In the beginning, there were DC Comics
heroes, and it was good. Then there were the Super Friends
and similar shows
, and the public was exposed to some of their favorite heroes in animation for the first time. In The Nineties
we were introduced to them all over again with the DC Animated Universe
. Now we have the next era of animated excitement for Batman, Superman, and company. The DC Universe Animated Original Movies have the advantage of having independent continuities, allowing the creative team of each to experiment with new voice actors, art styles, and so forth. This approach has been criticized, particularly if a certain portrayal of a character is popular with viewers, only for it never to be seen again as continuity reboots once more with the next film. But considering most of the DCU films are based upon standalone graphic novels and miniseries - which themselves often existed in independent continuities - this is perhaps unavoidable.
Another notable aspect of the DCU films is many of them are Darker and Edgier
than TV series cartoons. PG-13 ratings for violence are common (several have come close to being rated R before edits) and sensuality is ramped up as well.
DC has also produced DC Showcase
, a companion series of shorts featuring often lesser-known characters such as The Spectre
, Green Arrow
, and Jonah Hex
, as well as some better-known characters like Catwoman
. The shorts are usually included as bonus items on the DVD and Blu-ray releases.
The DC Universe Animated Original Movies are:
- Superman: Doomsday (2007): Superman has a fatal encounter with a mysterious monster known as Doomsday. An adaptation of The Death and Return of Superman.
- Justice League: The New Frontier (2008): Test pilot and Korean War veteran Hal Jordan becomes the superhero Green Lantern and cooperates with several other heroes to take down a colossal monster amid the political backdrop of the Red Scare. An adaptation of DC: The New Frontier.
- Batman Gotham Knight (2008): Batman takes on several supervillains in a series of vignettes set in the Nolan film universe.
- Wonder Woman (2009): Wonder Woman must venture into man's world with Air Force pilot Steve Trevor in tow to prevent Ares from taking over the world.
- Green Lantern: First Flight (2009): An alternate telling of Hal Jordan's origin as Green Lantern, depicting his induction into the Corps as he and his mentor Sinestro are embroiled in a conspiracy to take down Oa using the Yellow Element.
- Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009): Lex Luthor becomes President of the United States and puts a bounty on Superman's head after framing him for the murder of Secret Service agent Metallo. An adaptation of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
- Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010): Upon the discovery of a Mirror Universe where Lex Luthor leads a band of freedom fighters and the world cowers in fear of the superpowered Crime Syndicate, the Justice League of America must venture across the dimensional barrier to save both worlds from the Crime Syndicate's machinations.
- Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010): A mysterious figure claiming the Joker's original nom de guerre from before his chemical bath emerges in Gotham and attempts to take down the city's underworld from the inside out, taunting Batman all the while. An adaptation of Batman: Under the Hood.
- Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010): Superman's teenage cousin from Krypton arrives and is taught the ways of Earth by Superman. Darkseid, seeing an opportunity, attempts to acquire her as a pawn. An adaptation of Superman/Batman: Supergirl.
- All-Star Superman (2011): When overexposure to the sun spells Superman's imminent death, he takes time to set his affairs in order while Luthor continues to scheme. An adaptation of All-Star Superman.
- Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011): A new recruit to the Green Lantern Corps is told of the history of the Corps through a series of vignettes telling the tales of various notable Green Lanterns across time and space.
- Batman: Year One (2011): Bruce Wayne returns from his life of training to attempt to solve the problem of crime in Gotham while Jim Gordon contends with deep corruption in the police department. An adaptation of Batman: Year One.
- Justice League: Doom (2012): Contingency plans developed by Batman, designed to disable every member of the Justice League of America, are stolen and given a fatal twist by a cabal of supervillains. An adaptation of JLA: Tower of Babel.
- Superman vs. the Elite (2012): Superman is forced to question his methods when a team of superheroes who are willing to kill makes their debut to worldwide approval. An adaptation of Superman: What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2012, 2013): An elderly Batman must come out of retirement when an enormous street gang threatens to tear Gotham apart. A two-part adaptation of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
- Superman Unbound (2013): An alien cyborg known as Brainiac appears and attempts to shrink and steal the entire city of Metropolis in a repeat of what occurred to Kandor on Krypton. An adaptation of Superman: Brainiac.
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013): One morning, the Flash wakes up to find himself in an alternate timeline where he is powerless, Batman freely uses lethal force, Superman is nowhere to be found, and Wonder Woman and Aquaman threaten the world with an all-out war between their nations. An adaptation of Flashpoint.
- Justice League: War (2014): Batman and Green Lantern discover an impending invasion of Earth by Apokolips and put together a team of superheroes to stop it. An adaptation of Justice League: Origin.
- Son of Batman (2014): Ra's al Ghul's daughter, Talia, appears to Batman to reveal that she and Batman have had a child named Damian, and leaves him in his care. An adaptation of Batman & Son.
- Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014): A film set in the Batman: Arkham universe. Several incarcerated supervillains are recruited into a unit named Task Force X by Amanda Waller and tasked with getting back information that the Riddler stole, only for thing to go downhill when the Joker escapes and gets his hands on a dirty bomb.
- Justice League Throne Of Atlantis: The Justice League must contend with an invasion led by Ocean Master, and get help from Aquaman and Mera. An adaptation of Throne Of Atlantis and sequel to Justice League: War.
The DC Showcase Shorts