SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains spoilers for the recently released Batman: Hush animated movie and the 2003 Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee graphic novel.
If you’ve been following along, I recently read Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s Batman: Hush for the very first time and wrote about it for DCComics.com. I’d been meaning to read Hush for quite some time now, but I knew I needed to get to it before I watched the new animated movie. Now I’ve seen that as well, and I’m ready to discuss it, so watch out for *spoilers* ahead cause I’m diving right in!
After watching the film, I can definitely say that Hush is faithful to its source material and is an honest adaptation of the classic storyline. BUT that’s not to say that there weren’t some changes (including one major one) that honestly left me a little bit shook.
I think the moment I realized that things were going to be a little different in this film was when it was revealed that Bane was behind the kidnapping of the child instead of Killer Croc. This character swap, and a few others in the film, didn’t really affect the story a whole lot, but I liked how it kept me on my toes and had me paying extra close attention to what other small details in the story might’ve been changed.
The movie also deviates from the comic in that it doesn’t include the Jason Todd subplot, Oracle and the repercussions of The Killing Joke, Two-Face’s redemption arc and the elaborate Thomas Elliot backstory (just to name a few). To be quite honest though, I think this was a smart and logical move since including them wouldn’t have squared with the movie’s different ending and the fact that it’s set in an entirely different continuity within the animated universe.
On that subject, I loved how placing Hush in the animated universe gave it a way less dark and serious tone than in the comics. I’m not saying I didn’t love the comic’s tone, but I think the lightheartedness adds a new dimension to it that made it enjoyable in a different way for me. I can specifically recall a few moments between Batman, Lex Luthor, Damian Wayne and the Joker that really had me laughing and I don’t think I could’ve done that while reading the comic. And if you think about it, bringing in these characters and using them in a new way also really modernizes the story as well.
I know I’ve spent quite some time talking about the changes in the film, but the real heart of the film lies in its portrayal of the BatCat love story and the shocking new reveal of Hush.
While the comic teases a potential relationship between Bruce and Selina, the film takes it to a whole other level. After Batman reveals his identity to Catwoman, they actually start dating and spending nights together fighting crime in Gotham and um…doing far more intimate things afterwards at Wayne Manor *screams internally*. We definitely get to see the more vulnerable and caring side of both characters, which is particularly noteworthy for Catwoman since the comic seems to touch more on Batman’s internal feelings and thoughts. I remember wishing that the comic had explored Selina Kyle’s perspective a bit more, so I’m glad I got to see that play out in the film.
But as we all know, this romance is almost forbidden and has never really turned into the accepted, unwavering partnership that we see between Clark and Lois. Even though Selina and Bruce share strong feelings for each other, their ways of life as vigilantes will always create a barrier between them. In the comic, Batman parted ways with Catwoman after he realized that he couldn’t fully trust her. But in the film, it’s Selina who parts ways with Batman after realizing that Bruce would always prioritize Batman in his life over anything else and fearing that he will get killed by the code he follows.
Honestly, she changes so much for him and he seems unwilling to do the same for her, that I really feel like she did the right thing by walking away.
Now, this wouldn’t be a proper Hush adaptation if there wasn’t a huge mystery to solve right? In the comic, we learn that Bruce’s childhood friend Thomas Elliot was Hush, which ends up being one of the most shocking betrayals ever for Bruce. Yet, while Hush was the face of it all, it turns out that the Riddler is actually the mastermind behind everything. That to me was the biggest twist and was completely unexpected.
But the film succeeds in shocking us once again by revealing that the Riddler was both the mastermind behind everything AND ALSO Hush. Now this is a really huge shift from the comic, but it makes sense because Hush was really only a pawn in the Riddler’s plan. Who would’ve guessed that the Riddler had it in him to carry all of this out? It’s definitely not something I was expecting so I’m glad the movie had that shock element for those who expected the ending to be the same.
While I appreciated the changes and new elements added to the story, I also did love how some of the more iconic parts and dialogue from the comic played out the same. Some of my favorite scenes from the comic made it to the film, including Poison Ivy taking control of Superman and Batman and Catwoman’s romantic kiss under the moonlight. For me, keeping memorable scenes like these were the perfect way to honor the story.
Whether you’re a longtime fan wanting to revisit Batman: Hush in a new way or watching the film as your first ever introduction to this beloved Bat-story, Batman: Hush delivers and does right by its source material. Not only do we have the timeless comic to read back on, but now we have this animated film that will keep the legacy of Hush going for new generations to come.
Lissete Gonzalez writes about film, TV and comics for DCComics.com and is a contributor to Couch Club, our weekly television column. Look for her on Twitter at @lissete74.