DC Comics is a comic book publishing house, but their stories have been adopted on numerous occasions. Alongside the famous live-action works, a lot of DC Comics’ stories and characters have appeared in animated form and some of these works – be they TV shows or movies – are among the best in their respective categories. Today, we are not going to talk about the TV shows, but rather about the animated movies and their narrative continuities. In today’s article, we are going to bring you a list of the 20 best DC animated movies, ranked from worst to best.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
20 Best DC Animated Movies
As promised, we have decided to bring you a list of the 20 best DC animated films you need to watch. This list will contain various animated movies from different timelines and they are going to be ranked from the 20th to the 1st, i.e., the best in our humble opinion. We’re going to bring you some details on each story, as well as information about its production and distribution. These are the films:
20. Green Lantern: First Flight
Director: Lauren Montgomery
Writer(s): Alan Burnett, Michael Allen
Release Date: July 28, 2009
Runtime: 77 minutes
Before any living beings appeared on Earth, there was a race in the universe called the Guardians of the Universe, who owned great power and imprisoned it in a Battery of Power, which became the source of power for the Green Lanterns throughout the Universe.
But it had one weakness – the green energy could not resist the yellow energy, which is why the Guardians concealed it, in order to prevent the use of this power for evil purposes.
Ferris Aircraft test pilot Hal Jordan joins the Green Lantern Corps, the intergalactic police force, after the death of Abin Sur, who gave Hal his ring of power. His mentor becomes a respected member of the Corps, the guardian of the rules Sinestro, who is investigating the murder of Abin Sur.
Hal soon realizes that Sinestro’s beliefs are not as perfect as they seem – Sinestro believes that the Guardians of the Universe do not have a proper plan for maintaining security in the Universe. Sinestro and his plans become the main problem of the Corps, as he intends to destroy the Guardians of the Universe, but defeating him is not an easy task, as he obtains the powers of the Yellow Ring of Fear.
19. Wonder Woman
Director: Lauren Montgomery
Writer(s): Michael Jelenic
Release Date: March 3, 2009
Runtime: 73 minutes
Queen Hippolyta and the Amazons are in conflict with Ares, the god of war, and his army. They win the fight and Hippolyta cuts off the head of Thrax, the son of Ares. Zeus and Hera then appear to the Queen of the Amazons to spare Ares’ life.
In exchange, the Amazons receive the island of Themyscira to live there without men and keep Ares prisoner. After building their city, Hippolyta goes to the beach to have a girl there with the help of Zeus, Diana. Many years later, when Princess Diana has become a proud warrior, Ares unleashes the plan he hatched in his cell and corrupts an Amazons to release him.
But for this escape to be successful, he must create a diversion by luring to the island Steve Trevor, a boastful pilot who could prove to be a decisive asset for Diana to end the threat posed by the fallen god.
18. The Killing Joke
Director: Sam Liu
Writer(s): Brian Azzarello
Release Date: July 22, 2016
Runtime: 77 minutes
During a patrol, Batgirl fails in an attempt to stop a robbery but manages, together with Batman, to question one of the criminals and get some useful information. Given that Batgirl is personally involved with the case, Bruce takes it away from her and, after a fight, the two have sex.
This causes even more problems in their relationship and, after cracking the case, Barbara quits being Batgirl.
Some time later, detective Bullock informs Batman of a murder seemingly connected to the Joker, but that seems to be impossible as he is locked up in Arkham; Bruce discovers that his nemesis has escaped and that he plans to prove his theory, according to which any man can go mad because of a single bad day.
The Joker’s origin is revealed. He was once a failed comedian who, in order to gain money for his pregnant wife, let himself be persuaded into becoming Red Hood by two criminals.
Shortly before the crime, however, he was informed that his wife and unborn child had died in an accident; later, in the chemical factory where the theft was to take place, he fell in a tank of chemical liquids after seeing Batman.
Later, after seeing his new appearance – green hair, white skin and red lips – the man has a complete breakdown and becomes the Joker. Back to the present, the Joker has picked James Gordon as his intended victim; he plans on making him lose his mind.
Firstly, he shoots Barbara in the spine, which puts her in a wheelchair, and then takes the commissioner through a gallery of horrors in the carnival, forcing him to see photos of his daughter.
Batman comes on time to save him from insanity and goes after the Joker. The two have a confrontation, at the end of which Batman defeats his archenemy; in a last desperate attempt to redeem him, Bruce asks the Joker to accept his help but the latter, after a moment’s hesitation, refuses saying that there is no hope for him now.
In the closing credits scene, Barbara assumes her new identity as Oracle, Bruce’s tech-savvy aide.
17. Batman: Assault on Arkham
Director: Jay Oliva, Ethan Spaulding
Writer(s): Heath Corson
Release Date: July 25, 2014
Runtime: 76 minutes
After Batman’s arrest of the Riddler and his return to Arkham Asylum, Amanda Waller, director of A.R.G.U.S., a secret paramilitary federal organization commanding Task Force X (Suicide Squad), reformed the unit, which this time was made up of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, King Shark, Black Spider and KGBeast.
The group, led by Deadshot, must infiltrate Arkham and then find the Riddler’s cane, where sensitive information stolen from Amanda Waller is hidden. However, Waller is unaware that one of the team members is, at the same time, on a very different mission, while obeying her orders under penalty of seeing their heads explode because of the mini-bombs placed in their necks.
Their mission must be done with the utmost discretion so that it doesn’t alert Batman, who is already busy looking for the bomb that the Joker, freshly returned to Arkham, has hidden in Gotham City.
16. Justice League vs. Teen Titans
Director: Sam Liu
Writer(s): Bryan Q. Miller, Alan Burnett
Release Date: March 26, 2016
Runtime: 79 minutes
The Justice League defeats the Legion of Doom, led by Lex Luthor. The Weather Wizard, possessed by the demon Trigon’s minions, flees. Despite his father’s ban, Damien Wayne, dressed as a Robin, tries to stop the Wizard, but fails. Leaving Wizard’s body, Trigon’s henchman possesses Superman.
