Merry Little Batman (2023)

Merry Little Batman (2023)

Energetic superhero holiday fun whose animation is bursting with visual personality

7.5

Movie

United States of America
English, Spanish
Action, Animation, Comedy, Family
2023
MIKE ROTH
Brian George, Bumper Robinson, Chris Sullivan
97 min

TLDR

Let's just say, thank god this DC property is on a streaming service that probably won't delete it for tax reasons.

What it's about

When his father, Batman, leaves Gotham on Christmas Eve to respond to an emergency call, young Damian Wayne finds himself facing off against the city's villains who have returned from hiding.

The take

While it might not be the most inspired story featuring the titular caped crusader—nor is it a particularly Christmas-y tale—Merry Little Batman still stands out just for how bright and warm its versions of these characters are. In this Gotham, crime is literally pushed aside for once, and that odd sense of holiday isolation takes over for the heroes and villains of the city. It's all pretty silly when you give it more thought, but the film wholeheartedly embraces its tone, resulting in a Home Alone-esque adventure that moves briskly and is loaded with great visual gags and throwaways zingers. It could stand to have a more substantial emotional center, but for what it is, this is consistently entertaining holiday viewing for all ages.

What stands out

What makes so much of the film's comedy work is its stunning traditional animation—a massive breath of fresh air in a landscape saturated with children's movies and TV shows that tend to look similar in style. The overall art direction in Merry Little Batman isn't afraid to look "uglier" and more off-model, with extremely expressive character designs that allow for lots of physical humor, and colors and textures that evoke retro cartoons from decades ago. And still all the action is communicated smoothly, with every new setting coming to life through strong, detailed line work.

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