The 10 Best DC Animated Movies, According To Ranker

DC has produced some of the most thrilling comic book storylines of all time, and with their animated films, they have the opportunity to bring those stories to life. Casting some of the best voice talent in the business, DC animated films often rival the best live-action superhero films.

RELATED: The 5 Best Animated Original Movies Featuring Batman (& 5 Best Featuring Superman)

Whether they feature the brooding Batman or the legendary Justice League, DC animated films are perfect companions to the comic book series that they are based on. While there are many classic animated DC films, users on Ranker took to the site to vote for the ones that they thought were the best.

10 Justice League: War (2014)

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Shazam in explosive promo art of JLW

Based on one of the first stories from DC’s New 52 reboot, Justice League: War reimagined the origins of the famous superhero team. When aliens threaten to take over the planet, a group of disparate heroes must put aside their differences to defeat the menace.

Generally considered to be one of the best Justice League animated moviesWar was a thrilling look at DC’s new continuity from the New 52. The film does a great job of balancing all of its characters and giving each of them a moment to shine. Also, it introduces one of DC’s most fearsome villains, Darkseid, into the equation to ratchet up the tension.

9 Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)

Once again bringing two of the most famous superheroes together, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse introduces another descendent of Krypton. When Batman discovers a young girl with superpowers, he digs up her connection to Superman. Unfortunately for the heroes, the girl’s presence on earth draws the attention of Darkseid.

Loosely reimagining the origins of the Supergirl character, Apocalypse is a fun adventure that spans the entire DC universe. Like the best comic book storylines, the film brings in other heroes including Wonder Woman and some of the New Gods.


8 Batman: Assault On Arkham (2014)

Batman Assault On Arkham Movie Suicide Squad

The Caped Crusader is stretched to his limit in Assault On Arkham, and the story cleverly balances two separate narratives. Batman races against the clock to find and defuse a bomb that is planted by the Joker. Meanwhile, the Suicide Squad must lay siege to Arkham Asylum to recover information that was stolen by the Riddler.

With its brisk run time, the movie clips along at a breakneck pace and never lets off the gas. Watching Batman slowly unravel the plot is suspenseful, especially since the film gives the viewer a look at both sides of the conflict. One of the best parts of the film is the witty banter between the members of the Suicide Squad and it is one of the best movies about the team.

7 Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths (2010)

Justice League Crisis on Two-Earths Animated Movie

Bringing in villains from other dimensions, Crisis on Two Earths pitted the Justice League against one of their toughest opponents yet. Traveling from an alternate universe, a good version of Lex Luthor arrives to warn the Justice League about an evil version of themselves that is threatening to conquer their universe.

RELATED: The First 10 Members Of The Justice League, In Chronological Order

Recreating the art style of the Justice League animated series, Crisis on Two Earths is somewhat playful in its tone. It is fascinating to see alternate versions of the heroes, and they represent a serious challenge to the real Justice League. Ultimately, the film is anchored by great vocal performances and a fun art style that is easy on the eyes.

6 Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker (2000)

The Joker laughing with his arms crossed in Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker

Batman Beyond was an exciting look at the future of the Batman universe, and Return of the Joker was his first leap into the feature-length format. With no one to help him, the newest iteration of Batman must contend with the evil Joker when he suddenly resurfaces to terrorize Gotham City.

Bringing all of the best aspects of the show into the feature-length format, Return of the Joker plays like a longer version of some of the best episodes of the Batman Beyond series. Not only is the storyline exhilarating, but it is also fascinating to see a classic Batman villain brought into the cyberpunk world of Beyond. Returning to his villainous role, Mark Hamill is once again inspired as the Clown Prince of Crime.

5 The Dark Knight Returns (2012)

Bringing to life one of the greatest Batman comics of all timeThe Dark Knight Returns finally captured Frank Miller’s unique vision of the character. Set decades in the future, a retired Batman is pressed back into service by a sudden resurgence of crime in Gotham City.

With Miller’s twisted morality behind the entire story, The Dark Knight Returns is unlike any other Batman animated film. Told on an epic scale, the two-part film runs well over two hours and is a testament to the power of the source material. One of the film’s strongest aspects is that it imports the comic’s art style, which is as dark and foreboding as the story itself.

4 Justice League: Doom (2012)

JLD promo art with Batman holding up a Batarang with the League's reflection

Batman has always stuck out from his fellow Justice League members, and because of his shortcomings, he has had to overcompensate with his sleuthing. Justice League: Doom explores what happens when Batman’s brilliant detective work is used against him and his allies. Vandal Savage steals all of Batman’s intel on the Justice League and uses their weaknesses to try to defeat them.

Doom is essentially a story with two plot threads, the first is the League’s battle against Savage, and the other is the internal strife over Batman’s information. It is well known that Batman keeps a dossier on his friends, and that point of contention finally boils over in Doom. Seeing how the team handles its internal business, while also fighting an enemy, made for suspenseful viewing and an interesting story.

3 Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993)

Final scene from Mask of the Phantasm

Batman The Animated Series is one of the highlights of DC’s television product, and it spawned several beloved feature films. Mask of the Phantasm finds Batman implicated in a series of murders of high-ranking members of the mob. In order to clear his name, he must learn the secret of the assassin who is really doing the killing.

RELATED: The 10 Best Episodes Of Batman TAS Based On Comic Book Stories 

With the voice talents of Kevin Conroy as Batman, and a host of other greats from the series, the film is a tour-de-force of Batman action. Rivaling even the best live-action Batman films, Mask of the Phantasm has the same playful energy as the series, while also presenting a suspenseful mystery story.

2 Batman: Under The Red Hood (2010)

Red Hood aiming his assault rifle at Gotham's crimelords in Batman Under The Red Hood

Recreating one of the most shocking moments from the Batman comics, Under the Red Hood breathed life into a highly anticipated storyline. When a mysterious assassin begins to wreak havoc on Gotham, Batman must learn the killer’s identity, which brings up old wounds for the caped crusader.

Spanning the entire gamut of the Batman mythos, Under the Red Hood features a wide array of villains from the comics. By allowing Batman to use his detective skills to their fullest, the film casts the Dark Knight in the role he is best at, and it hinges on the mystery. Under the Red Hood was further proof that Batman was often the best standalone character to headline an animated film.

1 Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)

The Flash Speaking With Thomas Wayne Batman - Justice League The Flashpoint Paradox

While the Justice League is featured prominently in the film, The Flashpoint Paradox is essentially a story that focuses on the Flash. When Flash finds himself in a strange alternate universe, he must team up with that version of the Justice League to fix the timeline and get home.

Importing some of Geoff Johns’ amazing writing from the comics, the film explores the legacy of the Flashpoint storyline. Flash usually takes a backseat to his fellow Justice League teammates, and the film gives fans a chance to see the Flash front and center. By expanding his powers and giving new wrinkles to his universe, the film helps to make Flash a more viable character for future standalone movies.

NEXT: 15 Best Batman Animated Movies (According To Ranker)

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