To teach his son to work in a team, Batman sends Robin to the Teen Titans. Damien meets the leader of the Titans, Starfire, who is Nightwing’s girlfriend, and the other members of the team – Raven, Beast Boy, and Blue Beetle. Robin clashes with the Titans.
To have fun, young heroes go to the carnival. Superman defeats Atomic Skull and tries to take over the minds of Wonder Woman and Batman, but the latter uses Kryptonite to subdue him. Meanwhile, Raven meets some demons, who want her to bring back Trigon, her father.
With the help of the other Titans, she confronts the demonic emissaries. Raven then reveals that she is the daughter of Trigon and after defeating him, she imprisoned his spirit in a crystal. The Justice League members find Raven and are about to take her away.
Suddenly, demons take over Cyborg, Flash and Wonder Woman. Batman manages to inject a toxin into himself, not allowing them to take over his mind. The possessed Justice League members defeat the Teen Titans and take Raven.
Blue Beetle frees Cyborg from Trigon’s control. Robin, who has attached a bug to every Titan, finds Raven in the Middle East, where she must open a portal and free Trigon. After passing through a portal opened by Cyborg, Robin attacks Superman with Kryptonite to free him from Trigon’s control, and he then frees Flash and Wonder Woman.
The Titans rescue Raven, but Trigon manages to return to his physical form.
While most of the Justice League is fighting Trigon, the Titans and Cyborg teleport to Hell, where Robin has to fight his grandfather, Ra’s al-Ghul, who has become a servant of Trigon.
After defeating Ra’s, Raven uses her magic and telepathic connection with Trigon to re-plant him in the shard of the broken crystal. Back at the Tower of the Titans, Robin and Cyborg announce their desire to become Teen Titans.
15. Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash
Director: Ethan Spaulding
Writer(s): Jim Krieg, Jeremy Adams
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Runtime: 78 minutes
Atom visits the Hall of Justice, where he meets Batman, Superman, Ace, Krypto, as well as Cyborg. They are joined by Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, and Firestorm, and they invite Atom to join the Justice League. Suddenly, an alarm goes off and Lois Lane reports that the Joker has attacked Metropolis. He hits the townspeople with a laughing gas and heads for the Daily Planet.
Batman sends an alarm to Flash and the Justice League heads to Metropolis. The Joker attacks most of its members with his gas and climbs the Daily Planet globe. The Atom shrinks to find an antidote for the Joker’s gas, while Batman pursues the villain.
Meanwhile, having woken up at exactly 8 a.m., Flash assists the residents of Central City, neutralizing Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang. Belatedly discovering Batman’s missed signal, he goes to Metropolis, where Atom found the antidote and cured the victims.
Flash returns to the converted Daily Planet building and stops the Joker. Suddenly, someone appears, outwardly similar to Flash, but with the reverse color of the suit. Flash tries to catch up with the stranger, but jumps in time and ends up in his bed at 8 a.m.
Realizing that he was caught in a time loop set up by a stranger, Flash tries to catch up with him over and over again. One day he manages to overtake the stranger and he breaks out of the time loop, losing his Speedster ability.
Having barely reached the Hall of Justice, The Flash is condemned by the members of the League. Atom says that he is not going to join them and shrinks to an invisible size. Batman and the rest of the members retire Barry Allen.
Returning home, the Flash discovers the culprit of his troubles there. Calling himself the Reverse Flash, he came from the future to become the greatest superhero. He shackles Allen and leaves. Atom, who has been clinging onto Flash’s suit that whole time, is trying to help the superhero.
He cannot enlarge, but he manages to dial Doctor Fate’s number on Allen’s smartphone. Surprised that someone knows about his problem and can help, Flash contacts the dialed caller and finds himself in the world of Doctor Fate and his assistant, Zatanna.
The wizards tell Flash that he needs to reconnect with the Speed Force and send him to another dimension. Meanwhile, Reverse Flash is preventing crime across the country, becoming the most popular superhero.
He also managed to imprison the Justice League members at their headquarters, but are soon freed. Together, the heroes defeat the Reverse Flash and, using his own method, deprive him of his superpowers. Flash has the opportunity to single-handedly wield the Force of Speed, but he realizes how dangerous it can be, and lets go of it, leaving only his former superpowers.
14. Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
Director: Rick Morales
Writer(s): Michael Jelenic, James Tucker
Release Date: October 6, 2016
Runtime: 78 minutes
At stately Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne and his youthful ward Dick Grayson watch their favorite show, Gotham Palace. During the programming, a band that was supposed to play on the show is revealed to be hidden and replaced by four of the Dynamic Duo’s greatest villains; the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, and Catwoman.
Bruce and Dick suit up as Batman and Robin and head towards the Gotham City Police Department, where they receive a riddle from Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara.
They discover that the crooks are robbing the Acme Atomic Energy Laboratory of the Replication Ray that was invented by Dr. Nichols. The Replication Ray has the power to make a perfect duplicate out of anything.
After a brief fight, the criminals manage to escape Batman, but leave behind a clue that leads the Caped Crusaders to their lair in an abandoned TV dinner factory. While discussing what to do with the Replication Ray, Catwoman reveals her plan to make Batman join their side with a scratch from a substance called “Batnip”.
After Batman and Robin break in, they are defeated by the criminals and trapped on a frozen food tray heading towards a large oven. Catwoman uses her Batnip on Batman, but he is supposedly unaffected by it. The two escape the trap after the villains leave the factory.
Back at stately Wayne Manor, Bruce starts showing signs of aggression after Aunt Harriet nearly discovers the Batcave. He blames Alfred Pennyworth for the incident and fires him, leaving the butler to wander on the streets homeless.
After days of not finding Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman, Batman figures out that the four crooks are no longer on Earth and have hijacked a space station. The two heroes go into space with the help of their Bat-Rocket.
At the space station, Joker, Penguin and Riddler betray Catwoman as they do not trust her to be on their side due to her feelings for Batman. They try to throw her out into space. She is rescued by the Dynamic Duo and aids them in defeating her former allies for revenge. Batman savagely beats the three men and recovers the Replication Ray, but Catwoman escapes in an escape pod in the process.
After the mission, Dick expresses concern towards Bruce for his behavior in the space station and at the Gotham City Police Department (where he left when Gordon was not looking without a word). Bruce kicks Dick out of the house and takes a break from being Batman, resulting in a crime spree in Gotham City.
