Starring: Jason O’Mara, Jennifer Morrison, Geoffrey Arend, James Garrett, Peyton List, Jerry O’Connell, Sean Maher, Rebecca Romijn
Written By: Ernie Altbacker, Jim Lee (Comics)
Directed By: Justin Copeland
Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
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A new mysterious threat has entered the Dark Knight’s rogue’s gallery and is using unlikely friends and enemies against him in a plot that threatens to shake up both of his personas.
“Batman: Hush” is based off of the Jim Lee/Jeph Loeb graphic novel of the same name and is released shortly after the seminal book’s 15th anniversary. I have to admit that “Batman: Hush” is one of the few Batman stories from the past 20 years that I did not read before watching the animated movie. I’ve heard mixed things about it over the years and DC has done such a great job with the shared universe animated movies that I held off for the movie version first.
In “Batman: Hush”, pieces from Batman’s past start coming back to haunt him. Former enemy turned ally Catwoman is back in the burglary game while enemies like Bane begin acting out of character. With news that someone has desecrated a Lazarus Pit straight from the mouth of Lady Shiva herself, Batman begins following the clues which eventually lead him to a confrontation with Catwoman and a deadly sniper who puts Batman out of commission. While on the mend Bruce Wayne reconciles with an old childhood friend Thomas Elliot, who is now a renowned brain surgeon. Batman, not one to follow doctor’s orders of rest and relaxation, gets back on the case and eventually discovers that Poison Ivy is behind the unorthodox behavior of Catwoman and Bane. With the help of Catwoman, Batman engages Poison Ivy in her base in Metropolis in hopes of discovering the true identity of the man known as Hush. Much to their dismay, Poison Ivy has a secret weapon in her employ…the Man of Steel himself. He is under Ivy’s control via Kryptonite lipstick and some seductive make out sessions.
Barely escaping Superman’s wrath, Batman and Catwoman formulate a plan to bring the Man of Steel back to his proper senses. The vigilante duo use Lois Lane as bait in order to shock Superman out of Poison Ivy’s mind control pheromones. With Batman nearly defeated, Catwoman decides that shoving Lois off of the rooftop of the Daily Planet should do the trick…which it does. One of the most humorous lines comes from Batman who dresses down Catwoman after the battle when he simply states that throwing Lois from the roof was not part of the plan, in which she replies that “it worked, didn’t it?”.
With the help of Superman, Batman and company easily defeat Poison Ivy but aren’t much closer to discovering the identity of Hush. Superman, who is not overjoyed by the whole situation one bit including the rough interrogation of Ivy, tells the pair to take their business outside of his city.
Throughout the movie, the story begins to focus heavily on the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. With each having mutual feelings for one another, but Batman having knowledge of Catwoman’s secret identity of Selena Kyle, he begins to ponder something he would have never considered before…revealing his secret identity to her. With his feelings for Selina outweighing the consequences of revealing his true identity to her and those feelings coming to a head after an encounter with Hush who reveals that he also knows the Caped Crusader’s secret identity, kills his friend Thomas Elliot while framing the Joker for it and informing the Dark Knight that he plans to ruin his life and take away the one he loves most, Batman unmasks in front of Selina in a very tense and riveting scene. The next chapter of the story is a very interesting one as it shows the duo fighting side-by-side with tactical precision and unrelenting fury. Although the pair is similar in many ways, Catwoman begins to see firsthand that the Batman lives by a strict code and it may not be something that she can abide by.
With his good friend Thomas Elliot dead, Batman and Commissioner Gordon investigate his office and discover a major clue regarding someone by the name of Arthur Wayne who was treated for an inoperable brain tumor. Nightwing and Catwoman are on patrol in the Gotham Cemetery when they are attacked by the Scarecrow. Nightwing is injured but Catwoman is captured by Hush who is always one step ahead of the Bat Family.
