Tell me about DC comics animated films

DC live action films have been steadily underwhelming and under performing compared to their Marvel brethren. I’m told though that DC owns the animated super hero market. I’ve seen one or two of them over the years that seemed OK, maybe blandly interesting but nothing work writing home about. I know one of them was Superman vs the Elite and I saw most of Justice league: New Frontier. I’m sure I’ve caught parts of some of the others at one time or another.

Are these features generally worth watching? What are the must see films?

Try The Flashpoint Paradox, based on the comics Flashpoint event.

Some are worth watching, some aren’t.

The ones within the DCUAOM universe (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, JL: War, Son of Batman, JL: Throne of Atlantis, Batman vs Robin, Batman: Bad Blood, JL vs Teen Titans, JL Dark, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, and Death of Superman) are all generally good although a couple of them (Throne, BvR, Judas Contract) are a bit forgettable.

Gods and Monsters got some flack for its the ‘evil JL’ concept, but it really wasn’t that. It’s actually very optimistic. The comics tie-ins and Gods and Monsters Chronicles aren’t important to following the movie, but really expand it.

The standalones are a bit over the place.

The Killing Joke attempted to fix one of the major criticisms of the comic (treating Barbara like a prop)…but actually made things worse. It’s not a bad adaptation, if you ignore the prelude with Babs, though.

Superman: Doomsday is terrible. Attempting to get the Death and Return of Superman into a single movie was Not A Good Choice, and it really plays hell with the characters personalities - Superman and Luthor, especially, and most damningly. (Also…THIS MOVIE, not Man of Steel is a good example of Superman not even trying to take a fight out of Metropolis.)

The others based on specific comics, if you liked the original comics story they’re based on, you’ll probably like the movies, and vice versa, though not all of them stick closely to the source (Gotham by Gaslight, in particular, has a huge twist changing the identity of one character completely, and it works very well).

Crisis on Two Earths was meant as a link between the Justice League and JLU cartoons, but was done as a standalone, instead. The origin can still be seen in certain aspects, but it was very successful in creating a standalone movie. I’m a bit uncomfortable with a couple character deaths (or, rather, the other characters reactions to them), but that’s a minor complaint.

Batman and Harley Quinn was flawed, but watchable… (There’s some discussion about whether it’s in the DCAU or not.)

The ‘Knight’ anthologies are both pretty good - I prefer Emerald Knights to Dark Knight (the latter being set in the Nolanverse), but they’re both enjoyable.

Assault on Arkham is worth watching, even if you haven’t played the Arkham Asylum games.

The Wonder Woman and Green Lantern movies are both quite good - GL: First Flight especially stands well in light of the live action movie (and I say this as someone who generally liked GL), while WW suffers a bit in comparison to its live action counterpart (but is still quite enjoyable).

For some reason, not considered part of the DCUAOM line, despite being animated original movies based on DC properties, but the two Batman '66 movies - Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs Two Face - are both a lot of fun - the latter being Adam West’s last work (and featuring William Shatner as Harvey Dent).

I recently saw The Death of Superman, different from the movie Kamino referenced below. It was extremely enjoyable. I’d say no spoilers, but it’s… kinda late for what’s in the very title. Really, though, the movie isn’t exactly about Superman falling in battle. The focus is on who Superman is, and what he fights for, and the impact he has on those around him.

I have only seen about half the movies in the new DCAU, but those are quite good. Justice League Dark was so-so but it was a follow-up to the painfully short John Constantine series without requiring any familiarity with that. Flashpoint was awesome. Also, Suicide Squad: Assault on Arkham and its sequel Hell-to-Pay are - but watch Hell to Pay only after *Flashpoint *to avoid some spoilers.

The DCAU Wonder Woman is actually my favorite interpretation of the character. She’s boisterous but not stupid, strong but not invincible, clever but still compassionate.

This is one of the reasons Doomsday was such a failure - doing the Death, Reign, and Return as all one movie meant it really had to focus on action, not character, which is the important part. And it even had to screw that over.

The War (to use the DC Wiki’s disambig for that universe) universe doing it as two movies allowed them to spend time dealing with who Superman is, as well as building his relationship with Lois. And, despite doing this, the action still had time to breathe, and the fight with Doomsday was as epic as it should have been.

(I’m worried Return of Superman will be rushed, since it has to cover both Reign and Return, but since it’s part of an ongoing universe, they don’t need to tie everything up neatly.)

While both feature the Suicide Squad, Hell to Pay really isn’t a sequel to Assault on Arkham - they’re both part of ongoing universes - Assault is a prequel to the Arkham Asylum games, whereas Hell to Pay is set in the War-Verse. Both are worth watching, but it doesn’t really matter which order you watch them in, since they don’t build on each other at all. (But, yes…avoid Hell until after watching Flashpoint Paradox…that really is a direct sequel situation.)

I checked and you are right. But Hell to Pay is still blatantly a follow-up to Assault on Arkham. It’s not just the same premise, but the series of events makes the most sense if you assume AoA took place, and the writing seems to be based on the idea that you would be familiar with AoA in terms of the character introductions and all.

Hrm…how familiar are you with the comic Squad? Wondering how much that plays into the perception.

Any Suicide Squad story that doesn’t recount the first version of the team will follow a similar formula, and make similar assumptions, especially using Harley, Deadshot, and Boomerang, who are recurring (pretty much obligatory, at this point) members of the team (Deadshot and Boomerang have been basically the core of any non-sacrificial version of the team since the 80s), and I don’t think Assault and Hell mesh particularly well outside of that familiarity. (Actually, the biggest change from the regular formula I can think of from either of them is Hell having the obligatory ‘someone gets his head blown off’ scene being from a different Squad’s mission, rather than someone on the team used in the story be an idiot.)

Oops…one I forgot to mention in my earlier post… Quoting myself from another thread…

Most of the complaints I’ve seen have basically boiled down to ‘I don’t want anything comic-booky or anime-esque in my comic book anime!’ so…yeah.

A couple of recent ones I enjoyed are Gotham by Gaslight (an elseworlds set in 1800s Gotham).

Justice League vs. Teen Titans and Teen Titans: The Judas Contract were better than I expected.

I didn’t like Batman and Harley Quinn so much…it seemed simultaneously too adult and too immature at the same time.

The only actively bad one I can think of was one called Superman vs. Brainiac. It feels like it was written by people who only saw The Superfriends in the 70s but uses the voices of the 90s cartoon which makes the badness feel disconcerting.

I thought Justice league unlimited and just Justice league really quite good.

The Wonder Woman animated film was quite good, except I didn’t care for the voice acting of Keri Russell as the title character. She compares especially unfavorably to Nathan Fillion’s Steve Trevor.

I found the animated Batman: The Dark Knight Returns to be completely forgettable. It removes all of the inner monologues, which is where most of the best lines are.

No “I think of Sarah. The rest is easy.”

No “Twenty million die by fire if I am weak.”

No “Rubber bullets, honest.” They give that one to the Mutant Leader after the fact and it’s completely wasted.

I really enjoyed JLA: New Frontier as it was a nice nod to the transformation between gold and silver age DC.

Of the Bat-man movies I really enjoyed The Killing Joke (if you chop the first half and actually just do the graphic novel) and Under the Red Hood (which is basically Death in the Family and where it would go in the future). Gotham By Gaslight was amazing and the twist at the end was actually better than the comics in my opinion. To be fair I loved the book “Devil in the White City” and they seemed to use that more than Victorian Era England but I guess Jack the Ripper is more well known than H.H Holmes.