A few weeks later, Batman returns to the Gotham City Police Department and blames the police for the increase in crime. He uses the Replication Ray on himself to replace Gordon and O’Hara as police commissioner and police chief respectively.
Batman soon replaces most of the government, jobs and citizens in Gotham with his replicas and plans to take over the world. Dick realizes that the Batnip had a delayed effect on Batman and was slowly making him eviler over time. He then suits up as Robin and goes to Catwoman’s lair to request her help in curing Batman which she agrees to do as she thinks the effects of the Batnip were more severe than she had planned.
The two take the Catmobile to the Batcave, where Catwoman attempts to give Batman the antidote, but Batman anticipated it and took the Bat Anti-Antidote. Batman defeats the two in a fight and leaves them to die in the Atomic Pile, but they survive thanks to Robin’s Bat Anti Isotope Spray.
Knowing they cannot take on an army of Batmen by themselves, Robin and Catwoman disguise themselves as prison inspectors and break most of Batman’s rogues gallery from Gotham State Penitentiary; Archer, Black Widow, Bookworm, Clock King, Egghead, False Face, King Tut, Louie the Lilac, Mad Hatter, Minstrel, Mr. Freeze, Sandman, Shame and Siren by claiming to Warden Crichton that the ball and chains and pickaxes are not in good shape.
This resulted in the replaced versions carrying the villains out of the prison. While a prison guard tells Warden Crichton that Joker, Penguin and Riddler did not escape, the three of them mysteriously turn into a pile of dust.
The two confront Batman and his army on the Gotham Palace set, but they still lose even with the help of the criminals. Before Batman kills Robin and Catwoman, a disguised Alfred arrives and gives Batman a strong enough antidote to counter the Bat Anti-Antidote.
Batman returns to normal, and the rest of his clones turn to dust as the Replication Ray was not strong enough to make perfect clones.
Batman realized that his behavior change was used as a distraction by Joker, Penguin and Riddler, and that the ones they arrested were fake copies. Joker had spiked the Batnip Catwoman was using. The real ones were using the opportunity to rob the Gotham Art Museum.
Joker, Penguin and Riddler just wanted to get Batman out of the way first. Batman, Robin and Catwoman (who came as vengeance for what they did at the space station) chase them to Penguin’s blimp, where the villainous trio is defeated after they are knocked off the blimp to a safe location to be arrested. Catwoman tries to escape with the stolen paintings, but Batman recovers them.
Unwilling to be put in a cage again, Catwoman allows herself to fall into a smokestack.
Bruce and Dick then throw Aunt Harriet a surprise birthday party acting as if that is the secret they have been hiding from her. During the party, Bruce and Dick are called away by the Bat-Signal.
13. Justice League Dark
Director: Jay Oliva
Writer(s): Ernie Altbacker, J. M. DeMatteis
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Runtime: 75 minutes
Throughout Metropolis, Gotham, and Washington, D.C., violent murders are committed by people who think their victims are demonic creatures. The Justice League concludes that magic is the source of the crimes, and Batman decides to investigate.
At his mansion, Batman leaves a message for Deadman in one word: “Constantine.” Exorcist and con man John Constantine and Jason Blood take on the Demon Three in a game of poker in Las Vegas for high stakes; the former even offered his home, the House of Mystery, as his share of the pool in exchange for a box of artefacts, including the Dreamstone.
When both parties are caught cheating, Constantine summons Etrigan, a demon forced to share a body with Blood, to send out the demons. Batman summons Zatanna, a magician with a failed romantic history with Constantine, and Deadman to consult Constantine at the House of Mystery.
They are joined by Black Orchid, the spiritual incarnation of the House. The group meets to share information and form a team to investigate the cause and reason for these supernatural events.
12. Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
Director: Ethan Spaulding
Writer(s): Heath Corson
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Runtime: 72 minutes
Cyborg, Flash, Shazam, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Batman inspect the recovered California, a submarine that was destroyed under mysterious circumstances. Diana identifies the enemy as warriors from Atlantis.
In Atlantis, Prince Orm and Black Manta meet with Orm’s mother, Queen Atlanna, where they argue over declaring war on the humans. Orm blames the Justice League for his father’s death, while Queen Atlanna blames Darkseid.
Orm wishes to attack first, but Atlanna silences him and asks Mera to bring Arthur Curry (her other son) to Atlantis. Black Manta uses a craft disguised as a US Navy submarine to attack Atlantis using the stolen missiles to frame the humans.
Shin meets Arthur but he is killed by Atlantean soldiers sent by Black Manta. Arthur is blasted out of his collapsing house; Mera saves him and dispatches the soldiers using her hydrokinetic powers.
Citizens of Atlantis and Orm demand war following the attack on Atlantis, though Atlanna disagrees. Mera and Arthur are attacked by the Trench at the surface. The creatures overwhelm Arthur and the League helps defeat the Trenchers. Black Manta reports to Orm that the Trench failed to kill Arthur.
When Orm and Atlanna argue over starting a war, she reveals that she knows he attacked Atlantis. Orm stabs her to death from behind, and takes over as the new king of Atlantis. Orm (now using the mantle “Ocean Master”) uses the trident to restrain Arthur, Mera and the League in pods.
The group is sent to be consumed by the monstrous Dark Trench, while Ocean Master leads Atlantis’ army to the surface. Arthur taps into the power of the trident to destroy his pod, and with Superman’s help, they save the rest and defeat the monster.
A massive tidal wave conceals the Atlantean army’s arrival in Metropolis. Black Manta attacks Arthur and reveals that he wants to overthrow Ocean Master to take Atlantis for himself. Arthur summons a shark to attack him.
The League and Mera battle Ocean Master, with little success. Shazam is transformed back into Billy Batson; Flash, Green Lantern, and Mera are knocked unconscious; and Cyborg is almost impaled, electrocuted and disabled. Wonder Woman is incapacitated by the trident’s electric energy, while Superman is wounded because of its mystical properties.
Batman saves Cyborg from dying by electrocuting him with a taser device. Ocean Master is about to kill Arthur when Cyborg broadcasts the video of Ocean Master confessing to his mother’s murder for Atlantis’ soldiers to hear.