Deducting who the true identity of Arthur Wayne is, Batman and Gordon head to Arkham Asylum to interrogate the Riddler. The Riddler informs them that it is he indeed Hush and it was he who used the Lazarus Pit to cure his brain tumor and that with the help of the Lazarus Pit, he gained insight as to who the Batman was behind the mask. He has taken it upon himself to up his reputation as the one who finally got ‘em and took the Bat out once and for all. The two are attacked when it is revealed that the Riddler is actually being mimicked by Clayface who knocks them around Arkham for a bit before being eventually defeated by Batman and his gadgets. Using a remote detonator that he disarmed, Batman deducts the Riddler’s location and takes off to end this once and for all.
With Catwoman out of commission and Hush still feeling the effects of the Lazarus Pit, Batman seems to be in an uphill battle for his life as Hush outwits and outmaneuvers Batman at every turn. But don’t count out the world’s greatest detective just yet. Knowing how the Lazarus Pit works, Batman deducts that Hush is getting weaker and the effects of the Pit are beginning to wear off. Batman uses this to his advantage and gets the upper hand over Hush. The two battle back and forth for some time. Catwoman manages to free herself from a gigantic metal scrapper and arrives in time to save Batman from a killing blow from Hush and the two once again find themselves fighting as one. Outwitting Hush with cutting taunts and matter-of-fact statements, Hush finds himself enraged and Batman uses this to his advantage. Hush is launched over the scaffolding high above molten steel but Batman grabs him with the grappling gun. Asking for Catwoman’s help to pull Hush up, she ponders the thought for a moment and runs up and cuts the line, sending Hush to his untimely end.
It is at this moment that Batman realizes that he and Catwoman aren’t meant to be. His moral code is strict and rigid as he states that if it’s not, then he is no better than the criminals that he fights against. The two embrace one final time as they realize that their relationship isn’t meant to be….yet. Catwoman disappears as the police arrive on scene.
Reading up on the original “Batman: Hush” story, there were a lot more supporting characters involved in the comic version as well as a lot of plot twists that were completely glossed over in the animated version. While this works to push the story forward and trim the screenplay time down, things like the development of Thomas Elliot and his turn against Bruce Wayne as well as the reintroduction of Jason Todd after his untimely demise nearly 20 years before are questionable remissions. Maybe this was done so that the Red Hood can get a proper introduction in the DC Animated Universe but if not, this was a major missed opportunity.
One of the most important things that I gathered from “Batman: Hush” is that this was the modern turning point for Batman and Catwoman’s romance. In the comics, I was always curious as to where their modern relationship took roots since I wasn’t reading the Batman comics in the early 2000s. The story in the animated movie seems to sync up with what was done in the comics and we are left with a Batman that is tired of being alone. He has the Bat Family on his side, has come to a mutual understanding with his son Damien and has finally grown out of the solo brooding creature of the night persona…to a point…and it’s only fitting that the only person that can tame the Bat is the Cat.
While things didn’t work out at the end of this movie, the possibility for growth is definitely there. Batman has been missing something like this for most of his comic book career and the layer of emotional depth can only get better from here for the animated universe version. While another Batman animated movie isn’t slated for release anytime soon, there will be time for the wounds to heal and the relationship to fester…unless Catwoman was actually Clayface the whole time, then things might be even more interesting!!!
Thank you, Warner Bros. for sending along the free review copy of this movie!
• Batman: Love In Time Of War
• A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Film “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines”
• Audio Commentary with Filmmakers
• DC Showcase Short – Sgt. Rock
• From the DC Comics Vault – Bonus Cartoon and More
DTS-HD Master Audio English 5.1 Dolby Digital
English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles
4K UHD Feature: 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 1.78:1
Blu-ray Feature: 1080p High Definition 16×9 1.78:1
Bottom Line: “Batman: Hush” reintroduces an old character as a new one but the main focal point of the movie is the tumultuous roller coaster of a relationship between former enemies turned lovers in Batman and Catwoman. There are lots of cameos to move along the plot but the Bat and the Cat take center stage in the greatest trial of their lives. This adaptation isn’t true to the comics but that keeps the viewer on their toes and guessing at every twist and turn.
Running Time: 82 Mins