Monday, September 9, 2019

Batman: Hush

Oh my God. I have never had so much conflicted thoughts on a single movie.

This is the hardest review I have ever had to write. Because I simultaneously love and yet take serious issue with this movie. Now let me be more clear, the comic book Hush is great, you always hear how Batman is the World's Greatest Detective but you never see him do much detective work outside of the weekly comic book issues and The Animated Series, and yet Hush is so much the detective story with a very involved and crafted mystery that still holds up as a stand alone story, very much like The Killing Joke or The Dark Knight Returns. Now I knew with a story like Hush the adaptation was going to streamline a lot, because the book handles more characters and previous plot lines in the comics while still trying to tell a unique story, but the movie didn't do such a good job with it. As an adaptation of the book, it's subpar at best. The focus is hardly on the mystery, the assortment of characters are diminished to bit parts when it should be this huge almost chess game between Batman and a new unknown foe, kinda like a Sherlock and Moriarty story, they cut out stuff that didn't really need to be cut out and then subsequently put a lot of stuff that wasn't in the book at all into the front and center. So we go from a story where Batman has been running into his various rogues gallery but they seem to be going for things that are outside their MO, and several attempts on Batman's life has led him to piece together that a new villain has been closely working and even improving his villain's in terms of tactics and crimes, while a budding romance with Selina Kyle has been occuring, so Bruce has to unmask this mystery villain before great harm comes to Selina or any of his a story about Bruce and Selina forming a strong relationship. That's it. That is literally the focus of the entire movie, the whole mystery aspect which was, you know, the main and major focal point of the entire book has been pushed into the background with hardly any time spent on it. Why?? You called it Batman Hush.....and yet you failed to bring in the villain Hush. Do you see my problem here? It fails almost spectacularly at adapting one of the best modern Batman stories because it practically feels like it's refusing to tell the story. And yet I honestly really enjoy and kinda loved the movie. Now you may be asking, "Why you being all schizo Dude? Did you lose your coin and the two personalities in your head are clashing?" Nooo, because if I lost my coin people would be dying. But my point is, this movie has so much good stuff in it. The animation is really, really good! The characters involved are done perfectly, besides Hush obviously, the writing is so spot on for these characters it's like a dream, I'm serious. This is some of the best character writing for these Batman characters I have ever seen, they can be funny and serious, they can throw snarky comments at each other, they feel like their comic book characters because their personalities are so fun and wonderful. The voice acting is top notch, but it does break my heart that Kevin Conroy couldn't do this story because he always said he wanted to do Hush and I know he would give some of his best acting in that story but alas our dear Dark Knight was not chosen. And by the by, I hated that this was not a standalone movie, it's actually a part of the animated DC universe with movies like Throne Of Atlantis, Justice League Dark, etc. so that's why we have Jason O' Mara and this uniform art direction style seen in all those other movies, instead of Kevin Conroy and a more unique art style fitted to each adaptation. But I can almost entirely forgive that because of Jennifer Morrison who plays Catwoman. Oh sweet mother of joy, she is phenomenal! I know this is blasphemy but she is better than Grey Griffin (AKA the artist formely known as Grey DeLisle), I mean she is pitch perfect giving a lot of sass but also a lot of heart. And to be perfectly honest, I absolutely adore the romance between Bruce and Selina, I mean it is done so damn well and I love every last second of it. The writers fully understood this cast of characters and did great work with this romance, they are seriously the cutest couple ever. But why this story? If you made an animated movie called Batman: The Cat And The Bat and literally put all the romance stuff into that movie, I would give it a glowing review, in fact if they did that movie and at the end they just busted a big crime operation and they did that scene where they have a nice quiet moment on the rooftops and you see someone spying on them, and it turned out to be Hush then slammed right to a cut to black and rolled credits, people would have flipped! They would know Hush was going to be the next movie and the hype levels would be high as hell! Then you make an hour and forty-five minute faithful adaptation, and you can, Dark Knight Returns was split into two parts and was 2 and a half hours combined so don't even try arguing that. But it's in Hush, now don't get me wrong the romance was in the book and was a good portion of it with Bruce actually wanting to make a commitment and coming to terms with his feelings for Selina and them building a nice relationship, but it's just...not...the focus! DC has had a very split record with the Batman movies, Gotham By Gaslight was superior to the book in my opinion, Batman Year One was faithful and done well, and The Dark Knight Returns was excellent and still had it's own identity though it followed the story perfectly, buuut The Killing Joke was an absolute dumpster fire until it actually told The Killing Joke, and now Batman Hush barely tells the story that it's based on. If you're not going to do Hush, then why did you call it Hush?? I'm honestly worried that if they ever do The Long Halloween it could be another situation like this, and I don't like feeling that way damn it! So what the hell do I rate this movie? Do I even recommend it? I'm so split down the middle on this, on one hand it fails at adapting the story the frick fraking movie takes it's title from, but on the other hand the stuff that it actually does do with the characters is positively amazing. God dang it. I don't know, I don't have a clue. So this review is more a warning, if you want to go for it go have a blast. But if you actually wanted to see a faithful adaptation told with impressive visuals and class voice acting, skip it. So I can't fully recommend it, but I leave it entirely in your hands.

Next time, the first real sequel to an animated Scooby-Doo movie.

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