Arthur uses the distraction to defeat Ocean Master and convince the soldiers to stand down and to accept him as their king. Arthur is crowned king of Atlantis with the Justice League in the audience.
Batman suggests that they need to solidify the team. Arthur joins the League as Aquaman. In the post-credits, Orm is incarcerated at Belle Reve where he is approached by Lex Luthor, who has a proposition for him to consider.
11. Batman Ninja
Director: Junpei Mizusaki
Writer(s): Kazuki Nakashima
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Runtime: 85 minutes
Batman, along with his allies and opponents, finds himself in feudal Japan. There, he is pursued by a samurai working for the villain Joker. During his escape, Batman encounters Catwoman, who reveals that everyone else arrived two years earlier (due to Batman being in the area affected by the earthquake).
He learns from her that all the main criminals of Gotham City became feudal lords after deceiving the Sengoku, fighting each other until a single state remains.
To stop the villains from changing history, Batman and Catwoman must reach the Earthquake Gear at Arkham Castle (formerly a hideout). Batman discovers that Alfred Pennyworth is also in the past and has built a Cave outside Edo.
When the Joker’s troops ambush the hideout, Batman makes his way in his Batmobile to Arkham Castle, which is being transformed into a giant robot fortress. But Batman loses and is saved by the ninja.
He learns that the Bat Clan helped his friends upon their arrival, and that the clan followed the prophecy that the arriving ninja would restore order to the land. To resist evil, the Dark Knight, “the world’s greatest detective,” becomes a secret avenger – a ninja.
A month later, villains from Gotham mobilize their castle robots for battle. Batman leads the clan of bats on the battlefield. Wounded Grodd gives Batman control of his army of monkeys; Robin allows them to team up into one giant samurai monkey to fight the Joker robot.
The samurai monkey then teams up with a swarm of bats to form Batgoda. When the castle falls, Batman and Joker engage in sword fighting.
Using his ninjutsu skills, Batman wins. In the end, feudal Japan returned to its original state, and the bat clan brought the villains back to our day.
10. The Death of Superman
Director: Sam Liu, Jake Castorena
Writer(s): Peter J. Tomasi
Release Date: July 20, 2018
Runtime: 81 minutes
After stopping a robbery by the Intergang, Superman finds some fragments of technology coming from Apokolips and therefore, together with the Justice League, takes it all to the S.T.A.R. to discover its characteristics; in the meantime he decides to show the reporter Lois Lane the spacecraft on which he arrived on Earth.
Namely, the alter ego of the Kryptonian, Clark Kent, has long been Lois’ boyfriend, but he still hasn’t told her the truth about him. After discovering that the fragments are composed of an alien and terrestrial alloy, Superman interrogates Lex Luthor, subjected to house arrest, about it, without, however, obtaining anything useful; at the same time, the space mission led by Hank Henshaw and his wife is marred by a meteor shower that unleashes on them after the opening of a boom tube.
The largest of these rocks is deposited on the seabed and, shortly afterwards, a creature emerges, capable of killing some Atlantean guards with bare hands. The being, driven by an unstoppable fury, leaves behind an unprecedented trail of blood and destruction and therefore the Justice League has to intervene.
But, even the group cannot do anything against the devastating strength of the entity and therefore reveals the need for the intervention of Superman, who shortly before these events, had confessed the truth and his love to Lois. Superman and the creature, nicknamed Doomsday by Lois Lane, fight in the streets of Metropolis. Luthor also intervenes in the fight, protected by high-tech armor, but not even he can do anything.
A moment before Doomsday turns against Lois, Clark manages to kill him at the cost of his own life, dying in the arms of his beloved. The whole world mourns the disappearance of the Man of Steel, when suddenly his spacecraft is activated and reaches his grave, from which a figure similar to that of Superman emerges shortly after, and together the two head to the North Pole.
There, the glider terraforms the polar ice creating a fortress. Shortly thereafter, one of the Kryptonian’s clones escapes from the secret laboratory where Luthor performs his experiments, while one of the scientists at S.T.A.R.Laboratories, John Henry Irons, creates a steel Superman logo, and a cyborg resembling Kal-El flies through the atmosphere.
9. Batman: Year One
Director: Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery
Writer(s): Tab Murphy
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Runtime: 64 minutes
After 12 years of studying and training abroad in martial arts and science, billionaire orphan Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City on the same day that Lieutenant James Gordon moved in with his pregnant wife, Barbara, from Chicago.
The two men find a completely corrupted police force, led by Commissioner Loeb, and with former detective Flass and SWAT officer Branden as their main operatives. Disguised, Bruce Wayne watches over the city’s East Side, a place of crime and prostitution, and ends up wounded after a fight with a pimp and several prostitutes, including Selina Kyle, the future Catwoman).
Gordon soon becomes a target of his corrupt colleagues, but gets the support of the media and the public, which treat him as a hero. Soon enough, the recovered Bruce decides to become the masked vigilante Batman and he allies himself with district attorney Harvey Dent, who gives him clues about organized crime bosses.
8. The Lego Batman Movie
Director: Chris McKay
Writer(s): Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington
Release Date: January 29, 2017
Runtime: 104 minutes
In the Lego Universe, Batman continues to protect Gotham City and fight crime. During his latest mission to stop Joker from destroying the city, he hurts his arch-rival’s feelings by telling him he is not as important in his life as he thinks he is, leading Joker to seek the ultimate revenge on him.
The following day, Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, attends the city’s winter gala, which is celebrating both the retirement of Commissioner Gordon and the ascension of his daughter Barbara as the city’s new police commissioner, only to be infuriated by Barbara’s plans to restructure the police to function without the need of Batman.
Without warning, Joker crashes the party with the city’s other villains, all of whom surrender, with the exception of Harley Quinn who disappears during the confusion. Suspecting his arch-rival is up to something, Batman plots to steal Superman’s Phantom Zone Projector, a device that can banish anyone to the Phantom Zone which houses some of the most dangerous villains in the Lego multiverse.
