No, I’m not talking about BATMAN RETURNS.
I’m talking about the latest animation journey into Gotham, MERRY LITTLE BATMAN, a delightful family film that can be deemed for kids, but is smart enough for adults.
In short, thanks to Batman, Gotham has been safe and crime-free for some time. Bruce Wayne has molded into a family man, living in his mansion with his butler Alfred, and his son Damian. But when he’s called back into action, he leaves his superhero-wannabe son back in Gotham. And crime returns.
If you’re reading this review, then you’ve most likely seen the movie. However, I still wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you. I believe the marketing for this was pretty smart in that it looked like a HOME ALONE in Gotham deal, but the movie is much more than that. There are father-son relationships, wish fulfillment, drama, action, tons of humor, and Batman easter eggs EVERYWHERE.
Written by Morgan Evans and Jase Ricci, I found the humor and wit to be well-balanced and energetic. As mentioned above, this movie could be categorized as “family/kid”, but it never talks down to its viewers. These characters vibe really well. The dialogue is quick. The words are genuine. And everyone bounces off each other with ease. When all of that flows, you can give a lot of credit to the writers.
Of course, the performances are well done too. Luke Wilson does an excellent job as Bruce Wayne/Batman. James Cromwell is a warm Alfred, giving Michael Gough vibes. Young Yonas Kibreab takes on the most important role in the movie and excels beyond expectations (that’s right, a Damian I like!). Aside from David Hornsby (who I thought was just fine as Joker), the rest of the villains also delivered respectable performances. Like the writing, the performances gelled, making it effortless to lose yourself in the movie.
Much ado has been said about the character designs/look of the movie, and I say humbug. MERRY LITTLE BATMAN has a unique and original style, and I’m all for it. The designs are unique, the backgrounds are warm, and the constant flow of snow brings the Christmas spirit to every inch of the screen. This is a good-looking movie, with a heavy influence of Ronald Serle.
But hey, if it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing.
Overall, MERRY LITTLE BATMAN exceeded my expectations. It was a lot of fun, with sharp wit, great imagery, fun easter eggs, and oozed Christmas. It’ll be added to my Batman Christmas list each year. – Ryan Lower