The DCEU has had a rough time finding their footing. They can’t compete with the live-action universe Marvel has created. There are many possible reasons to explain why the DCEU is struggling, but all those reasons lead to one outcome: disappointed fans. But fear not because there is one area that DC has been dominating over Marvel — animated movies. With a massive catalog of animated features, any fan let down by the DCEU will surely find a movie to help ease their pain. Below are seven films perfect for fans to start the healing process.
Green Lantern: First Flight
Not even the willpower of Ryan Reynolds could save Green Lantern from crashing and burning. That’s where Green Lantern: First Flight swoops in to save the day. This animated tale is a perfect introduction to Hal Jordan and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps. Unlike Green Lantern, this version wisely covers Hal’s origin story within the first few minutes of the movie, getting it out of the way quickly.
Things really soar once they get past the origin story, turning this movie into a classic buddy cop thriller, but in space. Hal Jordan teams up with Sinestro as the two set off to solve the murder of fellow Green Lantern, Abin Sur. Viewers get to watch these reluctant partners chase down leads and suspects across the galaxy, complete with witty banter. But like every cop movie, the case is never that easy to solve.
One of the biggest moments to ever happen in the history of comics was the death of Superman. Sadly, when it came time for this moment to tug at our heartstrings in Batman v Superman, it fizzled out and lacked the emotional impact found in the original story. However, Superman: Doomsday adapts the iconic storyline into a bloody, brutal, and tragic story about Superman’s last stand.
Viewers get a condensed version of Superman’s fight with Doomsday, the impact his death has on Metropolis, and then finally his triumphant return. It’s not a direct translation of the comic story, — it takes a few liberties here and there — but it works so well and doesn’t lose the emotional impact driving this unforgettable story.
Batman: Under the Red Hood
It can be tricky to introduce Batman’s wide range of allies and villains into a movie, but sometimes, all you need is the right story. Under the Red Hood dives deep into Batman’s past as one of his greatest mistakes come back to haunt him. This movie shows how effortless it can be to open up the world of Batman on-screen by anchoring it to a core mystery.
Viewers will be introduced to many of Batman’s villains and allies as he searches for clues about the identity of the mysterious Red Hood. Whether fans know the Red Hood’s true identity or not going into this film, the story and its enigma are still highly entertaining. This movie would make an excellent template for future live-action Batman films.
A story like Superman/Batman: Apocalypse would have been a great choice to adapt for the live-action universe. When a mysterious rocket ship crash lands in Gotham City, Batman and Superman are surprised to find it contains Kara, Superman’s cousin. But it’s not a happy family reunion as Kara has caught the attention of Darkseid.
This film offers fans a great introduction to Supergirl as well as using her as a way to bring Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman together. Plus, we get to see Darkseid as the big bad of this movie. He isn’t merely trying to destroy the earth. He’s trying to take away Superman’s only Kryptonian family and well, as you can probably guess, it doesn’t go well for Darkseid.
The Dark Knight Returns
Let them fight! Until they find out both of their mothers are named Martha, and then they become friends. That’s not exactly what people were expecting from Batman v Superman, a movie that was heavily inspired by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. This story, which is considered one of the greatest Batman stories ever written, examines all aspects of Batman, including his relationship with Superman.
The animated version of The Dark Knight Returns is a direct translation of the original story, but hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Fans will get to experience the epic title fight between these two titans as well as a history of the characters and what leads these friends to a final showdown.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
What happens when you mix the fastest man alive with a story about time travel? Well, you get one of the most exciting Flash stories perfectly adapted in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. When Barry Allen uses his powers to travel back in time and save his mother, he inadvertently creates an alternate timeline.
In this bizarre world, Thomas Wayne is Batman, the government has imprisoned Superman, and Wonder Woman is at war with Aquaman. The Flash must find a way to correct this drastically different timeline — fast. Viewers get to enjoy an existing what-if tale in this movie. Plus, you won’t need to have an in-depth knowledge of the DC Universe because the Flash will be your tour guide.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
Batman’s latest portrayal in the DCEU films has been controversial among fans. They chose to let their Batman stand out by having him kill. Not a good idea. So, for those looking for something familiar but still completely fresh and new for the caped crusader, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker will scratch that itch perfectly.
Set in the year 2040, it follows a retired Bruce Wayne as he mentors Terry McGinnis, his new bat protégé. Everything is running smoothly for the new Batman team until an old enemy makes his terrifying return to Gotham. With an intriguing mystery, excellent animation, and stellar voice acting from Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, this is a must-watch. Be sure to check out the darker, uncut version of the movie. You won’t regret it.