7. Constantine: City of Demons – The Movie
Director: Doug Murphy
Writer(s): J. M. DeMatteis
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Runtime: 90 minutes
John Constantine awakes from a dream of whispers from around the world. He finds himself in his apartment surrounded by miniature trench-cloaked projections of his inner demons. They attack John, who then uses magic to absorb the demons back into his subconscious. He is visited by his old friend, Chas Chandler, whom he has not seen in a decade.
Chas asks John to help his daughter Trish, who has unexpectedly fallen into a coma, which Chas suspects to be the result of dark magic. John uses magic on Trish and discovers that her aura is tainted. He summons Asa, the Nightmares Nurse, to help pinpoint a diagnosis but Asa cannot find Trish’s soul.
Trish is briefly able to communicate through Asa before a demonic entity takes over and gives John an address.
As John and Chas travel to Los Angeles to get Trish’s soul back, Asa and Chas’ wife Renee stay with Trish. Asa magically compels Renee to tell the story of Newcastle that John will not talk about.
Renee reveals that John and Chas had been best friends since they were kids and even formed a band together as young adults. When they found out that their mentor Alex Logue was using his daughter Astra to enact a dark spell below his Newcastle night club, John, having practiced occultism since he was a boy, attempted to save Astra by conjuring a real demon.
The demon Nergal killed Alex and his followers, but also slaughtered the club-goers and took Astra with him to Hell. His trauma regarding the incident even lead him to be committed to a psychiatric institute.
However, Renee does not remember sharing this information with Asa. John has a dream of the worldwide whispers again and suspects that someone is messing with his mind. Chas drives them to the address and they are greeted at a mansion by an anthropomorphic pig butler. Inside the mansion, John stumbles upon a pool of decaying corpses before the monstrous demon Beroul presents himself.
The demon explains that his soul-snatching scheme was just a ploy to enlist John’s services. Beroul reveals that he intends to create his own branch of Hell, but needs John to eliminate his demon competitors.
After surviving being chased on the road by demonic dogs and being saved by an apparently possessed driver, John meets with Beroul again, who reveals himself to be Nergal, and that he is behind the plague of coma victims.
The demon forces John to aid him by showing that he has Trish’s soul trapped inside his body. Afterwards, John meets Angela, the collective consciousness of Los Angeles, who had been following John ever since he arrived by possessing various people, including the driver that rescued him.
Seducing him, she admits that she unleashed his inner demons as a test, and tells him that she will not allow demons of despair to poison a city of hope. Returning to Chas, John admits that he doesn’t have the power to defeat Nergal’s enemies on his own. He then hatches a plan.
He first entices the Aztec death god Mictlantecuhtli to attack the demons for him. He then lures the demons to an unconsecrated church by promising to hand over Nergal, traps them inside with holy water, and allows the god and demons to fight each other, then finishes off the victorious god with a spell. Returning to the hospital, John summons Nergal.
He attempts a bluff: cutting Nergal off from his wards, harassing him with the inner Constantine demons, and opening all of the gates between Hell and Los Angeles, leaving Nergal with 5000 competitors to face instead of 5. Nergal calls John’s bluff, forcing him to use his fallback plan: the Camdever Curse. Unleashing all of Trish’s and Renee’s love for Chas blasts the demon apart, since Trish’s soul is locked inside him.
This frees the girl, saves the coma victims, and destroys the demon. But later, at a diner, John reveals to Chas that love was the sacrifice that powered the curse: Trish and Renee will never again remember Chas, and, further, Chas will not remember John. Angela appears in the form of an old man, thanks John, and promises to take care of Chas.
John heads off to return to London, with one surviving inner demon to keep him company.
6. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Director: Eric Radomski, Bruce Timm
Writer(s): Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Martin Pasko, Michael Reaves
Release Date: December 25, 1993
Runtime: 78 minutes
Someone is killing off some of Gotham’s mob leaders in an eerie costume, vanishing and reappearing like a ghost and eyewitnesses insist that it is Batman. The dark knight is now in serious trouble with the police, accused of being dangerous and unpredictable.
Hunted wherever he goes, Batman must solve the mystery of the Phantasm to stop the killing and regain his reputation. Meanwhile, old wounds are opened as Andrea Beaumont (whom Bruce Wayne had had a serious love affair with in the past) returns to the city.
Memories of the past are now preying on Bruce’s mind, memories of a time before Batman where Bruce was drawn between happiness and the promise he made to his parents.
The mystery of the Phantasm is really putting Batman’s skills to the test as the police slowly draw in with no mercy. The answer to it all lies somewhere in the past of both Bruce Wayne and another deadly foe, The Joker.
5. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
Director: Jay Oliva
Writer(s): Jim Krieg
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Runtime: 81 minutes
Everyone at one time wants to go to the past and change everything. And Barry Allen has that chance. When he was a child, his mother was brutally murdered and when he grew up, lightning struck in his lab turning him into the Fastest Man Alive.
However, traveling to the past to change it can distort everything with serious consequences. When he wakes up, it’s in a world he doesn’t even know.
This is a world where the Justice League does not exist, where no one has ever heard of Superman, where Aquaman and Wonder Woman have plunged the world into the darkness of war, where no human has ever wielded the Green Lantern’s light, where the Fastest Man Alive is just another man, and where Batman has as much blood on his hands as his enemies do.
Powerless and alone, Barry remembers reality as it once was. He turns to Batman for help to get his powers back and joins forces with the warped versions of the men and women he once fought alongside with to set things back to rights.
It will take time, but unfortunately, Barry is running out of it as his memories are starting to fade. Whether Barry succeeds or fails – the world will never be the same.
4. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Director: Jay Oliva
Writer(s): Bob Goodman
Release Date: September 25, 2012 (Part 1), January 29, 2013 (Part 2)
Runtime: 152 minutes
After the death of his protégé Jason Todd, Bruce Wayne retired his Batman persona. Ten years later, in mid-1986, Gotham City is overrun with crime and terrorized by a gang known as the Mutants.
The 55-year-old Wayne maintains a friendship with 70-year-old retiring Police Commissioner James Gordon (who knows Wayne was Batman), while the Joker (Batman’s archenemy) has been catatonic in Arkham Asylum since Wayne’s retirement. Arkham inmate and former district attorney Harvey Dent undergoes plastic surgery to repair his disfigured face.
