Merry Little Batman 2023 movie review

Fatherhood has a curious way of changing the dynamics, even for the Dark Knight himself. In Amazon Prime’s latest animated film, Batman takes on a distinctly different appearance—more lumberjack than superhero. Wearing dad jeans, a flannel shirt, and sporting a hearty beard, Batman is not the protagonist tasked with rescuing Gotham City once again in the Yuletide-themed “Merry Little Batman.” Instead, that responsibility falls on Damian, his spirited eight-year-old son, who seems to have inherited his father’s prowess in battling supervillains.

Voiced by Yonas Kibreab, Damian exudes the typical energy of a pre-adolescent, engaging in playful pursuits around the expansive Wayne Manor. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne, his father (voiced by Luke Wilson), has essentially retired after eradicating crime in Gotham City. However, when a “weather anomaly” in Nova Scotia demands Batman’s attention, Damian finds himself under the watchful eye of the trustworthy Alfred (played by screen veteran James Cromwell).

Yearning for solitude, Damian craftily tricks Alfred into a marshmallow errand, paving the way for a break-in by two bumbling burglars (Michael Fielding, Natalie Palamides). Clad in a makeshift Batman costume, Damian cleverly thwarts the intruders with a series of traps, reminiscent of the antics in “Home Alone.”

The narrative takes an unexpected turn when the burglars make off with Batman’s Utility Belt. Damian, now donning one of his father’s real Batsuits, embarks on a heroic journey into Gotham, encountering an array of iconic Batman villains—The Penguin, Poison Ivy, Bane, Mr. Freeze, and The Joker—all brought to life by a stellar cast.

In a stroke of foresight, Bruce Wayne equipped his son with an AI version of himself, known as “Batdad,” installed in the suit in case of his demise. The film, directed by Mike Roth, is a labor of love for Batman enthusiasts, filled with Easter eggs and in-jokes, catering to both young audiences and adult fans. The animation, heavily influenced by the satirical drawings of Ronald Searle, provides a visually arresting style.

With a fast-paced, frenetic energy, “Merry Little Batman” balances its zany humor with a rocking musical score that blends Christmas classics with originals by Patrick Stump. The film offers a nostalgic nod to Batman history, referencing George Clooney’s infamous Batsuit nipples and featuring Bruce and Damian scatting the Batman TV show theme.

The humor, ranging from Batman’s self-reminders about brooding to The Joker’s witty remarks, keeps the film engaging for both kids and grown-up fans. As an informal prelude to the upcoming animated series, “Bat-Family,” also on Prime, “Merry Little Batman” serves as a delightful introduction to the iconic Caped Crusader for the younger audience.

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By acinetv