DC Universe or Marvel? That is one of the hardest questions that you can ask a superhero fan. And the battle between these two titans is one that is expected to go on for as long as they are churning out superhero movies. It’s an infinity war.
But, although fans are unable to agree which of the two is generally better, there is one thing we can all agree on. DC Universe is the undisputed king when it comes to creating animated superhero films. And they have created so many of them, that you would not even know where to start.
So to guide you I have compiled a list of 5 of the best DC animated movies. I will tell you one thing though. All the films are awesome and this is just a starter pack. Once you are done with the list make sure to go through all the other movies.
Also, I will try and be a little diverse with my list to include different superheroes. I don’t know why DC is so keen in exploiting just two of their superheroes, Batman and Superman when they have such a rich pool to choose from. Right on to it.
1. Batman: The Dark Night Returns Part 1 and 2
I am giving you two movies in place of one. How’s that? I love that DC decided to stretch this movie into two movies because it would have been an injustice if they had compressed it into just one. I mean even watching the second part you wish it had been made into two parts too.
In the movie, Batman is 55 years old and has already retired from crime fighting. But now without their dark knight, all hell has broken loose in Gotham. An army of mutants has risen and continues to terrorize the citizens. But the bat is never too old for action and so he rises one more time for his city.
However so much as changed since he was last in action. A new commissioner has been installed and from the looks of it, she is not the Bat’s biggest fun.
The town’s people are also split with some of them not happy with the method that Batman is applying to cleanse the city. But the methods are working and Gotham is experiencing peace again. Unfortunately, that does not go down well with the US government who believe the Bat is making them look incompetent. So they send Superman to put an end to him.
Meanwhile back at Gotham, the only other man who completes Batman movies has escaped prison. You guessed right. It’s the joker. Batman vs Superman and the Joker. What else do you need in a movie?
The action is thrilling, brutal and fluid in a way that can only be executed by DC. And so many unexpected plot twists that you will be dazed. Oh and the ending. You may need some few minutes to fully comprehend what just happened.
2. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
At least fans of the red-suited speedster have one animated title to brag about. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox focuses on The Flash as the main protagonist but it also features several cameo appearances from popular superheroes.
We all have that one thing that we would like to change about our past and for Barry Allen, it is the night that his mother was murdered. However, in his attempt to go back in time he causes an alteration in the timeline and ends up in another earth that is completely different from his earth and with his powers gone. Here, the justice league does not exist.
Superman is a captive of the government, the green lantern has not yet come to be and Bruce Wayne died. So instead, his father Thomas Wayne is the Batman. The earth has also been ravaged by a great war between Aquaman’s Atlantis and Wonder Woman’s Amazon and it’s in the brink of destruction.
The flash is now charged with uniting these heroes into what they should ideally be and also work to gain his powers back so that he can go back to his real timeline.
The character execution in this movie is excellent and if you like movies with some darkness theme then this movie will over deliver. The soulless music chosen as the background music does a great job to complement this theme.
The flashpoint paradox may just be the most violent animated movie from DC. It shows the dark side of each of your favourite heroes that you will find yourself creeped out even by the beautiful Amazonians.
When Steve Trevor, a US fighter jet captain crash lands in the hidden land of the Amazons, he triggers a set of events that lead up to one hell of a DC comic animation.
The Amazons live on Themyscira island where they have been granted immortality and charged with guarding Ares the war god. However, Ares manages to escape and the queen’s daughter, Princess Diana, volunteers to find him and also return the captain to mortal land.
This movie addresses the wonder woman comic adequately and accurately in a way that I am sure will win the superhero more fans. I know because it got me. It’s not another children movie with cheesy characterizations that will have you rolling your eyes throughout the entire movie.
Also with the kind of brutal decapitations going on in the movie and some bold words used you get the feeling that the movie is meant for a mature audience.
The action is over the top and you get to see wonder woman as the fierce warrior she is and not just another beautiful woman carrying a whip. Though there is still the romantic aspect of it that involves the love which blossoms between Wonder Woman and the captain.
Ares makes for a great villain in his dark quest of starting a war meant to end humanity. In this movie, DC has not only managed to pull off a story of a less revered superhero but they have also turned her into a legend.
Here is a spoiler alert. Wonder Woman was not born she was moulded from sand. Which has to be the funniest part for me in the movie since as a child, my parents made me believe that it’s how I was made.
4. All-Star Superman
What would it take for Superman to be immune to Kryptonite, his ultimate weakness? As it turns out what he needs is more radiation from the sun.
As Superman tries to rescue a team of humans that had gone for an exploration mission on the sun, he becomes exposed to so much radiation that he becomes invisible. He gains new powers and even Kryptonite is not enough to stop him.
There is one problem though. The radiation is also destroying him on a cellular level and will soon kill him. Superman being the man he is decides that his last days would be best spent with his Loise Lane, his one true love. And in the grandest gesture of all time, he gives her superpowers as her birthday gift.
Now with the Man of Steel dying, Lex Luthor feels the time is right for him to begin his plans to dominate over the world. Can the strongest superhero of all time use his powers one last time to stop him?
If there is one thing that this movie succeeds in doing, it’s their character development. You get to know why all the characters are doing what they are doing. Including the main reason, Lex hates Superman so much which makes for some heartfelt moments.
The creators of the movie managed to keep it light deviating from the dark theme that is prominent on many DC animations so it should be a happy watch. The way Clark Kent switches into superman in some of the scenes is especially funny.
But even with all these credits, I have to say that this movie feels a bit rushed. Too many scenes compressed into just 75 minutes.
5. Green Lantern: First Flight
The Green Lantern is one of the other most underrated heroes in the DC Universe but you won’t help falling in love with him in this movie.
The green lanterns are an intergalactic police force that is charged with keeping order in the universe but when Hal Jordan accepts a ring from a dying Alien he has no idea what he is signing up for.
The guardians of the Universe who are the people in charge of the lanterns also do not have much trust in his capabilities and so they assign him to Sinestro, their most revered lantern for training. But what they don’t know is that Sinestro is not the man they think he is and he harbours great ambitions for power.
You will notice that the movie does not dwell much on Hal’s origin story but that’s just because they covered that in the Justice League: The New Frontier.
Nevertheless, they still do a solid retelling in the opening scene and you will have no questions regarding how Hal came to exists as the green lantern. The action scenes in the movie are engrossing and the character voice-over has been excellently executed to give this movie great fluidity.
Although Hals character has been underdeveloped, the makers do a great job in bringing Sinestro’s character to life. At some point, you stop seeing him as the typical villain and you can almost see the logic in his thinking. His thought process justifies his actions.
To coup it all this movie is highly entertaining, features some well-cut fight scenes and will provoke your thinking in a huge way. In fact, I am of the opinion that the PG-13 rating is not because of the gore or obscenities but because it would be meaningless to the younger kids who would not grasp its depth.
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