Although he is declared sane, he quickly goes into hiding following his release. Dent’s disappearance, news stories of the crime epidemic, and the memory of his parents’ deaths drive Wayne to become Batman once more. He combats serious crimes, rescuing 13-year-old Carrie Kelley, but now struggles with the physical limitations of age.
Public reaction to his return is divided. Dent’s psychologist Bartholomew Wolper blames Batman for creating his own rogues gallery. Dent resurfaces, threatening to blow up a building unless he is paid a ransom.
Batman defeats Dent’s henchmen, learning that the bombs will explode even if the ransom is paid; he realizes that Dent intends to kill himself. Batman disables one bomb, and the other detonates harmlessly. He defeats Dent, who reveals that he thinks the reconstructive surgery was botched, as he considered his undamaged half as disfigured.
Kelley dresses as Robin and looks for Batman, who attacks a gathering of the Mutants with a tank-like Batmobile (incapacitating most of them). The Mutant leader challenges Batman to a duel. He accepts to prove to himself that he can win.
The Mutant leader (who is in his prime) nearly kills Batman, but Kelley distracts him long enough for Batman to subdue him. The leader and many gang members are arrested. Injured, Batman returns to the Batcave with Kelley, and allows her to become his protégée in spite of protests from his butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
Batman has Kelley disguise herself as a Mutant, and she lures the gang to a sewer outlet at the West River. At the Gotham City Police Department, the Mutant leader murders the mayor during negotiations. Commissioner Gordon deliberately releases the leader, providing an escape from the building, which leads to the sewer outlet.
Before the amassed Mutants, Batman fights the leader in a mud pit; the mud slows the leader, removing his physical advantage, and Batman overpowers him. Seeing their leader’s defeat, the Mutants divide into smaller gangs, with one becoming the “Sons of Batman”, a violent vigilante group.
Batman’s victory becomes public and the city’s inhabitants are inspired to stand up against crime. Gordon retires after meeting his anti-Batman successor, Ellen Yindel. In Arkham, televised reports about Batman bring the Joker out of his catatonic state.
In late 1986, feigning remorse for his past, Joker convinces Wolper to take him on a talk show to tell his story, and makes plans for his escape with Abner, an old henchman who supplies him with mind-controlling lipstick. Meanwhile, Superman, who works as a government operative in exchange for being allowed to covertly help people, is asked by President Ronald Reagan to end Batman’s vigilante activities.
Framing these events is a growing hostility between the USA and the Soviet Union over possession of the island of Corto Maltese. As Batman’s continued presence humiliates the national authorities, incoming commissioner Yindel orders Batman’s arrest, and Superman warns Batman that the government will not tolerate him much longer.
Joker makes his talk show appearance on David Endochrine’s show as Batman fights with the GCPD on the studio roof; while they fight, Joker kills Wolper, gasses everyone in the studio to death and escapes. He finds Selina Kyle and uses one of her escorts and his lipstick to take control of a congressional representative, who calls for a nuclear strike on the Soviets before falling to his death.
Batman’s investigation leads him to Selina, whom he finds bound and dressed like Wonder Woman. Kelley notices cotton candy on the floor, and Batman deduces that Joker is at the fairgrounds.
There Kelley accidentally kills Abner while Batman pursues the Joker, who indiscriminately guns down dozens of people. As Batman corners a wounded and partially blinded Joker, he admits to feeling responsible for every murder Joker has committed and intends to stop him permanently. In the ensuing fight, Joker stabs Batman repeatedly, and Batman breaks Joker’s neck in front of witnesses.
However, Joker is still alive, albeit paralyzed from the neck-down. Content that Batman will be branded a murderer, the Joker finishes twisting his neck, killing himself. The GCPD arrive and Batman, bleeding profusely, fights his way to Kelley and escapes.
Superman deflects a Soviet nuclear missile, but is hit with the blast and badly injured. The detonation creates an electromagnetic pulse that wipes out all electrical equipment in the United States and causes a nuclear winter. As Gotham descends into chaos, Batman, Kelley and Gordon rally the Sons of Batman and the citizens of Gotham to restore order, and Yindel accepts that Batman has become too powerful to take down.
While the rest of America is powerless and overrun with crime, Gotham becomes the safest city in the country, embarrassing the President’s administration. Frustrated they weren’t able to bring stability, Superman and troops are sent to finally stop Batman. Batman and Superman agree to meet in Crime Alley.
Superman can’t help but feel remorse for disregarding Batman throughout the years, and humbly asks him not to go through the fight. Wearing a powerful exoframe and supported by Kelley and former superhero Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), Batman fights Superman, using various tactics to make the fight even.
When Superman gains the advantage, Queen hits him with an arrow made with synthetic Kryptonite, severely weakening him. Batman savagely beats Superman, claiming that he intentionally made the Kryptonite weak, and tells Superman never to forget that Batman could have killed him whenever he wanted.
Batman then apparently dies of a heart attack, while Wayne Manor self-destructs, and Alfred dies of a stroke. Superman holds Batman’s body, and orders the soldiers to stand down.
In the aftermath, the world learns that Bruce was Batman; all of his secrets are destroyed with the manor and his finances disappear. As Superman leaves Wayne’s funeral, he gives Kelley a knowing wink after hearing a faint heartbeat coming from Bruce’s coffin. In a cave, Bruce is revealed to have faked his death to make preparations to continue his mission more discreetly, allied with Kelley, Queen, and his followers.
