One of the most anticipated movies of 2022 is The Batman, which promises to follow in the gritty, dark ethos that was paved with Christopher Nolan’s classic Dark Knight trilogy, it will even feature Batman’s original main theme composed by Michael Giacchino.
While the DCEU has been trying (and so far, not succeeding) in matching the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the film world, one strength that DC has ignored is the animation department. DC Films has created some truly outstanding animated films, there are a few you should see before paying your hard-earned money to see Robert Pattinson kick butt as the new Dark Knight.
Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)
This 2008 edition saw the producers split up Batman’s story into six different segments. Having that many storylines can be jarring for a first-time DC watcher, but the stories do come together to make an interesting anthology film displaying Batman’s skills as the world’s best detective and crime fighter.
Batman: Gotham Knight holds a respectable 75% approving rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it received mostly favorable reviews from critics, making it a must-see for anyone looking to see what Batman is all about before seeing the live-action version.
Gen 13 (2000)
A little-known gem within DC’s catalog, Gen 13 started as a comic that was first released in 1994 and published its lost volume in 2011. In between, DC decided to make an animated film about Gen 13, releasing it in 2000. The film follows Caitlin Fairchild, who receives a scholarship from the National Security Committee (which should have been a red flag from the start).
Unbeknownst to Fairchild, the school that she enrolls in is concluding a project known as “Gen 13,” which performs genetic experiments on their student population to turn them into super humans. Gen 13 certainly is a hidden gem that stand out among the more popular DC animations.
Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006)
Superman has had to fight his share of ultra-powerful villains during his time on Earth, but in 2006, he may have met his match when the brawn matched the brains. In 2006’s Superman: Brainiac Attacks, Superman finds himself having to fight off Lex Luther and Brainiac, the latter an extraterrestrial cyborg who is one of the Justice League’s (and therefore, Superman’s) foremost enemies.
This animated film is regarded as one of the better DC Animated Films released in the ’00s and will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire 76-minute runtime.
Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo (2006)
Unlike Gen 13, Teen Titans have always been a favorite among the DC faithful. While the HBO show Titans is the DC’s current take on the young heroes, one of their earlier films to make it to the made-for-TV circuit was Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, which, as the title applies, finds comic’s favorite teen superheroes facing off against a new big bad in Tokyo.
Coming out when the original Teen Titans cartoon show was at the height of its fame, Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo got a premiere on the Cartoon Network in 2006, and was a rating powerhouse for the channel.
Batman: Year One (2011)
In 1987, Frank Miller released Batman: Year One at Comic-Con, a four-issue comic that received praise when it was released, and still, to this day, is considered a classic among comic book fans.
24 years later, DC adapted the legendary comic into a 64-minute animated film, and the film adaptation, which follows the rise of Bruce Wayne becoming The Dark Knight, was equally praised for staying close to its source material. Batman: Year One is a must-watch for all Batman fans.
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (2018)
The Suicide Squad live-action films may have been a mixed bag (though it has attracted a legion of hardcore fans), but the animated film that was released in 2018 is hailed as a classic, with an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay had a strong voice-acting cast, which included Christian Slater, Tara Strong, and Vanessa Williams. A lot of DC fans prefer this film over the live-action Suicide Squad movies any day of the week, and rightfully so.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
In 1993, Warner Bros. made history. It was the year the legacy studio company released their first DC Animated Universe film, and it was only right that the first in what would be a chain of great DC animated films would be based on The Dark Knight. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm follows Batman as he reunites with a former lover, Andrea Beaumont, while also facing a criminal who has set its target on killing Gotham City’s major crime bosses.
Filled with twists and turns, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a classic DC animated film in every sense of the phrase. This film is a must-see to get you pumped for The Batman.
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