Merry Little Batman is like a Little Golden Book coming to life. Stylistically and tonally, it bears an adorable, light-hearted touch with an illustrative storybook art style that pops with each frame. The animation quality is highly cinematic, as it carries thick line weight in character outlines and background design details. Every action sequence has stunning hand-drawn animated fluidity with quick dynamic movement.
If a Batman multiverse existed where Gotham was interpreted by every cartoonist who once drew for the New Yorker, this would be it, and it’s stunning. With Regular Show alum Mike Roth spearheading the project, he and his team passionately provide an action-packed but sincerely sweet Dark Knight universe they can proudly call theirs. Part of Merry Little Batman‘s fun is seeing how a Batman Rogues Gallery villain specifically looks in this designated world for each familiar character’s uniquely shaped design and build. Young Damian has a UPA flair to his design, Bruce is straight up a Brawny man towel mascot in a bat costume, continuing the top-heavy hunky dad trend right next to every dad from any given Lord/Miller project, and Alfred is like if John Callahan designed an old Igor.
As if it wasn’t enough, the movie bleeds with exuberant expression from its continuous line boil technique on each character’s outlines to every character’s features, from flesh to wardrobe, bearing a watercolor texture. While watching this on my 50-inch television, my mouth was watering from wanting to see this in a theater.
Merry Little Batman also benefits from ace voice casting across the board. Yonas Kibreab–about to be in Pixar’s recently moved to 2025 flick Elio–makes for a great Damian Wayne, drawing a fine line of innocence without appearing bratty. Luke Wilson’s soft voice coming out of this buffly-drawn Batman is so effortlessly funny. It makes his entire helicopter dad persona so cute. But David Hornsby as the Joker is such a base casting. His high-active, silly, sinister voice resembles an evil clown, which matches this storybook aesthetic. When he does his own Joker laugh, it’s like hearing a new star being born.
The film truly stands out through the thought dynamic between Damian and Batman. Writer Morgan Evans (Teen Titans Go) threads a sweet coming-of-bat-age tale about becoming a hero, coming into their own, and appreciating their parent’s efforts. Merry Little Batman‘s story borrows heavily from the first two Home Alone movies, which corresponds to the holiday tone and is utilized as a perfect character establishment for this Damian iteration.
Evans also makes the development reciprocal for Bruce, who must learn about letting your little one soar their wings and kick crime butt. One ingenious aspect lies in Bruce’s brooding getting replaced with an overbearing mood. That’s the most in-character, psychologically accurate route. I’m surprised it has yet to be explored across the character’s 85 years of existence. Other Batmen drive their sidekicks away, but the conflict between this Batman and his hyperactive Damian shows how much he loves him. That fresh characterization only advances Merry Little Batman’s uniqueness and leaves you wanting more.