with the original book.
Animation & Artwork
The artwork in Batman: Hush certainly marries up to the art style featured in previous DC Animations, which I think is a great touch. It shows consistency throughout, and I find it helps create a universe and feel that they are all connected. You get attached to the character, their personalities and they way that they are portrayed and I think that’s really important.
The animation is incredible as well, there are many scenes that feel very cinematic. The film features some of the most intense and violent scenes I’ve ever seen in a DC Animated Movie, and that is mostly down to the animation. Many scenes feel very gritty and real, which really adds to the affect that it has on the viewer – me included. The fight choreography and combat is extremely hard hitting, and that is exactly what I expect from a Batman film, whether live-action or animation.
The art style isn’t too reminiscent of original series artist – Jim Lee, but it was a nice touch swapping out Batman’s established Animated Movie Universe suit in favor of the suit worn in the original comic book run, and that was a REALLY nice suit. However I feel that it captures a lot of Anime elements certainly in the characters facial expressions which I thoroughly enjoyed.
As well as this, I do feel that the creative team took inspiration from Batman V Superman in a particular scene, and for geeks like me who pick up on these things, that was a huge added bonus. It even included one of the films most famous lines, with a slight change – “If he wanted it, I’d be dead already”. I always love when creators pay tribute to other creators, it shows appreciation, and that they use real material for their inspiration – thank you Justin Copeland.
For me, a majority of the cast and their character portrayals were spot on. Jason O’Mara brings us a solid portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne, and even one with a few punchlines and cheesy fight insults – which is not a bad thing at all. I loved that, and it’s something we don’t always see from Batman in films. Hush was Jason’s NINTH time voicing Batman, and he clearly has nailed it.
For me, there were to characters that stole the show – Catwoman & Dick Grayson. Jennifer Morrison’s portrayal of Catwoman was purrr-fect (sorry, I had to). She absolutely nailed the feline side of the character, and brought so much sass and emotion to the film. I would love for Jennifer to continue voicing her. As for Dick Grayson – he brought 75% of the laughs. Sean Maher did a great job of bringing the arrogance and cockiness to the character and his portrayal.
There are some familiar voices in the film – Jerry O’Connell returns as The Man Of Steel, Rebecca Romijn returns as Lois Lane, and Rainn Wilson returns at Lex Luthor. I really liked that they did this, it suggests that all of this is happening in the same universe as The Death Of Superman/The Reign Of The Supermen. Do we now have our very own DC Animated Movie Universe? I think so.
There was only one character that I didn’t particularly think matched up – The Riddler, who was voiced by Geoffrey Arend. Now I won’t give anything away, but for the sequences we get to see The Riddler for who he really is, it kind of just fell flat for me. To me, The Riddler is full of energy, full of wit, and full of riddles, with a chaotic streak to him, and those are all things that this Riddler didn’t have. I guess the story of the film could have explained it, but it would have been nice to see a little bit of that in there.
Music & Sound Effects
The score of the film really brings out the tension, and this is how you really know what is at stake for Batman and those he holds dearest. The music was perfectly in time with the scenes of the film. The sound effects felt and sounded SO realistic, I felt every punch and blow that Batman took or received. It was so realistic to the point where I cringed on some parts because of how brutal and gritty it was, and that’s hard to do with an animated film.
Overall the film is a great watch. Director Justin Copeland successfully condensed a huge story-line into a re-imagined animation. I would suggest that familiar readers of the source material go into this film as if it were a completely original story. The creative team do a lot to make sure everyone gets a fulfilling experience whether they are comic book aficionados or simply a fan of the movies and that really pays off.
Batman: Hush is out NOW on digital download, and available to own on Monday 12th August in the UK. You can order your copy here if your from the UK, and here if you are based in the US.
Have you watched it and now want to pick up the original graphic novel? You can find that here (UK), or here (US).
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