Seeking something silly and super for this holiday season? Then check out Merry Little Batman, a new movie on Prime Video that combines DC’s Gotham gang with some family-friendly Yuletide hijinks.
Mike Roth, whose cartoon credits include Camp Lazlo, Regular Show, and Summer Camp Island, directs this daffy offering about Batman’s 8-year-old son Damian and his superhero debut. Combining elements of holiday classics like Home Alone and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Merry Little Batman is a sweet treat that’s also a bit outrageous.
What’s Merry Little Batman about?
Forget the brooding Batman of The Dark Knight trilogy or the psychologically damaged Bruce of Harley Quinn or the serial-killer-chasing vigilante of The Batman. In this zany iteration, the iconic character is retired, having successfully and single-handedly transformed Gotham from crime-ridden to cheery. Nowadays, he dedicates himself to parenting his son Damian Wayne (voiced by peppy Yonas Kibreab). And to reflect this more chill lifestyle, Bruce Wayne has lumberjack vibes with a bushy beard (as opposed to a depression beard), a plaid shirt, and the voice of Luke Wilson.
Christmas is coming to Wayne Manor, complete with a holiday feast laid out by a devoted (and a tad decrepit) Alfred Pennyworth (James Cromwell). But when a surprising call comes through on the Bat-Phone, Bruce has to dash off, leaving his son behind on Christmas Eve. Damian dreams of rushing into the fray with his father, and the gift of a first utility belt makes him determined to prove he’s ready. So, when a pair of burglars pull a Wet Bandits-style home invasion, he springs into action, wearing a cowl made of a paper bag and a cape that’s really a repurposed blanket.
However, once the Joker (Mythic Quest‘s David Hornsby) goes full Grinch, Damian snatches a suit from the Batcave and sets forth to grapple with the likes of Poison Ivy (Therese McLaughlin), Bane (Chris Sullivan), and the Penguin (Brian George). But can he save the day solo? Or will the Bat-Family need to join forces to save Christmas?
Merry Little Batman is a gleefully goofy adventure.
Credit: Amazon Prime Video
If only the DCEU could let loose and have this kind of fun! Warner Bros. has allowed its TV shows to freely explore the bonkers possibilities of the DC library with shows like the chaotically comedic Doom Patrol, the unapologetically twisted Harley Quinn, and the ballsy Peacemaker. But their movies have a tendency to be torn between being oh-so-serious or fan-driven drivel. (Shout out to Blue Beetle for breaking a bad streak!) Merry Little Batman isn’t anywhere as wild as the TV-MA shows mentioned above, but because it doesn’t have to tenderly tie into a grander lore, it gets to have cavalier fun with the characters who have come before.
There’s plenty of Easter eggs for DC fans to pick up, like a Talia tattoo on Bruce’s bare chest and the Wayne family’s cat being named Selena. Still, purists may sneer at Poison Ivy teaming up with the Joker for no apparent reason other than the fun of seeing her in a holly-themed costume. However, it’s a jolting joy to see these figures, who are usually portrayed as nightmarish villains, become the stuff of Seussical wickedness. They’re not scary, because while they are spending all their energy stealing gifts and harassing a child, they’re also loud and colorful and ludicrous. The carnage wrought is cartoony, while moments of potentially worrisome violence — like Damian concocting a DIY flamethrower — are implied offscreen. Simply put, kids may not make the connection, but grown-ups will get the gist.