When Warner Bros. Home Entertainment began creating animated movies based on classic comic stories, it was only a matter of time before "Batman: Hush" made the cut.
The epic 2002-03 story by Jeph Loeb, with iconic art by Jim Lee, had it all - mystery, mayhem and even romance. And though the animated movie version is not nearly as epic, it's still pretty entertaining and beautifully reinforces what makes Batman such a special character.
The action of "Batman: Hush" begins when Batman (Jason O'Mara) rescues a kidnapped boy and is disappointed to see Catwoman (Jennifer Morrison) steal the ransom money, as he thought Selina Kyle was reformed. But he soon discovers there is much more to the story, including a mysterious new villain who calls himself Hush. Things get more complicated when Hush begins involving most of Batman's Rogues Gallery and even Superman (Jerry O'Connell) to help him in his plan to destroy Batman. And when Batman deduces Hush knows he is Bruce Wayne, he realizes he must protect everyone close to him - especially Selina.
The original "Hush" story spanned 12 months, so changes had to be made to create an 82-minute movie. The change making the Batman-Catwoman romance the central story is a good call, but unfortunately, it comes at the expense of the mystery surrounding the identity of Hush. So when that answer is finally revealed, it comes out of nowhere with no clues leading up to the revelation. More development of that story would've been possible if the movie hadn't spent so much of its first half consumed with Superman fighting Batman, which isn't nearly as juicy as it should have been. Still, the ending, though rushed, is solid and makes watching the first 70 minutes totally worth it. And even if you've read the original comics, I wouldn't be so sure you know how it ends.
Of course, no animated movie can succeed without a good voice cast, and "Hush" has one for the most part. O'Mara, though no Kevin Conroy, has become a solid Batman/Bruce Wayne. Sadly, it's the villains who don't quite measure up, especially Jason Spisak (The Joker) and Hynden Walch (Harley Quinn), who simply offer weak imitations of Mark Hamill and Arleen Sorkin playing those roles. Rainn Wilson is outstanding as Lex Luthor, although his appearance is somewhat unnecessary. But it's the outstanding Morrison who completely makes the movie as she perfectly plays both Selina's sultriness and vulnerability.
If you're looking for a perfect re-telling of the "Hush" comic story, you're going to be disappointed. Once you realize that's just not possible in this format, you can enjoy what you do have, which is a pretty good Batman story that reminds us just why we've loved the Dark Knight so much these past 80 years.
"Batman: Hush" is rated PG-13 and features animated violence, sexual situations and some strong language. It's now available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-Ray Combo Pack, the DC Universe streaming service and digital outlets including iTunes and Amazon Prime Video.
Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for HD Media. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.