(This movie came out a year ago, and I just realized that although I made notes, I never actually posted my writeup. The studio provided a review copy.)
Batman: Hush didn’t interest me at first, but it became the first of the original DCU animated movies in a long time that didn’t feel like an obligation to watch, something to grind through. That was due to two reasons: the prominent role for Catwoman (although you couldn’t tell that from the cover) and the many characters that appear here, including Nightwing, Batgirl, Bane, Poison Ivy, Superman, Lois Lane, and Harley Quinn (with hyenas named Larry, Moe, and Shemp).
I found it easy to lose track of what was going on, but every time I did, a new character or plot twist appeared, so that was fun and distracting. Things move really quickly, as they have a lot of content to cover in an hour twenty minutes. Also, I never read the comic, so I didn’t know what was going to happen, which helped. (It turns out that the ending has been significantly changed, so it didn’t matter anyway.) Batman: Hush is based on the graphic novel by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee.
Hush is a new super-villain, a badass who’s controlling all the others. He manages to kidnap Joker and control Poison Ivy, which means he feels like a writer wish-fulfillment. “My bad guy will be more powerful than all the others!” Here’s a short trailer for the comic:
(What I got from that was: there’s a lot of blue in this book.)
The voice cast uses many of the DCAU regulars: Jason O’Mara as Batman, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane, Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, Sean Maher as Nightwing, Stuart Allan as Damian Wayne, and James Garrett as Alfred. We didn’t care much for him — he didn’t sound British or snarky enough — but in these kinds of animated movies, most of the voices are pretty flat and generic. Jennifer Morrison played Selina Kyle, and she did a great job. (Trivia: turns out there are two actresses named Peyton List — one’s a former model, one a singer — and one plays Poison Ivy (the same one who played her in Gotham), and the other Batgirl.)
Key moments that stood out to me:
- Bane kidnaps a kid, who then calls him an asshole
- Poison Ivy kisses Catwoman, who later calls her “crazy plant bitch“
- Poison Ivy mind-controls Superman and says the S-word (as do other characters — the movie is PG-13 for violence, action, suggestive material, and language)
- Damian chews out Bruce for going on a date with Selina, saying “if this trollop provides some carnal release, so be it”
- Clark and Lois in the newsroom, as she’s preparing to interview Bruce
- Nightwing remains a fave, as he often lightens things up
But the story I was there for was the development and ending of the relationship between Catwoman and Batman. Their pillow talk consists of remembering when she scarred him, which seems oddly right for them, if a bit fetishized. I didn’t expect them to end up together, but the reason they don’t seems overplayed in the superhero genre. Still, it’s better than the way it happened in the comics. (Which boiled down to, if Batman’s happy, he can’t do his job effectively, which is a damned depressing thought.) Here’s the trailer:
Batman: Hush is directed by Justin Copeland and written by Ernie Altbacker. They provide a commentary along with executive producer James Tucker. The three of them, along with psychologist Andrea Letamendi, then-publisher Dan Didio, and Jim Lee participate in the special feature “Love in Time of War”, a 17-minute discussion of the Batman/Catwoman relationship and the Catwoman character. As expected, they didn’t discuss the history of objectification, but you do get to see Didio panting after Julie Newmar.
Also new on this disc is “Sgt. Rock”, the first of the new DC Showcase shorts. It’s written by Louise Simonson & Walter Simonson and Tim Sheridan and directed by Bruce Timm. The title character (voiced by Karl Urban) ends up working with a version of the Creature Commandos.
There’s also a ten-minute sneak peek at Wonder Woman: Bloodlines promising “over-the-top superhero action” in a look at her early career. Her friend becomes a super villain, Silver Swan, and the movie wants to explore the nature of Wonder Woman’s family, both the Amazons and Julia and Vanessa Kapetelis.
Additional items are a preview of Batman: Assault on Arkham and the “Catwalk” episode of Batman: The Animated Series.