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Amazon Just Quietly Released The Best Batman Movie of the Year

You know the Dark Knight, now meet the Dark Tyke.

Prime Video
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As Mariah Carey knows, making an enduring piece of Christmas media can cement your legacy. But that’s easier said than done, especially for movies and television. What makes a good Christmas seasonal watch? It can’t be too cookie-cutter like a Hallmark film, and it has to be Christmassy without being too Christmassy, which can tip over into saccharine. Most importantly, it needs to have a wide appeal capable of entertaining the whole family as they relax with their new presents.

It can be hard to identify what debut movies will become Christmas classics in the decades to come, but Prime Video’s Batman Christmas special is a serious contender. Its unique take sets it apart not only from other Christmas movies, but also from all the other Batman movies out there, which is a doubly impressive feat.

Merry Little Batman stands out immediately thanks to its animation style. Batman is usually given a very angular animation style full of straight lines, but Merry Little Batman eschews that approach for a boisterous, caricature-like style that echoes stylized Cartoon Network series more than a Saturday morning cartoon.

It’s a unique look that’s perfect for the subject matter. In Merry Little Batman’s Gotham, Bruce Wayne (Luke Wilson) has eradicated crime to create a safe environment for his growing son, Damian (Yonas Kibreab). But Damian aspires to take on the Batman mantle and prove himself just as heroic as his dad. He gets his chance when he’s left home alone, and, of course, two robbers (Natalie Palamides and Michael Fielding) set their sights on Wayne Manor. This is just the first domino in a massive evil scheme concocted by the Joker (David Hornsby) and the rest of Gotham’s rogues’ gallery.

Bruce, Alfred, and Damian palling around Wayne Manor.

Prime Video

It’s a straightforward, family-friendly Batman adventure, but the storytelling has an ineffable joy that leaves it feeling like no other Batman movie. When you’re watching Damian run around in his little paper bag cowl, it’s hard not to also feel like an eight-year-old obsessed with the Caped Crusader.

Even if you grew up with the Nolan movies, the Burton films, or the earlier Batman eras, there’s still a lot to love in Damian’s solo adventure. There are plenty of Easter eggs for fans of all ages, the action is well-executed and entertaining, and at the core of Merry Little Batman is a heart-wrenching story about realizing just why your parents are so annoyingly protective. Damian’s special Batsuit comes equipped with an AI Bruce, and this “Batdad” becomes both Damian’s conscience and a way for Damian to learn to truly value his father.

While Merry Little Batman serves as the basis of an upcoming animated series called Bat-Family, its standalone nature makes it the perfect holiday watch for any Batman fan. Whether you’re an adult fan looking to relive the unbridled joy of childhood hero worship, or if you have a child in your life who’s growing up alongside Damian, there’s plenty to enjoy here. And if you’re still in the mood for Batman’s adventures, this charming little comedy pairs well with Batman’s other, darker Christmas adventure: Batman Returns.

Merry Little Batman is streaming on Prime Video.

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