Bruce Wayne (Jason O’Mara) is at a party where he meets up with Selina Kyle – aka Catwoman (Jennifer Morrison) – and his old high school friend, now world-renown surgeon, Thomas Elliot (Maury Sterling). Their reunion is interrupted when news that villain Bane (Adam Gifford) has kidnapped a child comes through his earpiece compliments of Alfred (James Garrett). Batman defeats the super-strong rogue to save the child, but the ransom money is stolen by Catwoman. Batman chases her through the city but is severely injured by a mysterious new villain who’ll later be known as Hush (Geoffrey Arend).
After recovering from a life-saving surgery from Thomas Elliot, Bruce once again suits up as Batman to question Bane. This leads to Poison Ivy (Peyton List) and a plot that involves controlling Superman (Jerry O’Connell). This leads to a Batman v Superman-style fight. Batman survives the encounter and quickly bonds with Catwoman, teaming up for some time… until Hush puts his plans for the Caped Crusader into high gear and the Bat Family finds itself dealing with Scarecrow, Joker, Harley Quinn, The Riddler, Clayface, and just about every member of Batman’s infamous Rogues gallery.
During the barrage from all sides, Batman learns that Hush may be his most dangerous foe yet for a very simple reason: he knows Batman is Bruce Wayne.
Batman: Hush is the latest in Warner Bros’ stream of freshly animated adaptations. written by Ernie Altbacker (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, Justice League Dark) based on the popular story line by comic book royalty Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee, and directed by first-time director Justin Copeland who up until now has been a Storyboard Artist and Storyboard Supervisor for DC Animation for the last few years (and Marvel animated television before that).
During the 81-minute runtime of the film, I found myself torn. There is good, bad, and confusing here, sometimes in unequal measures.
The animation and character design are stunning. The action is awesome. The dialogue works well and often has some witty remarks and fanboy Easter eggs scattered throughout. And the story, for the most part, is a fantastic representation of the comic book story line it’s based on. In fact, it’s probably one of the best comic-to-screen adaptations that Warner Bros. Animation has ever produced.
The bad was the voice-acting. This is usually where Warner movies excel, but with the exception of Jennifer Morrison’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman (amazing) and Jerry O’Connell’s Clark Kent/Superman (also pretty good as he’s been in all the recent films), the voice work all around was just terrible and missed all the marks. Bane sounded drunk instead of ‘roid raging. The Joker (Jason Spisak) sounded like a bizarre mix of Mark Hamill (Batman: The Animated Series) and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Batman). No matter how much I tried, I just can’t get on board with Jason O’Mara’s Batman.
So what was confusing? Obviously, there had to be some minor changes to the story. Warner and DC clearly needed this to fit within their new batch of animated movies, so there were some tweaks here and there to a) modernize the story a little and b) have nods to previous animated films. Those are all changes I’m fine with. They make sense. The confusion comes from a MAJOR story change made that I obviously can’t say here as it would spoil everything.
But this Major Story Change… I’ve been pondering it and playing it over in my head on repeat… and I can’t for the life of me figure out why they made that change. It’s something fans of the original story will be scratching their heads at for sure. I just don’t get it. And I can’t even talk to you all about it!
Overall, Batman: Hush is an enjoyable thrill ride with (mostly) bargain basement voice talent and a major story departure from the comics that inspired it. For those who’ve enjoyed the recent glut of new DC/Warner Bros’ animated films, it’s definitely worth watching, if only to keep pace with everything they’ve been producing. However, even the most devout Bat-purists may be left wondering why this wasn’t adapted into one of their animated series instead.