DC Animated Universe certainly has been producing great works especially if you compare them to their live-action counterparts.
There certainly has been some criticism towards the adaptation whether they even stood up the expectation of their comic-book counterparts or not.
Still, overall, the DC universe animated movies proved to be a delight for comicbook fans or DC fans to explore more storylines and better movies put together, in general.
Some of them, in fact, come out to be extraordinary movies that ever made on the comicbook storyline leaving some to say even better than live-action ones or greatest overall.
At the end, this tangent of the DC universe enjoys a mixed bag of a couple disappointing adaptations of greatest comicbook storylines and some great adaptations of even mediocre comic-book storylines, and then we certainly have a few best of both worlds for sure.
Overall, it is a journey in itself to explore this DC animated universe for DC fans or comic-book fans or any one for that matter.
Justice League: Dark
Justice League: Dark is a storyline where you see more mystical and dark threats against the world to which a quite particular band of heroes get together.
For this type of madness, chaos and death was brought to the world and made the Justice League powerless.
This time heroes are confronted with a problem which is magical and mystical in nature, so John Constantine joins Batman allong with Zatana, Deadman and others as well to battle this one.
Even though this movie doesn’t necessarily stand out when it comes to the best DC animated movie universe (DCAMU) , it is quite unique in its plot and character combinations.
This film is heavy on the supernatural elements in the threat, more stuff from the universe of John Constantine than Batman or any other superhero.
Batman Vs. Robin
This DC universe animated film deals with the relationship between Batman aka Bruce Wayne and the new Robin aka his son, Damian Wayne which is getting worse and worse.
We see some potential between their relationship but gradually, it just get worse as their ideologies and method of work clashes.
Not to forget, they both have quite colliding attitudes and large egos. But things go beyond repair when a fabled secret society, known as Court of Owls, starts taking interest in Robin.
They promise him everything that apparently for him, his father Batman couldn’t do or see. Neither does he see how his father’s way of worldview is not being weak.
Little did he know that he was merely a pawn in the large conspiracy or planning the army of Talon assasins were going to throw as their grander plan was to strike Gotham.
What really stands out in this film is how great the film was at being a standalone film in the superhero universe, focusing more on what the overall theme or narrative was about, rather than filling it with team-ups and cameos.
The Death Of Superman
‘The Death of Superman’ storyline is said to be one of the most iconic Superman narratives that ever conceived, and it will be safe to say that it beautifully translated to this animated feature.
The film focusses a lot on Superman taking the responsibility to be the hero in the world but then also finding the love of his life, in the Metropolis star reporter Lois Lane.
And then things become complicated when he has to consider sharing her secret, about being Superman to her, in order to preserve his relationship with her.
Even after all of that, at the end he has to die saving the city, fighting Doomsday, a mindless alien monster which could be only stopped on cost of his life.
This storyline, in the comics as well, is one of the best Superman storylines, basically sets the world of Superman with the central plot of Superman-Lois Lane romance and rest about the burden, the cost he has to bear.
Batman: Under the Red Hood
Batman: Under the Red Hood is one of the most brutal Batman storylines to explore ever.
And the storyline of this film is based on the comics Batman: Under the Hood written by Judd Winick and artist Doug Mahnke released back in early 200s.
This story features the return of the Jason Todd, the second Robin who was brutally murdered by Joker even before it begins.
The movie has an amazing voice cast making great performances to witness in the animated Batman film.
You see Bruce Greenwood voicing Batman aka Bruce Wayne whereas Neil Patrick Harris and Jensen Ackles lend their voices to Nightwing aka Dick Grayson and Jason Todd aka Red Hood, respectively.
What is going to make the performances of the cast in this film more intriguing is the John DiMaggio’s take on voicing Joker which is quite distant from Hamil’s version.
And that’s indeed a smart move because instead of even trying to meet the high expectations set by Hamil’s Joker, he rather chose to bring his own version, a totally different route to show Joker, which is incomparable but yet great.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
This Justice League film is entirely from the perspective of Barry Allen aka The Flash, and also begins with him and ends with him as well.
It starts from The Flash finding himself in this alternative reality where he has no powers, his mother is alive and the Justice League does not exist.
But more importantly, there is a war going on between Atlanteans and Amazons, including Aqua-man and Wonder Woman that is going to destroy the world.
This movie was quite the first adaptation of a popular comic-book event from comics called Flashpoint which made a huge craze amongst comic fans.
The film focusses on Flash’s journey from learning what if he uses his time-altering capabilities, how bad things can go, and then he gets to finally fix them but only after facing the end of the world.
Overall plot or narrative of the film is basically a cautionary tale about superheroes playing god and what the consequences will be, if they do.
