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From The Death of Superman to Young Justice: The best DC animated films and TV shows on OTT
Ryan Gomez
Aug 19, 2021
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The superhero genre has witnessed a surge in popularity this past decade, largely due to the popular live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films. The MCU is currently the biggest movie franchise globally, with 24 films released since Iron Man in 2008. However, its primary rivals, DC CInematic Extended Universe (DCEU), have been plagued by controversies, despite performing reasonably well in the box office. The first five films of the DCEU have outperformed in terms of revenue when compared to the first five MCU. The controversial reshoots and rewrites, canceled projects, and allegations of workplace harassment by the cast have made the future of the DCEU uncertain. Even though the latest film The Suicide Squad was a success, the fate of the shared universe remains in limbo. But when it comes to animated films and television shows, they are unrivaled and have released several universally acclaimed films and TV shows, and there are several exciting projects announced for future releases. The following is a list of the best DC animated films and television shows available on streaming platforms.

1
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
7.9OTTplay Rating
For Batman purists Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the most definitive version of the caped crusader, both in live-action and animated. The film is set in the same universe as Bruce Timm’s critically acclaimed magnum opus of the superhero genre, Batman: The Animated Series. The film features the iconic duo of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil as the voices of Batman and Joker respectively. The film is also one title on this list to have a theatrical release.
2
Batman: Under the Red Hood
8.2OTTplay Rating
In 1988, comic book readers voted in a survey conducted by Batman comic writer Jim Starlin to kill off Jason Todd, the second Robin. At the time the readers did not warm up to Dick Grayson’s replacement. In the storyline, the 14-year old Jason was brutally beaten to death with a crowbar by the Joker. However, the story of his death and his resurrection became one of the most popular stories from the Batman mythos. The resurrected Jason Todd became the popular anti-hero. The animated film is an adaptation of this popular story. Jensen Ackles played the role of Jason Todd in the film, who would be cast as Batman himself in the 2021 animated films Batman: The Long Halloween Part I & Part II.
3
Young Justice
8.3OTTplay Rating
The animated show is arguably one of the best superhero television shows both in live-action and animation. It is the spiritual successor to the critically acclaimed Justice League: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. The series focuses on the younger heroes from the DC universe as they undertake covert missions operating under Batman. The series has a gritty and grounded narrative which received an R rating from the season. The fourth season is expected to release later this year.
4
Batman: Assault on Arkham
7.6OTTplay Rating
James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad has recently received rave reviews from critics, despite a lukewarm reception at the box-office. The film was a soft reboot of the 2016 film Suicide Squad, which was universally panned by critics and fans alike. However, the animated films were well received. Batman: Assault on Arkham, despite having ‘Batman’ in the title, is a Suicide Squad film at its core featuring Batman. The story revolves around Amanda Waller’s mission to send the gang of supervillains Task Force X/Suicide Squad to Arkham Asylum for a covert mission.
5
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
7.6OTTplay Rating
The animated film was an epic conclusion to the long-running DC animated universe which branched into a new timeline after the events of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, which is arguably one of the best animated films ever made. Justice League Dark Apokolips War is a brutal R-rated masterpiece that has not shied away from taking massive risks with the plotlines. Within the opening five minutes of the movie, a vast majority of the heroes are brutally murdered, dismembered, or have become slaves to the Lord of Apokolips, Darkseid. The film features John Constantine, Superman with no powers, Lois Lane, Damian Wayne/Robin, Raven, and Harley Quinn, and members of the Suicide Squad. This unlikely team is forced to work together on a post-apocalyptic Earth in their attempts to defeat Darkseid.
6
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two
7OTTplay Rating
Some of the recent adaptations of critically acclaimed graphic novels such as Batman: The Killing Joke, and Batman: Hush, took a few liberties and moved away from the source material, and were ultimately criticised for it. DC animation made sure that such mistakes were not repeated while adapting Jeph Loeb’s universally praised graphic novel Batman: The Long Halloween. The film was split into two parts released separately in July and August. The story about the serial killer known as the Holiday Killer benefited from having been released in two parts, as the additional runtime gave the characters enough time to develop throughout the narrative.
7
The Death of Superman
7.6OTTplay Rating
Zack Snyder’s live-action Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did feature a version of the ‘death of Superman’, but Snyder did take a few liberties from the source material. However, the animated film stayed closer to the comic books and narrated a moving tale leading up to Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday. The film also set up the storyline for the Justice League Dark: Apokalips War. The film features the whole roster of Justice League as they have a face-off against Doomsday.
8
Justice League: Gods and Monsters
7.3OTTplay Rating
The film is an alternate take on the Justice League. Is it the ‘What if..?’ of the DC universe long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In this Universe, General Zod’s son becomes Superman, a vampire scientist becomes Batman, and Bekka (daughter of Orion from the New Gods) the Wonder Woman. The film moves away from the conventional ‘good v/s bad’ theme and opts for a more grounded narrative similar to Game of Thrones where the characters are morally grey — they all have a bit of good and bad in them.

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