Gotham has a new villain in town - a mysterious, masked man called Hush - who, through threats, blackmail, mind control, and other means, has managed to take control of virtually all the major criminals in the city. A number of familiar villains, from Bane to Poison Ivy to Harley and the Joker, and others, all commit seemingly random crimes. Except when the Caped Crusader shows up to stop them, something is off. It seems all of them are really pawns in a deeper, more intricate game. The game master is Hush—and the target is Batman.
Without giving away any spoilers, I thought I knew where this story was going from pretty early on until near the end, when it took a turn completely out of left field. I suppose it’s a good thing that the movie managed to defy my expectations and avoid predictability. Except that, after spending the whole film building up a cat-and-mouse game between Hush and Batman, the resolution didn’t feel at all satisfying.
On the other hand, you could argue that Hush and his villainous exploits aren’t really the main point of the film. Who he is and what he wants are almost incidental—a backdrop for the real story: the relationship between Batman and Catwoman.
In the continuity of this film, Selina Kyle hasn’t been Catwoman for years—until she’s roped into Hush’s criminal conspiracy against her will. Furious about being manipulated, Catwoman teams up with Batman to stop Hush once and for all. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne decides to start dating Selina Kyle.
The interplay of their two personalities, both in and out of costume, is the main focus of the film. Can a former villain help a hero fight crime? Could having someone to care about in his life help Batman be more human, or will it merely make him more vulnerable? Are their worldviews too opposite to ever work out together, or are their personalities just different enough to keep each other in check? If Catwoman kisses Batman while Selina Kyle is dating Bruce Wayne, does that count as cheating? These are the questions that drive the film and the issues that really make it worthwhile.
There’s also a great voice cast, which includes a number of familiar names, including Jason O’Mara as Batman, Jennifer Morrison as Catwoman, Sean Maher as Nightwing, Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, and Vanessa Williams as Amanda Waller.
The Blu-ray/4K Ultra-HD has some great special features. There are some featurettes, audio commentary, and sneak previews of upcoming DC Universe Animated projects (which look fantastic, by the way). It also includes an animated short called Sgt. Rock and, the crown jewel, a full episode of Batman: The Animated Series from the mid-'90s. I’m pretty excited about that, to be honest.
The film is based on the graphic novel of the same name. I haven’t read it, so I can’t say how the two compare; however, standing on its own, Batman: Hush is an interesting film and worth watching.
Creative Team: Justin Copeland (director), Ernie Altbacker (screenwriter), Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee (graphic novel)
Production Companies: Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment
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