I was recently having a conversation with someone about comic fandoms. To me, I feel like you have the fans solely interested in the mainstream appeal of Marvel and DC Comics. Then you have those who love the independent scene. They solely follow the growth of Image Comics, Archie Comics, Valiant, Aftershock – just to name a few. Then you have those who like a bit of both. Though, when it comes to the mainstream power of Marvel and DC, if often feels like you have to be one way or another. Each company has its good graces, as well as it’s sins. Marvel has clearly figured out the box office. Currently celebrating the success of Avengers: Endgame by becoming the highest grossing film of all time. While on the other hand, DC has its’ own universe – it’s just animated. Since 2007’s Superman: Doomsday, DC has been building its’ audience through animated adaptions of some of their most popular storylines. As well as its’ original stories.
Last summer at San Diego Comic Con, DC announced their slate for this year. The one announcement that got everyone’s attention was the adaption of the 2002 storyline entitled Hush. Batman: Hush pits the caped crusader against the some of his fiercest foes, all working for the new villain in town: the mysterious Hush. All while trying to kindle a blossoming relationship with Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman. For its’ 81 minute runtime, viewers are treated to multiple villains from Batman’s rogue gallery. The likes of which include Bane, Lady Shiva, Poison Ivy, Superman (to an extent), Harley Quinn, The Joker, The Riddler and even Clayface. The introduction, however brief it may seem for each, of these villains can seem like a daunting task. Even leaving viewers to feel as though the movie is just too busy to make a cohesive storyline. Though, the filmmakers behind Hush, create a smooth narrative. Every antagonist is used eloquently to push the storyline further. Even the finale of the film, containing the twist, is excellently executed.
Honestly, the big twist of the film, is going to be enough to divide its’ viewership. Hush will ultimately go down as the Iron Man 3 of DC’s animated roster. Promising a fan favorite villain, but with a heavy twist and major departure from the source material. In forgoing that twist of the source material, you sacrifice your emotional backbone that gave its comic counterpart the legacy it carries today. There is another character that plays into the twist. Had said character been better utilized, the twist could have been a little more effective. The individual just kind of exists with no real purpose other than fanfare. Which sadly, it seems like the same could be true for Sean Maher’s Nightwing and Stuart Allan’s Damian Wayne. The former has a bigger part within the narrative but neither are ever really used purposefully.
Despite the controversy of some of their films taking creative liberties from the source material. Here’s looking at you, The Killing Joke and Gotham by Gaslight. DC has constantly always delivered crisp, breathtaking animation. Hush continues in that tradition. Presenting a blend of dark colors against deep animation – Hush is virtually stunning and glowing with every frame in its’ 81 minute duration. Presenting itself with an aura of animation that draws you and never lets go. Most people, when they think of Batman, primarily can’t help but to think of the serious and darker nature of the character. Hush has some seriously comical moments. Breaking the mold of what we’ve come to expect from a Batman movie, either live action or animation, this movie dares to take the character to new arenas.
Overall, Batman: Hush, is a well-balanced film fueled by beautiful animation, excellent writing and exquisite storytelling. The film creates a smooth narrative that will intrigue viewers, warm their hearts and make them laugh out loud. Hush is capitalized by a romance subplot brilliantly uniting Batman and Catwoman – adding a surprise humanizing factor to Bruce Wayne that few in DC’s animated canon have done thus far. Though, the pointless additions of a certain character, Nightwing and Damian Wayne can make the movie feel crowded at times. That is truly saying something with the number of villains in the movie. The big twist within the film’s finale will definitely leave fans divided. Despite the weaknesses of Hush – its’ still a fun film equipped with humor, beautiful visuals and excellent action sequences.
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