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Western Animation / DC Universe Animated Original Movies

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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 '90s 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, going Direct to Video — though the consistently high production values make them akin to Original Video Animation in the anime field instead of what "direct-to-video" usually implies in the West.

Many of the DC Universe Animated Original Moviesnote  have the advantage of having independent continuities, allowing the creative team of each to experiment with new voice actors, art styles, and so forth. Several of the films are adapted from notable storylines from the Post-Crisis comics continuity with several liberties taken while others feature an original premise. Relatively recent films are based on iconic standalone graphic novels and miniseries, like DC: The New Frontier and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns — which themselves often existed in independent continuities. Beginning with Justice League: War, a significant number of films have taken place in a Shared Universe, all adapting material based on the New 52 continuity. note  Nicknamed the DC Animated Movie Universe for lack of an official term, these films also feature elements of the DC Rebirth and Post-Crisis continuity. Following the conclusion of the DCAMU in 2020, a new shared universe nicknamed the Tomorrowverse began with Superman: Man of Tomorrow, which unlike its predecessor has so far chosen to tell original stories alongside adaptations of post-Crisis comics, as opposed to basing most of its material from one specific era of the comics.

Several of these animated works reflect the art styles and designs of individual artists who drew their comic book sources (like Darwyn Cooke for The New Frontier and Frank Miller for The Dark Knight Returns); Batman: Gotham Knight was an Anthology Film produced by multiple anime studios. Other works show strong influence from Bruce Timm, the main artist behind the DCAU who maintains a supervisor/producer role and returns to art duties for a few of them. The New 52-based films and the DC Showcase shorts (a companion series usually included as bonus items on the DVD and Blu-ray releases) have a consistent blend of Timm Style and Animesque mainly from artist Phil Bourassa, who also did the Young Justice (2010) animated series, often paired with the animation of companies like Dr Movie, Moi Animation, Studio 4°C and The Answer Studio.

Another notable aspect of the films is that some are more Darker and Edgier than any preceding animation. PG-13 ratings for violence are common and sensuality is ramped up as well. Several films have come close to being rated R before edits, but only 7th films and one short have gotten the R rating so far.

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  • Constantine: City of Demons (2018): An animated web series spinoff of Justice League Dark focusing on John Constantine. It can be seen for free on CW Seed. Later extended and re-edited into a single movie (with an R Rating) similar to the web series Vixen and Freedom Fighters: The Ray, both of which are set in the CW's Arrowverse (and also have the "Bourassa style").
  • Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (2018): A comic book sequel to the film of the same name.
  • The Death of Superman: The Wake (2018): A tie-in comic to The Death of Superman.
  • DC Showcase – Constantine: The House of Mystery (2022): A short taking place after Apokolips War, where Constantine must face repercussions for actions he took.






Web series:

DC Showcase shorts:


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