The following is just my opinion. You may disagree or you may think that I have forgotten a film or two. If so I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment or ask questions and I will get back to you promptly.
10. Green Lantern: First Flight
Green Lantern: First Flight is a 2009 direct-to-video animated film adaptation centering on the first mission of Hal Jordan (Christopher Meloni), the first human inducted into the Green Lantern Corps, the film is written by veteran DC Comics animation collaborator Alan Burnett, produced by Bruce Timm, and directed by Lauren Montgomery. This movie strays a bit from the comics, especially at the end, but the more I watch it the more I like it. I just look at it as an Elseworlds tale.
9. Superman / SHAZAM!: The Return of Black Adam
Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam is a 2010 short animated film, directed by Joaquim Dos Santos and written by Michael Jelenic, featuring George Newbern and Jerry O’Connell reprising their roles from Justice League Unlimited as Superman and SHAZAM! who cooperate to do battle with the powerful Black Adam. But it also comes with DC Showcase shorts of The Spectre, Jonah Hex, Green Arrow and Black Canary. I loved this collection of shorts. I’ve watched it many times. The only reason it is at #9 is that they are shorts and not full length features.
8. Superman: Unbound
Superman: Unbound is a 2013 animated direct to video film based on the 2008 comic book story arc “Superman: Brainiac” by Geoff Johns. It was directed by James Tucker and scripted by Bob Goodman. Everything Geoff Johns touches turns to gold. Let’s do a short list: Green Lantern, The Flash, Teen Titans, Aquaman and yes, Superman!! And that’s to say nothing of the groundbreaking crossover events that he has written. So when they base a movie off of a Geoff Johns book they are striking oil!! This was a great film and an awesome adaptation.
7. Justice League: Doom
Justice League: Doom is a 2012 direct-to-video animated film, loosely based on “JLA: Tower of Babel”, a 2000 comic book storyline by writer Mark Waid. The film’s script was adapted by writer Dwayne McDuffie, and it is directed by Lauren Montgomery. A sequel to Crisis on Two Earths, the story involves the Legion of Doom, specifically Vandal Savage, gets a hold of Batman’s plans to take down the Justice League should the need ever arise. Not only does the League have to deal with Batman’s plans and the Legion of Doom, but they have to deal with the fact that Batman had these plans tom begin with. It was a great film. It really showcases both Batman and the League.
6. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a 2012-2013 two-part direct-to-video animated film It is an adaptation of the 1986 comic book The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. It was directed by Jay Oliva. I thought this was a great adaptation. It was about as close as your gonna get to the DKR story without reading the book. I really enjoyed the voice acting and the animation style was reminiscent of Frank Miller’s work. I find that nostalgic movies rank pretty high with me.
5. Justice League: War
Justice League: War is a direct-to-video animated film. It is yet another Geoff Johns adaptation from the story Justice League: Origin. The film was directed by Jay Oliva and scripted by Heath Corson. It is the first movie from the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series that is part of a new shared continuity, the DC Animated Movie Universe. This is a fairly faithful adaptation of Johns’ original work and it’s awesome. The Justice League, Darkseid, what else can you ask for? The first meeting and joining of the group that would become the Justice League.
4. Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is a 2015 direct-to-video animated film. The film is loosely based on the Throne of Atlantis story arc from written by, you guessed it, the almighty Geoff Johns and serves as a standalone sequel to 2014’s Justice League: War. In the film, Arthur Curry, a half-Atlantean prince, discovers his heritage and aids the Justice League in preventing his half-brother Ocean Master from taking over Metropolis. I friggin love Aquaman, especially now that Geoff Johns has got his hands on him. This film was amazing. I would have liked to see a bit more of Arthur’s past, but it was a great film and really fun to watch.
3. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is a direct-to-video animated film adaptation of the 2011 comic book crossover event called, Flashpoint, by the great Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert. See what I mean about everything Geoff Johns touches turning to gold? The film is scripted by Jim Krieg and directed by Jay Oliva – who apparently directed many of my favorite films. This was one of DC’s greatest event in my opinion – but, to be fair, I LOVE The Flash and I love time travel stories. It’s a fun area to explore and this one does it well. Though, it really is more of a Flash movie than a Justice League movie, I love the hell out of it.
2. Batman: Year One
Batman: Year One is a 2011 animated film, based on the four-issue story arc of the same name by the great Frank Miller in 1987. This is honestly THE best adaptation from the comic that I have ever seen. They literally went panel for panel, line for line. They got the look and the feel absolutely perfect!! I love this story more for its focus on Jim Gordon – one of my favorite characters. This isn’t just Batman: Year One, it’s Jim Gordon: Year One with a bit of Catwoman thrown in. You gotta love the source material, and if you liked the source material then you will love this film.
1. Batman: Under the Red Hood
Batman: Under the Red Hood is a 2010 animated, direct-to-video film produced by Warner Bros. Animation. The film stars one of the best voice over casts ever assembled. These guys rocked it. There was Bruce Greenwood as Batman, Jensen Ackles as the Red Hood (amazing performance), John DiMaggio as the Joker, Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing (best Nightwing I’ve heard), Jason Isaacs as Ra’s al Ghul, and Wade Williams as Black Mask. I think that the brilliance of the film though comes from the screenplay, which was written by Judd Winick, who also wrote the “Under the Hood” run in the comics that this film was based on. When you can get the original author it just makes things awesome. This is not only the best Batman film, not only the best DC animated film, but one of my favorite movies PERIOD!!
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Written By: Michael Nunneley