3. Batman: Gotham Knight
Director: Shōjirō Nishimi (#1), Futoshi Higashide (#2), Hiroshi Morioka (#3), Yasuhiro Aoki (#4), Toshiyuki Kubooka (#5), Jong-Sik Nam (#6), Yoshiaki Kawajiri (#6, uncredited)
Writer(s): Josh Olson (#1), Greg Rucka (#2), Jordan Goldberg (#3), David Goyer (#4), Brian Azzarello (#5), Alan Burnett (#6)
Release Date: July 8, 2008
Runtime: 76 minutes
Have I Got a Story for You
A street kid meets with his three friends at a skate park, to which all three of them claim to have seen Batman earlier that day. Batman’s battle with the Man in Black, a high-tech criminal, is told in reverse chronological order with three very different interpretations of Batman’s form and abilities (in the style of the 1950 film Rashomon): one describes him as a living shadow that can melt away and reappear at will (similar to Vampire Batman from Batman & Dracula trilogy); another describes him as a half-human, half-bat creature (similar to Man-Bat); and lastly, one describes him as a combat robot that can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
At the end, Batman pursues the Man in Black to the skate park and captures him with the help of the fourth street kid. The fourth kid is able to see what Batman truly is after seeing him sustain injuries from the battle: a human warrior in a costume. He then proceeds to tell his experience about seeing Batman to his friends after Batman disappears.
Crispus Allen and Anna Ramirez are partners and members of the Major Crimes Unit that have been hand-picked by Lieutenant James Gordon. The two are assigned to take the recently captured Man in Black (who was captured previously on Have I Got A Story For You), revealed to be Jacob Feely, an escaped inmate from Arkham Asylum with an expertise in advanced electronics and explosives back to Arkham Asylum (which most of the Narrows has been converted into following the incident in Batman Begins).
On their way, they argue over whether Batman can be trusted with Allen saying that they are just running errands for a vigilante while Ramirez replies that Batman has changed Gotham for the better. As they are heading back, Allen declares his intention to leave the MCU and Ramirez pulls into a vacant lot to confront Allen. However, the two get caught in a very large gunfight between gangs, The Russian Mob and Sal Maroni‘s gang.
Maroni’s men are gunned down and Maroni takes refuge behind Allen and Ramirez’s patrol car which The Russian subsequently destroys with a rocket launcher. Ramirez and Maroni manage to get clear in time while Allen is rescued by Batman who proceeds to take out The Russian and his men.
Sal Maroni then threatens to kill Ramirez, but he is dispatched by Batman. Batman recognizes Allen and Ramirez as Gordon’s hand-picked officers and remarks that Gordon is a good judge of character, and disappears.
An accident involving a new WayneCom satellite’s gyroscopic electromagnetic guidance system gives Lucius Fox an idea to create a device with the satellite’s gyro with an advanced sound sensor that will electromagnetically deflect small-arms fire.
Bruce Wayne takes the device and attends a charity golf tournament being held by land developer Ronald Marshall, with whom he discusses the mysterious death of a community activist named Teresa Williams, who had opposed some of Marshall’s plans. During the tournament, Wayne secretly takes Marshall’s PDA device.
Later that night as Batman, he hijacks a boat owned by Sal Maroni and drives it alongside a boat owned by the Russian Mob’s leader The Russian and proceeds to attack both gangs at once with assistance from his new device. He attempts to force a truce between the two gang leaders until he can get evidence against them and that Sal Maroni and the Russian can then argue who gets the top bunk at Blackgate Penitentiary.
The discussion is disrupted when one of Maroni’s men fires at him. The bullet deflects and instead hits one of The Russian’s men. Distressed, Batman takes the injured man to the hospital. Later, he returns the device to Fox, stating: “…It works too well: I’m willing to put my life on the line to do what I have to. But it has to be mine, no one else’s.”
The police respond to a riot in a cathedral where Cardinal O’Fallon was giving a sermon. According to eyewitness testimony, the Cardinal was abducted by a large monster and taken down into the crypts below the cathedral.
Lieutenant Gordon, Crispus Allen, and Anna Ramirez investigate. Gordon has a brief conversation with Batman, who agrees with Gordon’s theory that the Scarecrow’s fear toxin is behind the riot as the doctor has been at large since the riot at the Narrows (during the event of Batman Begins). Batman gives Gordon an earpiece that will allow them to stay in contact and descends below ground, trying to find Cardinal O’Fallon and his abductor.
A homeless man living in an abandoned subway station identifies the abductor as Killer Croc. Batman and Gordon briefly discuss the villain’s past, but are cut off when Killer Croc ambushes Batman. During the fight, Batman discovers Croc is under the influence of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Batman defeats him, but not before sustaining a bite that transfers some of the toxin to him.
He then finds Cardinal O’Fallon being put on trial and sentenced to death by the Scarecrow (who is unhappy with O’Fallon’s efforts to help the homeless). Batman leaps in to defend the Cardinal. Using the methane already present in the room, he sparks an explosion that destroys several water pipes, flooding the area and allowing him to escape with the Cardinal.
While Scarecrow escapes, Gordon appears in a helicopter to retrieve the Cardinal. Gordon offers to help Batman, but Batman refuses, saying: “Maybe next time.”
Working Through Pain
Taking place after In Darkness Dwells, Batman is shot in the stomach by a man hallucinating in the sewers of Gotham. Severely injured, Batman cauterizes the wound and then desperately searches for a way out, reflecting on his experiences with managing pain as he does so (before the events of Batman Begins).
First, he remembers volunteering with a relief effort and assisting a doctor in performing surgery without anesthesia. Next, he reflects on the lessons he learned from a woman named Cassandra who was cast out of her community for disguising herself as a boy in an attempt to become a Fakir.
Over several months, she teaches him to minimize his pain to the point where he can control it, sleeping on a bed of needles or standing on hot coals without reacting. One night, several young men appear to harass Cassandra, who takes their blows without seeming to feel them.
Bruce steps in to defend her, not only demonstrating his ability to withstand their attacks but defeating them all with his martial arts skills. Cassandra then tells him to leave, saying that he has learned what he came to learn. She then comments on how Bruce’s pain was beyond her or possibly even his ability to handle, but how it also appeared to be leading him down a path he desired.
Back in the present, Batman ends up in a gutter where he discovers a cache of guns buried in the garbage. Alfred then arrives to assist him and tells Batman to reach out his hand so he can pull him out of the gutter but Batman, whose arms are full of guns, replies that he cannot.
Bruce Wayne has a flashback to the murder of his parents. In his penthouse, he examines the firearms he took from the underground tunnel’s gutter (during the events of Working Through Pain) which he intends to turn in to the police.
