The DC Universe animated feature film program has been one of the consistently best things DC Entertainment has had going for it for the last several years.
In spite of getting off to an impressively bad start with a film version of the Death of Superman that both failed to capture the spirit and energy of the comics and also simplified the source material so much that it no longer made a lick of sense, the films have been on the upswing ever since, with Wonder Woman and Green Lantern getting well-reviewed original feature films and stories like The New Frontier and Batman: Year One being beautifully adapted into stylized movies with all-star voice casts.
Ever since they announced a two-part adaptation of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, reportedly to be followed by Flashpoint, it’s become hard to tell whether the line (now being handled by Warner Animation following the shuttering of the Warner Premiere imprint that had distributed the films previously) will move forward into the New 52 or continue to, as it has in the past, retell some of the best stories of DC’s recent past.
We’ve got some ideas, though, about what movies we’d like to see. Let us know what YOU think in the comments or on Facebook.
Superman/Wonder Woman: Immortal Beloved
This one might be tricky to pull off right now,w ith DC seemingly determined to play down the Lois and Clark relationship…but one of the great Superman/Wonder Woman stories of all time certainliy seems like something that could be addressed in the next year or so, before the shine is off the apple and the couple’s relationship is relegated to the scrapheap of comics history.
The story, written by Joe Kelly (whose work also inspired the recent Superman vs. The Elite), features Superman and Wonder Woman kidnapped and brought to an alternate dimension where they fight alongside in a war between gods and monsters for a thousand years. Over that time, Superman’s dedication to Lois is tested…but comes out unscathed as he never submits to Wonder Woman’s not-insubstantial sex appeal. It’s one of the great love stories ever written into any superhero’s mythology, and features some great character moments for Superman.
Superman comes back from retirement and has to re-establish the metahuman community, but it’s not as easy as all that. It’s as though Superman vs. The Elite and The Dark Knight Returns had a lovechild.
There’s the obvious challenge here of trying to adapt Alex Ross’s rich art style to the relatively uniform look of the DC animated features. Even after the DC Animated Universe TV shows, after all, there’s not a ton of margin of error in terms of the way most of these movies look.
That said, this is one of the great stories in the history of the DC Universe, and it will never, ever be made into a live-action feature film. It’s just not possible. The DC Universe animated films would allow fans to see the story come to life in a way that we never will on the big screen.
Batman: Court of Owls
Especially if they want to start telling some stories of the New 52, the obvious choice (given that a film supporting Animal Man is probably not plausible) is starting with Scott Snyder’s fan-favorite, best-selling Batman run, and the first arc, which introduces the Court of Owls, plays perfectly into that.
Getting it done while the Nolan trilogy is still fresh in the minds of the moviegoing audience would be wise, since the idea of Bruce’s relationship with Gotham, which is key to Snyder’s interpretation of the character, was such a strong part of Batman Begins and its sequels.
And, in addition to creating a movie that’s set in the world of the New 52 and allows DC to use those looks for the characters, doing so sets a precedent for creating stories on a shorter turnaround, making the DC Universe animated features seem more like a vital day-to-day part of DC Entertainment’s business.
Yes, it’s arguably the most controversial DC story of the last ten years–but it’s a hugely effective narrative, and a great way to get fans acquainted with some of the lesser-known heroes of the DC Universe. And a film like that could set the stage for something using some of the characters the average moviegoer isn’t already familiar with down the road–something that’s been largely relegated to the animated shorts tacked to the front of movies up until now.
Formerly Known as the Justice League
Can you even imagine how much fun it would be to see Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’s Justice League International characters brought to the small screen?
So many of these animated features–including the four above–are pretty heavy on the doom and gloom, and something with a little levity could be a great addition.
Plus, Booster Gold! He’s supposed to have a TV series coming soon, and it couldn’t hurt to have something featuring him available on the market before the show starts.