REVIEW: ‘Batman: Hush’ Is Poor Adaptation Of A Beloved Graphic Novel

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Batman: Hush, directed by Justin Copeland, is the newest film in WB Animation’s series of animated movies following The Death of Superman and the Reign of the Supermen. The film loosely adapts the graphic novel of the same name, by Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair. Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb with Ernie Altbacker wrote the film.

The film opens with Bruce Wayne (Jason O’Mara) enjoying a gala before running into Selina Kyle (Jennifer Morrison), who hasn’t participated any illegal activity for almost 16 months now, and Tommy Elliot (Maury Sterling), a world-renowned doctor and childhood friend of Bruce Wayne. But before Bruce can really hit it off with Selina, Alfred informs him that Bane (Adam Gifford) is abducting a child.

As Batman takes him down, he notices not everything about the usually put together villain is as it seems. Bane desperately swings at Batman going on and on about needing the money. Needless to say, he loses ground against the Bat quickly, as the new venom pumping through his veins clouds his judgment and intelligence.

After defeating him, Lady Shiva (Sachie Alessio) reveals herself to Batman and tells him that an unknown intruder has exploited a Lazerus Pit. But before Batman can finish with her, him and Commissioner Gordon notice Catwoman has stolen the ransom money Bane demanded after kidnapping the boy. A chase across the skyline ensues as Batman attempts to take the money back from Catwoman. But, before he can reach her, Batman’s line is cut by a hidden figure. A man wrapped in bandages looks out on the Dark Knight, ominously whispering, “Hush Batman, hush.”

Following the devastating fall and brain surgery, curtesy of Tommy Elliot, Batman, now with the help of Catwoman, must unravel the clues around them and determine just how all these pieces fit into one puzzle. Exactly how much of that fateful night was connected? And who is Hush (Geoffrey Arend)?

The idea of Bruce Wayne sneaking out of a party to slip into the Batmobile and engage in some good ole fisticuffs is completely believable. Batman defeating an entire room of goons, slipping in and out of the shadows to avoid detection, is absolutely believable. The idea that Batman can parkour across the city with relative ease and grace is also very believable. What is not believable, is the idea that Bruce Wayne would walk around a gala with a Bluetooth headset on, touching it constantly as if he is in Get Smart.

Outside of unfashionable choices, thanks to poor writing, Bruce doesn’t act like the world’s greatest detective. His investigation with Catwoman into Poison Ivy’s (Peyton List) involvement with Bane, as well as who is pulling the bigger strings in the deal, is muddled. The script doesn’t do a great job of connecting clues or telling the audience exactly how Batman reaches his conclusions. When Hush is revealed, Batman doesn’t know much more than the audience. He is never one step ahead but it is also not believable he should be this far behind. There is little evidence up until Hush spills all his secrets in a drawn-out supervillain monologue as to who he is. Unfortunately, Bruce Wayne isn’t the only one who seems out of character.

Catwoman plays a much larger role in the film than in the original graphic novel, taking on quite a few supplementary characters’ roles. In theory, this should be a good thing as it can act as a way to cut down on unnecessary exposition – something the book has a lot of – particularly into lesser-known characters and characters who haven’t played a role in this universe. However, the voice acting from Morrison feels forced and brings an unnecessary gruffness to Catwoman’s vocals.

Catwoman has some incredible actresses, both on-screen and in the VO booth, bringing the character to life. So to be frank, there is no reason one of those other women could not have been called to take on this movie. Morrison cannot capture the alluring and sexy nature of Selina’s voice. She doesn’t roll her “Rs” like a cat purring, instead, she sounds monotone and angry. Because of this, all of Catwoman’s wittier dialogue just falls flat. Morrison has no chemistry with O’Mara’s Batman, whose voice acting, I overall like.

Because of this lack of chemistry, one of the most beautiful panels in the Batman book suddenly feels lackluster, forced, and generic. Batman: Hush is a beloved graphic novel and one of my favorite Batman stories to date. And the problem with coming into this movie with the graphic novel in mind is realizing just how much it falls short of visually capturing Jim Lee’s incredible artwork and Alex Sinclair’s colors. The opening score was more imaginative than the animation itself and left something to be desired.

Batman: Hush doesn’t capture the underlining blues of the book’s color palette or the raw emotional energy Lee is somehow able to impart with his art. I am in no way asking this movie to be an exact copy of the graphic novel, but the fact it does little to reinvent itself and instead acts as a shadow of what it is based on is just disheartening.

Outside of Catwoman and Bruce feeling out of character, Barbara Gordon (Peyton List) feels like a shell. Her first fight with Catwoman, following Bruce’s fall, is clumsy and instead of focusing on the fact Bruce just fell to his death, she takes on Selina, wasting precious moments that Bruce probably needs considering his brain is swelling. Barbara is a genius, so to see her make such careless mistakes and be easily distracted by her own biases against Catwoman is unsettling. Later, once getting Bruce to the Batcave, she asks in disbelief, “Batman can go to the hospital?” as if forgetting he is also Bruce Wayne and they can easily concoct a backstory; leaving Babara’s character to feel like a throwaway.

The only characters that work well are in the background of the narrative. Nightwing (Sean Maher) feels like Nightwing as he throws quips out while taking down bad guys. And the best part of the entire movie, featuring the only jokes that land, is Damian Wayne (Stuart Allan) telling off his father in the most Damian Wayne fashion.

Overall, bad voice acting and dialogue leaves a lot to be desired, especially from a film that seeks to introduce one of Batman’s most interesting villains. The jokes also fall short, the pacing is atrocious, and the chemistry between any of the characters is nonexistent. None of the characters’ motivations have much meaning since none of Batman’s history can really be explored given that the movie has to fit into the already created DC Animated Universe.

The twist at the end of the movie, which differs from the graphic novel is poorly executed and comes out of nowhere. My recommendation is to read the original graphic novel or check out The Dark Knight Returns, also currently streaming on The DC Universe, which is a far superior adaptation of a famed Batman story.

Batman: Hush is now streaming on the DC Universe.

Batman: Hush
  • 4/10
    Batman: Hush - 4/10
4/10

TL;DR

The twist at the end of the movie, which differs from the graphic novel is poorly executed and comes out of nowhere. My recommendation is to read the original graphic novel or check out The Dark Knight Returns, also currently streaming on The DC Universe, which is a far superior adaptation of a famed Batman story.

1 Comment on “REVIEW: ‘Batman: Hush’ Is Poor Adaptation Of A Beloved Graphic Novel”

Comments are closed.