Wayne admits to Alfred that even though he vowed never to use them in the memory of his parents, he can still understand the temptation to use one. Meanwhile, in another city, a prodigious assassin known as Deadshot carries out an assassination on Mayor Manning with a spectacularly difficult shot from a moving ferris wheel literally miles away from the man and returns to his tropical base.
There, one of his associates hires him to carry out a hit in Gotham. It is revealed that The Russian has put out a hit on Lieutenant Gordon, and Batman is called in to protect him. Batman gives Crispus Allen Ronald Marshall’s handheld PDA device (which he stole as Bruce Wayne in Field Test), containing a link to encrypted e-mails proving that Ronald Marshall hired Deadshot in the past.
He then follows Gordon’s motorcade, with Alfred providing satellite-imagery assistance using the new WayneCom satellites.
Deadshot attempts to shoot Gordon from a moving train, but Batman deflects the bullet. Deadshot then gleefully reveals that Batman was his real target the entire time and that the threat against Gordon was merely a ruse to draw him out.
He opens fire as the train enters a tunnel and as Batman attempts to charge at Deadshot, he gets shot and falls off the train. Deadshot advances to where he saw Batman fall while gloating about shooting Batman, but is suddenly ambushed and disarmed from behind by Batman.
Now terrified, Deadshot confesses that he was hired by the Russians to kill Batman and tries to talk Batman out of killing him since he was “only doing his job.” Infuriated with Deadshot’s cowardice, Batman knocks him out and Deadshot and Ronald Marshall are later arrested afterwards.
Later, Wayne confides to Alfred about how similar the fight in the tunnel seemed to the night his parents were murdered and comments that “I’ve been trying to stop those two bullets all my life.” He expresses discouragement and Alfred agrees, but then adds that he thinks Bruce has a higher purpose. The film ends with Bruce looking up at the sky and seeing the Bat-Signal.
2. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
Director: Matt Peters, Christina Sotta
Writer(s): Ernie Altbacker, Mairghread Scott
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Runtime: 90 minutes
Darkseid, the evil tyrant from Apokolips, is conquering one planet after another. The Justice League recruits other superheroes and decides to attack the infernal planet in order to stop its ruler forever.
Darkseid, however, spies on the attack plan by exploiting the connection Cyborg still has with the mother boxes and the mission ends in tragedy; many heroes lose their lives (such as the Green Lantern Corps, Aquaman and Zatanna, who is inexplicably abandoned by John Constantine) while others suffer a fate that is, perhaps, even worse.
Superman is deprived of his powers; Batman is brainwashed thanks to the Mobius Chair and becomes Darkseid’s lieutenant; Lex Luthor becomes the Dark Knight’s Earth referent; Wonder Woman, Mera, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman and Starfire become the new Furies (completely transformed by combining what remains of their bodies with mechanical parts); Flash is used as a power generator for the planet; and Cyborg becomes the security mechanism of Darkseid’s palace.
Two years later, the Earth is now a domain of Darkseid, who is preparing to steal the magma of the core through three machines in order to revive his own planet. In order to stop him, Superman and Raven go to London and recruit Constantine and the demon Etrigan as part of the resistance led by Lois Lane, who convinces Harley Quinn and her Suicide Squad to join her too, having contact with a spy inside of Darkseid’s army.
Raven and Clark ask John to take them to Damien Wayne, who has become the leader of the League of Assassins; he agrees to help them so he can avenge himself (during the siege of Earth, all the Teen Titans were killed while Nightwing, who was killed during the clash, was brought back to life thanks to the Lazarus Pit but has gone mad).
While the rest of the heroes on Earth sacrifice themselves to destroy the three machines (including Shazam, Batwoman and Superboy), the Squad and the others arrive at Luthor’s (except Black Manta and Deadshot), who is revealed to be the spy, palace, and use the facility’s boom tube to send Superman and the others to Apokolips (taking advantage of the absence of Darkseid, who personally took the field to conquer Oa), while they sacrifice themselves to face the “Paradooms”, the Parademons crossed with Doomsday that Darkseid created and exploited to win the first time.
On Apokolips Superman, Raven and John face off against the ex-heroes, now loyal soldiers of Darkseid but John brings Diana to her senses thanks to her Lasso; later the group frees Flash from the generator and Constantine uses his magic to exorcise Cyborg, making him come to his senses.
Once in the central room, the group faces Batman and Darkseid. Damien fights with his father, trying to make him come to his senses, but it is only after his murder at the hands of Darkseid that Batman snaps from his mind control. John then frees Trigon from Raven’s crystal and the demon takes possession of Superman, who then fights against the tyrant of the planet.
During the clashes, John loses his life and so he has the opportunity to talk to Zatanna, who confesses that she pushed him to leave her with a spell to save his life and then sent him back to Earth; Raven later resurrects him and Damien, who confesses his love for her.
Superman frees himself from the control of the demon and John frees Trigon altogether, who then immolates himself with Cyborg to send Darkseid into the void, thanking his daughter and then return to limbo, while the the rest of the heroes return to Earth.
Unfortunately the damage caused to the planet is irreversible and therefore John convinces Barry to create a new Flashpoint to start from scratch; the sprinter, albeit reluctant, accepts while Damien, Raven (who give each other their first and last kiss) and the group observe the new horizon.
1. Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero
Director: Boyd Kirkland
Writer(s): Boyd Kirkland, Randy Rogel
Release Date: March 17, 1998
Runtime: 66 minutes
Victor Fries, aka Mr. Freeze, has found a home – the Arctic Circle, where he can live as a normal man can live in the tropics, and where his wife Nora remains in cryogenic suspension pending Victor’s discovery of a cure for the illness that will take her life should she be freed too soon.
However, a submarine on a scientific expedition surfaces through the ice of Fries’ cave home, destroying the area – and breaching the seals on Nora Fries’ cryo-chamber.
In desperation, Victor dons the frigid battlesuit of Mr. Freeze to find the one doctor who can save Nora’s life, but the doctor needs an organ transplant to pull off the operation. He finds a donor with the right blood type – Barbara Gordon, whose relationship with Dick Grayson is becoming more serious.
When Barbara is kidnapped, Grayson and Bruce Wayne don their famous crime fighting costumes to track down Barbara and Freeze, and along the way learn the full story of Nora Fries’ desperate predicament.
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