These 20 DC Animated Movies Should Be On Your Watch List

·7 min read

As a kid of the '90s, I loved watching my after-school and Saturday morning cartoons, Batman: The Animated Series was always a part of that ritual. Of course, there were days I missed and it sucked not knowing what the episode before was like but when I watched, I was invested. So when it came to animated DC movies all I knew were Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero. Years later, it wasn't until a friend had pointed out some of the newer animated movies that I realized just how many I had missed.

DC's Justice League and other DC characters in the background as the intro for the DC logo

With HBO Max having all the DC films and shows, I figured why not point out some good DC animated movies that should entertain any DC fan or newcomer.

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1.Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1992)

Phantasm getting distracted from attacking someone

If you ever grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series you know how big of a deal this movie was to fans. The story follows a series of mob boss murders that result in Batman being framed for it all. This is the doing of a new mystery vigilante, Phantasm, whose type of justice is a lot different than Gotham City's Dark Knight.

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2.Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998)

Mr. Freeze looking down intimidatingly with his bright red eyes

I remember having to rent this from Blockbuster so I could watch it, now there's HBO Max so you don't have to worry about late fees. With the success of Mask of Phantasm, WB greenlit Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero which follows Mr. Freeze attempting to save his dying wife at any cost while Batman and Robin are on the hunt for him.

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3.Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)

Terry McGinnis' Batman grabbing the Jokers wrist about to turn him in

Mark Hamill's Joker makes his return to take on Gotham's new Dark Knight. I loved the nostalgia from hearing the Joker that I grew up with as a little kid, and the way he's featured in this movie was really great to see.

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4.Wonder Woman (2009)

Wonder Woman standing in the reflecting pool in Washington D.C.

Similar to the Wonder Woman you've seen with Gal Gadot, this movie takes you through her origin and her introduction to Steve Trevor. Although this movie is presented in modern times, the action pieces are just as exciting as the live-action.

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5.Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)

Hal Jordan with his fellow Lanterns speaking to the council

It doesn't feature Ryan Reynolds, but I thought it delivered a better story than the live-action. First Light follows Hal Jordan's entry into the Green Lantern Corps and the responsibilities it comes with. Great for anybody who wants an intro to Green Lantern and the power his ring comes with.

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6.Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009)

Superman and Batman looking as villains approach

As a fan of buddy cop movies from the '80s and '90s, seeing Batman and Superman team up to take down Lex Luthor was pretty cool. The only thing is Lex Luthor has been elected President so that makes things complicated.

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7.Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)

Red Hood looking back on a motorcycle

This film introduces us to Red Hood, a new vigilante who doesn't share Batman's views on not killing criminals. The story follows events after A Death in the Family, where Robin is murdered at the hands of the Joker and what that means to the Batman family of vigilantes.

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8.Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)

Batman looking down

This film follows the events after Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and introduces us to Kara, also known as Supergirl. Her arrival to Earth not only brings a new dynamic around our two caped heroes but also brings a new danger in the shape of Darkseid.

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9.All-Star Superman (2011)

Superman arm wrestling two guys at the same time

After Superman is poisoned from solar radiation, he has a new lease on life knowing his inevitable end is on its way. With that new revelation, Lex Luthor makes other plans while on Death Row. The fact they made Superman invincible but at the cost of his life makes for a movie with some stakes that we usually don't get.

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10.Batman: Year One (2011)

Batman looking intimidating as he stops some thieves

Based on Frank Miller's 1987 classic story arc, we see a young Batman in his first year of crime-fighting, trying to clean up the city that took away his parents. It has a phenomenal voice cast as Gotham's Ben McKenzie plays Bruce Wayne and Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston voices a younger Jim Gordon.

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11.Justice League: Doom (2012)

The Justice League about to face off with the villains

The CW did a version of a Vandal Savage arc for Legends of Tomorrow but I do feel this one just lands a little better when it comes to the overall story. You see Savage is able to get his hands on all of the Justice Leagues' weaknesses, but he does so by stealing it from one of the members themselves.

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12.Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 & 2 (2012 & 2013)

Batman bleeding under his cowl as Carrie Kelley's Robin looks at him worried

I didn't separate both films since they're just one storyline broken into two movies. Another Frank Miller comic that also inspired the 2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we see that this film followed the actual source material a lot closer. The grittiness and overall dark tone of the comic was really well represented in the movie. We see a Batman who is dealing with the death of his last sidekick, Jason Todd's Robin, which leads him to retire and leave Gotham City to the criminals again.

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13.Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)

The Flash running towards something

After messing with the timeline, the Flash returns home to an alternate world where some of his Justice League comrades are at war with each other and Bruce Wayne's Batman is nowhere to be found. The implications of the Flash's actions show why no matter the tragedy, you can't mess with time without causing a butterfly effect.

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14.Justice League: War (2014)

The Justice League gathered at the White House

With the timeline being restored in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Justice League: War was the first introduction to Geoff John's New 52 story arc that started in 2011. We get to see the origin of our beloved Justice League members and how they come together to face a greater evil in the form of Darkseid.

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15.Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)

Batman with his back turned to an officer pointing his gun to his bac from his squad car

This is essentially a Suicide Squad movie but with enough Batman appearances to put his name in the title. The two are on their own paths with Batman looking to find a bomb planted by the Joker, and the Suicide Squad looking to retrieve some vital information the Riddler has stolen.

DC, HBO Max

16.Justice League Dark (2017)

Constantine using his magic with his hand glowing

When the supernatural is involved, the Justice League alone won't be enough. enter Justice League Dark. This movie rounds up some of DC's most gifted supernatural heroes to come and save the world from the demon Etrigan.

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17.Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)

Batman bleeding from his nose

In an alternate universe where Batman takes place in the victorian age of Gotham City, we see the hero have to face off with one of history's worst serial killers, Jack the Ripper. The spin that they put on all your favorite Batman characters was interesting to see, but the violence was kicked up a notch which gave this movie an R rating.

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18.The Death of Superman (2018)

Lois Lane and Superman standing next to each other as Lois looks at her watch and Superman smirks

Although 2007's Superman: Doomsday already explored this comic book story, the animation of the 2018 version in the New 52 realm I think just delivers a little bit more impact when it comes to the battle. We also see some of the Justice League members face off against the big bad in a way we didn't get to see in the 2007 version.

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19.Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)

The Justice League gathered at their headquarters

This sequel to 2017's Justice League Dark shows our heroes facing off with Darkseid. Things end differently this time around as Darkseid is able to finally conquer Earth and it takes the effort of all of our favorite heroes to try and defeat the ruler of Apokolips.

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20.Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One & Part Two (2021)

Batman with his back turned to Harvey Dent and Jim Gordon

The iconic series written by Jeph Loeb finally got its animated movie and I was excited to see how close the film stayed to the source material. Broken up into two parts, the story follows Batman chasing down a serial killer who has been killing specifically on holidays. The whole rogue's gallery is on display for this one, and it doesn't disappoint.

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What did you think of my list? Are there some I left out that are your favorites? Comment down below and let me know!

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