If you are unfamiliar with the DC Animated Universe, then there has never been a better time to get acquainted with the ‘verse. The ever-growing collection of television series, films, and comic book spin-offs began expanding in the early 1990s after Batman: The Animated Series made its debut. Since then, dozens of installments have been released to fans, but there are a few projects which stand above the rest.
When it comes to DC’s animated movies, there are plenty of quality features to binge. Here at ComicBook.com, we’ve selected five of the very best superhero flicks which you can take in over a long weekend.
Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox
Fans of The CW’s version of The Flash will be fairly familiar with a story known as Flashpoint. The story originated in 2011 as a special crossover which saw Barry Allen use his speedster powers to time-travel, but his plans go awry when his adventure unwittingly replaces his timeline with an alternate one. Before any live-action adaptation of the story was made, the DC Animated Universe took a crack at it - and it went over very well.
The story focuses primarily on the Flash as he tries to rectify the consequences of his time-traveling shenanigans. The hero has created a new timeline which sees Aquaman at war with Wonder Woman and Batman is Thomas Wayne rather than Bruce. Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox is a solid attempt to retell a classic comic book story, and it may even make you shed a tear or two towards the end.
Justice League: The New Frontier
If you’re looking for a shorter film to binge, then Justice League: The New Frontier is just the thing for you. The 2008 film featured Darwyn Cooke as its visual director, and the artist’s work shines in the movie. The straight-to-video feature reimagines the golden age of the Justice League with careful precision, and it’s a great way to introduce yourselves to the superhero team.
The story, which is set in the 1950s, follows heroes like the Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman during the Cold War era. The Justice League finds themselves teaming up to take on an apocalyptic cult called The Centre while also trying to sway the public’s negative views on superhuman folk.
Batman: Under The Red Hood
In the world of Batman, there are plenty of sad moments, but few top the moment where Jason Todd’s Batman dies. The loyal sidekick was offed by the Joker, and Gotham’s vigilante was at a loss over the sudden death. Countless comics have dealt with Robin’s untimely death, but the DC Animated Universe also took time to honor the character’s demise (and resurrection) in Batman: Under The Red Hood.
The feature adapts storylines from Death in the Family and Under the Hood as it follows Batman’s grief over the death of Robin. Fans are shown every gritty moment of the grieving process, and they eventually see how devastated Batman becomes when he learns his new enemy Red Hood is Jason Todd. That’s not even to mention the sickening scenes fans are shown that focus on the sidekick’s descent into madness. The film may be a difficult to watch for some, but Batman: Under The Red Hood is one of the finest DC films you will see, live-action or not.
If you are one of the millions anxiously awaiting Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman film, you are not alone. The iconic heroine will finally grace the big screen when her standalone comes out next summer, but Wonder Woman fans can go ahead and watch the character become a legend. In 2009, the DC Animated Universe rolled out a solo Wonder Woman flick, and it does justice to the famous hero.
The animated feature combines various aspects of Wonder Woman’s origin story and turns it into a delightful ride for fans. Characters like Ares, Steve Trevor, and Cheetah all make appearances, and Wonder Woman retells the heroine’s entrance into the world of man.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
There have been countless of live-action Batman movies over the year, but few of them can hold up to this DC Animated feature. Before Batman Begins debuted, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was considered to be the hero’s best film by far - and the movie still stands up to repeated viewings today.
The dark, neo-noir film follows Batman as he goes head-to-head with Gotham’s most famous villain, the Joker. In a case of mistaken identity, Batman finds himself on the run from police when a mysterious new vigilante begins killing local crime bosses. Bruce Wayne must clear his alter-ego’s name while rekindling a former love with ex-girlfriend Andrea Beaumont. The film has it all: intrigue, sex appeal, and unbridled violence. If you’re looking for a way into the DC Animated Universe, then Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is your ticket in.