MERRY LITTLE BATMAN
December 8, 2023 / Prime Video Canada
Starring: Luke Wilson, Yonas Kibreab, David Hornsby, James Cromwell
Directed By: Mike Roth
Merry Little Batman is an animated family action comedy destined to join the rogue's gallery of classic holiday movies. When young Damian Wayne finds himself alone in Wayne Manor on Christmas Eve, he must transform into “Little Batman'' in order to defend his home and Gotham City from the crooks and supervillains intent on destroying the holidays.
Written By Darren
Rating 4 out of 5
Merry Little Batman is an irresistible animated holiday film aimed at younger viewers, capturing the excitement of becoming a superhero as young Damian Wayne protects Gotham on Christmas Eve, that with good voice performances and lots of great laughs, will bring some holiday cheer to viewers of all ages this holiday season.
Typically, superhero films focus on adults or young adults, their powers and their path to becoming a superhero. If they’re set during the holiday season, apart from the seminal Batman comic arc Batman: The Long Halloween which features the Holiday Killer, Marvel’s Hawkeye series and the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, there are very few superhero projects that are truly holiday films. Yes, there are many stories set during the holidays, like Batman Returns and Iron Man 3, but the holidays merely act as a setting for the story rather than an integral part of it. However, DC Studios and Amazon Prime Video’s latest original film not only provides a storyline featuring your new favourite child superhero, it makes use of its Christmas setting to deliver a superhero story like no other. Yes, Merry Little Batman is the perfect mixture of Christmas, adorable Damian Wayne as Little Batman, and superhero excitement that will bring a smile to viewers’ faces this holiday season.
It’s Christmas Eve and Batman has been called away for a last minute emergency, leaving young Damian Wayne in the care of Alfred. But when the villains of Gotham City take advantage of Batman’s absence, Damian finds himself as the only protector of Gotham and fights off the villains in his Batman suit, learning what it truly means to be a hero in the process.
As a standalone holiday special aimed at younger viewers, Merry Little Batman accomplishes exactly what it needs to. It’s a fun, family friendly outing for younger viewers who will no doubt enjoy seeing a child superhero on the screen. Damian’s adventure is full of laughter and Christmas cheer, coupled with a lesson about what it means to truly be a hero, ensuring that the hour and a half run time flies by at a brisk pace. The story itself has similarities to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, following a traditional plot for the holiday genre, but the superhero twist on the familiar plot is a fun addition to the genre. While the film is aimed at younger viewers, DC Comic fans will find tons of Batman easter eggs sprinkled throughout this charming adventure, ensuring that there is always something to be on the lookout for during this fun holiday film. The jokes also hit adults and children equally, guaranteeing that the entire family will be laughing throughout the film.
Leading the film is young Yonas Kibreab as Damian Wayne, and he gives a terrific voice performance! As Damian, Kibreab infuses the film with a spirited energy, bringing to life Damian’s crusade against the villains of Gotham. While his performance captures the childlike wonder that Damian experiences while living out his dream of being Batman, there is a tenderness and vulnerability that Kibread brings to the role that reminds viewers that Damian is just an eight year old boy in over his head who still has a lot to learn. Luke Wilson is the perfect choice for this iteration of Batman, one in love with being a father while being overprotective of Damian. It’s Wilson’s normal energetic voice, but it is exactly what the role calls for. James Cromwell makes for a good Alfred, sharing some good moments with Kibreab, while David Hornsby, Dolph Adomiam, Brian George, Therese McLaughlin, and Chris Sullivan each have their moment to shine as the film’s villains: Joker, Mr. Freeze, Penguin, Poison Ivy and Bane.
DC is no stranger to animated films with over fifty films in their universe of original animated films. These films have a distinct look, capturing a glossy animation that resembles the comic books. However, Merry Little Batman differentiates itself from this animation style, leaning into Damian’s age as an inspiration for the style. Visually, the animation is the cross between comic book drawings and child’s artwork using crayon, capturing the childlike perspective of Damian. It’s an excellent choice for this project and a wonderful new style of animation, not only appealing to younger viewers, but ensuring that the tone of the film remains the excitement of a young boy becoming a superhero for one night.
While some may talk about superhero fatigue, Merry Little Batman is not a superhero film but a wonderful animated holiday film that fully embraces the Christmas spirit and the mythology of Batman. Heartfelt and hilarious from start to finish, Damian Wayne is a true superstar as Little Batman in the utterly delightful Merry Little Batman that thanks to a great animation style and a spirited voice performance Yonas Kibreab as Damian, ensuring that the entire family will have a holly jolly time with this animated Christmas movie.