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One brings a mystery-driven Batman storyline, highly compelling and filled with a lot of surprises.
Comes from the artist Tim Sale, and writer Jeff Loeb, the brooding, quiet and most mysterious Batman comes to life with this movie.
The story basically nods to the detective-roots of Batman’s character rather than the usual action-packed or gadget-gizmo aliens and monsters-fighting Batman.
Overall plot of the movie is based on the Caped Crusader’s pursuit to find a Holiday-themed serial killer who is terrifying Gotham with killings one after another.
This killer starts killing members after members from the Falcone crime family creating tension more than ever before between them and their crime rivals, Maronis.
In order to find this mystery killer, Batman has to put himself in cross-fire between these two fighting crime families, making things even more dangerous than ever.
What makes this a great Batman film, is how honest it stays with the theme as well as the tone of the Batman’s detective version.
The film primarily emphasizes Batman’s detective skills and obviously proves him the smartest detective ever, at least towards the end.
Even though Batman’s strength to bust skulls, kick bad guys and crack limbs has always been a great deal, one of his greatest appeals has to be his ability to strategize and defeat his opponents through his skills of deduction, resilience and cleverness.
So, that’s something that is astonishingly focussed in this movie, making it one of the best Batman movies on-screen including live-action ones as well, as matter of fact.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
This has to be the part of the best DC animated movies ever! The epic conclusion to the DC Animated Movie Universe which began from the Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
This film is essentially the Avengers: Endgame of DCAMU, perhaps the closest thing DC has ever come across to a tight and well-knitted shared universe in the likes of MCU, even being in animated form.
Overall this story arc begins in the film Justice League: War where all the heroes come together to meet each other for the first time in the time of epic crisis against Darksied’s evil plans.
And that storyline was further revisited in Reign of the Superman and finally concluded in this film only.
So certainly, it will be best if you watch those films first, before getting to this one, and even better if you can watch atleast few more movies in DCAMU, atleast to see the introduction or origin of these characters.
This one is all about the Justice League trying and failing horribly to prevent an offensive strategy to the Intergalactic warlord Darkseid at his own planet Apokolips.
That turned out to be a horrifying disaster, missing superheroes, captives and many dead, also made Earth all ravaged, destroyed for the most part.
And now after two years, some rebels from this post-apolcalyptic world get together to counter-attack and take control in their hands.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is another Batman animated movie that doesn’t shy away from being brutal and dark.
This movie is the closest to the darkness that you might have seen in the Batman Beyond series, and it gets disturbing as well.
As the title suggests, this movie marks the return of the clown prince of Gotham, the Joker but not in a way that you might have expected.
He returned but not in a physical form, somehow, Joker managed to find a way to live without going into his physical body which makes this film even more alarming and gut-wrentching.
It becomes really interesting to see the Joker leveling up his game in a totally different direction.
So this time, instead of using his Joker toxins, he rather installs a microchip in Tim Drake, the former Robin where he loaded his consciousness into that chip to control his actions.
You are going to see the Joker, the crueler, unhinged and more diabolical than ever, atleast in any of the DC animated movies.
And that also voiced by the legendary Mark Hamill, taking the joker’s menace to the next level, even too much for Batman himself.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Well, what could you say about this masterpiece from the DC animated movie universe that already hasn’t been said?
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is said to be one of the best Batman animated movies or just one of the best best animated or even just Batman movies ever.
This movie, first of all, became what even more cemented the excellence of the performance from Mark Hamill for playing Joker’s voice, something we already appreciated and loved in Batman: The Animated Series, elevating the show itself.
Then, you see great writers behind the movie, bringing the style of animated series to the big screen, all from the directors Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski.
For this movie, a legendary team of writers, director and producers got together hoping to make something extraordinary, and that’s exactly what happened. The film turns out to be what you can call simply the best Batman storylines ever.
This is good for many reasons but the topmost has to be the detailing, nuance and original grit of Batman lore that brought to the story, makes it stand out.
Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay
Somewhat based upon the US Black Ops unit in the DC universe, is their own Task Force X or popularly known as the Suicide Squad.
This is a team made up of villains and criminals such as Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Bronze Tiger, King Shark, Captain Boomerang and others put together by Amanda Waller, the handler of the team.
In this movie, this team was sent to retrieve a mystical card that apparently can grant people abilityto cheat damnation. But the mission becomes quite complicated when few members of this team want the card for themselves.
So this movie turns out to be a success, and also something that some fans expected Batman: Assault on Arkham to be that Suicide Squad 2016 movie.
Basically, the film works to bright the protagonist out of these reluctant team players, villains bringing much more grittier and darker tone even than comics.