Fan Film Review: “The Amazing Adventures of Little Batman”


While rocking the baby to sleep for naps, I watch lots of YouTube stuff.  Sometimes you can find entire movies broken down into 10-minute chunks, and that’s perfect because that’s about how long the rocking process takes.  (I got through “Minority Report” in a couple days this way).

I’m not sure what I was searching for when I stumbled on “The Amazing Adventures of Little Batman,” but whatever it was, it couldn’t have been any better.

(Part 1 of 3…)



Short version: this is a fan film where all the parts of the old 60′s “Batman” world have been cast with children and that’s about it.

Long version: The problem with most fan films is that they don’t add anything to the canon.  Somehow people convince themselves that the story of a rogue AT-ST driver lost on Endor is a story that must be told (and by the way: for all the griping die-hard fans make about the Ewoks, if it weren’t for Endor’s forest terrain, “Star Wars” fan films would be lost.  It’s like the only easily-attainable environment.  I’ve yet to see one fan film set in the snow).  There’s a weird sadness with Fan Films because of this: it’s held back not just by lack of money, but by the creator’s inability to push the characters.  They didn’t invent these characters, so they are stuck retreading the same stuff we’ve all seen done better elsewhere.

Advantage “Little Batman.”  It’s basically a dream of the on-screen 6-year-old, but it’s pretty hilarious.  I don’t know how intentionally hilarious it is, but that doesn’t really matter. The only in-dream adult to appear is a man playing Alfred, and he is proportionately younger (he’s about 40).

The rest of the time “Little Batman” delivers a weird kind of critique of the Batman myth that gets lost in all the recent “adult” interpretations: it’s fun to play Batman! It’s fun to put on the cape and cowl (a very big one in this case, which increases the cuteness and the funny) and drive a tiny Batmobile (yep), and race to police headquarters where you declare, “We’d better use the Bat-ropes!”

And where would “Little Batman” be without villains?  It’s the standard A-List of the 60′s with Penguin, Riddler, Joker and Catwoman (the last two played by girls).  The story has something to do with the villains stealing diamonds to launch a missile — a repurposed playground monkeybars — and who knows what.  That’s not the point.  The point is to play Batman.

The acting is as good or “good” as you’d expect from unprofessional children.  Mostly they’re just reciting the words on the page, and verbatim to a fault.  Joker says “Ha.  Ha.  Ha.” with as much energy as you can read there.  It took me a while to realize that Penguin was doing the trademark squawks Burgess Meredith used to do when he said, “Wah” (again, just as energized).  Robin’s acting has a real, “Aw, Dad, do I have to?” vibe going on.

Little Batman, on the other hand, is ready to go.  He can’t help it if he’s a little kid with a mushy mouth, he’s Batman now.  The bit I’ll never forget is seeing this kid get into the fighting.  I mean, they’re all into it kinda, but this kid is into it. I have to believe he really hit some people during the filming of this movie.

Directed by Joe Valenti, there’s a nice kind of moral code threaded through “Little Batman” that I can’t believe I’m admitting to liking.  Maybe he’s preaching to the choir here.  I feel we’re of the same mind — that Batman is a childhood entertainment, and that all the rationalization, realistic treatment and psychoanalysis of the past 20+ years are fine, but beside the point.  The point of a man dressed up as a bat has less to do with him actually scaring bad guys as it does with how cool it is to little boys to wear a cape and drive a car!

Enjoyed as camp or parody or parody camp, “Little Batman” is nonetheless entertaining.


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