The DC Animated films have a lengthy, illustrious history that rivals their live-action counterparts. The majority of the renowned characters from the DC films have struggled to come to life in the live-action versions, but there have been no such problems with the animated versions. Some of the most recognisable comic book sequences for characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have been portrayed in animated films in a way that live-action films couldn’t. The animated division of DC Comics has produced some of the best adaptations of DC comic book storylines.
Observed on May 7, 2023: Danilo Raal has added even more outstanding DC Animated Films to our post.
DC animated films are permitted to fully adapt classic tales, despite the fact that films like The Dark Knight and Man of Steel may have drawn inspiration from specific comic themes. Some of the best DC animated films ever produced include the film adaptations of stories like Batman: Year One and The Death of Superman. Animation has done a fantastic job at capturing some of the more bizarre DC villains. Heroes who have not received as much live-action screen time as some of DC’s most well-known characters have, nevertheless, been given the opportunity to shine in their own movie. These 16 DC animated films represent some of the best examples of these enduring characters.
Table Of Content
- 1 Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)
- 2 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
- 3 Batman: Year One (2011)
- 4 Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons (2022)
- 5 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
- 6 Batman The Long Halloween Parts 1 & 2 (2021)
- 7 Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)
- 8 Justice League: Doom (2012)
- 9 Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
- 10 Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)
- 11 Superman Man of Tomorrow (2020)
- 12 Superman Red Son (2020)
- 13 Superman Vs. The Elite (2012)
- 14 The Death of Superman (2018)
- 15 Wonder Woman (2009)
Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)
Batman: Assault on Arkham is a Suicide Squad story, despite the title. The famed Task Force X, lead by Deadshot, is depicted in the film as they attempt to break into Arkham Asylum. The movie, which took place in the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game universe, was a must-see with lots of action and a shocking conclusion. Although the Suicide Squad concept was still fairly fresh to general audiences at the time of its debut, this movie offered an intriguing preview of what was to come in live-action.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
For a long time, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm served as the benchmark for animated superhero movies. Batman battled the enigmatic antagonist Phantasm in the animated series’ world-set feature picture while he fought his ex-girlfriend Andrea Beaumont. This dark adventure furthered the Batman legend while making excellent use of the art deco backdrop. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is not only a fantastic animated DC movie, but it can also hold its own against the best live-action movies.
Batman: Year One (2011)
Batman: Year One served as a source of inspiration for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, but the animated adaptation of the comic book was able to adapt the full plot. In an effort to purge Gotham of crime and corruption, Bruce Wayne’s first mission as Batman was brilliantly portrayed in the movie. The movie also debuts Batman and Commissioner James Gordon, one of the most significant collaborations in comic book history.
Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons (2022)
Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons, based on the bestselling novel by Jorge Jimenez and Peter J. Tomasi, is DC’s first 3D animated film with the distinctive twist seen in Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Damian, the psychopath murderer son of Batman, encounters John Kent, the genial farm boy and son of Superman, in this unique tale.
The group must cooperate to stop an alien invasion commanded by Starro the Conqueror in order to save their fathers and the entire planet. The two, as you may have guessed, don’t get along very well because of Damian’s brazen and aggressive attitude, which is identical to their father’s. As a result, they end up being unlikely friends and allies.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
The DC universe was introduced to Terry McGinnis via Batman Beyond. As he battled The Joker, Bruce Wayne’s biggest enemy, in his first major motion picture, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the character established himself as a worthy successor to Wayne. Whether in live-action or animation, it is undoubtedly one of the darkest DC stories ever presented. One of the best things to come out of the DC animated universe is this moving Batman narrative, which demonstrated why this Batman was just as excellent as the original.
Batman The Long Halloween Parts 1 & 2 (2021)
One of the most well-known Batman tales is Batman: The Long Halloween, which served as the model for live-action films like Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Batman. This two-part animated movie explores the comic book in a way that the live-action versions couldn’t actually. Batman battles a serial murderer named Holiday in the movie adaption, who mostly murders important members of the Falcone crime family.
No matter how close Batman gets to the murderers, something happens every time, causing his suspicions to shift among many suspects. Every killing occurs on a certain Holiday. It’s a compelling tale that puts Batman’s sleuthing prowess to the test and costs him dearly as cherished allies and friends turn into sworn enemies. As a member of the Tomorrowverse, the movie has a connection to Superman: Man of Tomorrow. It demonstrates the capacity to appropriately present an established story while modernising it to fit into a common universe.
Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)
A founding member of the Justice League is Green Lantern. Although he is a character deserving of an epic live-action movie, Green Lantern: First Flight’s animated version recounted his most significant tale. The first Green Lantern mission of Hal Jordan is recounted in this incredibly amusing dramatisation.
The film mainly functions as a cop movie, with Sinestro playing Hal’s ethically dubious and cynical partner. Hal Jordan’s friendship with Sinestro, who would eventually become his arch-enemy, was beautifully shown in Green Lantern: First Flight. The 2011 live-action movie let critics and fans down, but this 2009 animated movie demonstrated that the character tale was worthwhile to be told.
Justice League: Doom (2012)
The action-packed movie Justice League: Doom demonstrates to the Justice League just how lethal Batman can be. In the movie, a gang of villains takes Batman’s backup strategies for defeating the Justice League in the event that one of the team members ever goes rogue. Justice League: Doom, which is based on the well-known plot Tower of Bable, is one of the best film stories the Justice League has ever had and one that fans may turn to if they were dissatisfied with the live-action version.
Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
The comic book event Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox was significant because it effectively restarted decades’ worth of DC storylines. Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox did a commendable job of adapting the tale. A new timeline in which Bruce Wayne was dead and his parents took on the sinister forms of Batman and The Joker resulted from the Flash’s unsuccessful attempt to rescue his mother from The Reverse Flash. The movie launched the seven-year-long DC Animated Movie Universe.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)
The most violent DC animated film ever produced is Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. The DC equivalent of Avengers: Endgame, in which Thanos and his henchmen mercilessly killed every member of the Avengers, is this film. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War included the Justice League’s ultimate conflict with Darkseid, but it was mostly a John Constantine story that illustrated how the DC heroes would handle the end of the world. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War fills the gap left by Zack Snyder’s Darkseid catastrophe in the DC Extended Universe for fans.
Superman Man of Tomorrow (2020)
Man of Tomorrow ought to serve as James Gun’s model if he wants to deliver a fantastic start to a fresh Superman. While not quite an origin narrative, this movie explores the subtleties of a young Superman and how he interacts with the world while still learning how to use his abilities for good. It also outlines his relationships with enemies like Lex Luthor, Lobo, and The Parasite as well as friends like The Martian Manhunter. It’s a heartwarming and entertaining tale about The Man of Steel’s challenges in various facets of life.
Superman Red Son (2020)
In Superman: Red Son, an amazing alternate history tale, Kal-El lands during the Bolshevik revolution in the collective cornfields of the USSR rather than Metropolis, USA. Superman would develop into the state’s ultimate weapon, swinging the Cold War in the Soviet Union’s advantage. Stalin is immediately removed from power by Superman after learning the truth about the evils of the Soviet dictatorship. He ascends to the position of supreme leader in the country, with global expansionist goals. The animated film is a thrilling interpretation of the Man of Steel and one not to be missed! The comic is one of the most renowned Superman adventures of all time.
Superman Vs. The Elite (2012)
Superman Versus. The Elite is a misunderstood treasure that ought to be better known. Based on a single tale that appeared in Action Comics #775 more than 20 years ago, Superman now has to contend with a new group of heroes who don’t follow the law and deliver justice by any means necessary. Superman is forced to teach them a lesson they will never forget about what true justice entails by The Elite, a super-powered team (based on Wildstorm’s The Authority).
The idea that Superman is a tedious character to create because he is powerful or too good for the current world is disproved by the ultimate Superman tale. This animated movie may serve as a good preview of what viewers might anticipate from the live-action version of James Gunn’s DC Universe given the recent announcements of both Superman: Legacy and The Authority.
The Death of Superman (2018)
There were two adaptations of The Death of Superman. The second version to be released in 2018 was, however, the better one. The film mostly adhered to the well-known plot of Superman and his alleged demise at the hands of the adversary Doomsday. This Superman was one that audiences had spent a lot of time with because he was a part of the DC Animated Movie Universe, which made the tragedy of his death more worse.
Wonder Woman (2009)
Rosario Dawson provided the character’s voice in the 2009 animated movie of the same name before Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The famous Amazonian princess’s origin narrative was the first significant attempt to give the character a solo animated adventure after Batman and Superman had been included in so many. It was heavily influenced by the character’s origin story from the comics. The Wonder Woman 2009 movie stands in thrilling and intriguing contrast to Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017), demonstrating how this character might be the inspiration for two distinct origin tales, both of which would be narratively rewarding.
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