The Justice League movie has rolled into theaters. Between the troubled production this movie has endured in the year and a half since Batman v Superman divided fans and critics alike, and the genuine (if questionable) excitement from DC super fans, them cinemas are gonna be awful crowded.
So why not avoid the noisy and unruly first week moviegoers, stay at home and relax? Catch some of the best DC movies from “DC Universe Animated Originals,” the mostly excellent series of straight-to-video animated features bringing the highlights of DC’s greatest stories to life.
8. Green Lantern
Would you believe that they got the origin of Green Lantern right, a whole two years ahead of the disastrous live-action Ryan Reynolds film? Green Lantern: First Flight gets off the ground quickly, nailing the origin and then diving into the cosmic mythos of the Green Lanterns in an organic and entertaining way. It’s only shortcoming is it tries to chart the villain’s character arc in too little time.
7. Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths
While the notion of evil counterparts was explored in the Justice League TV series via the Justice Lords, Crisis on Two Earths explores their relationship with their world in greater depth. Hearing James Woods as a nihilist owl-based counterpart to Batman and Gina Torres as a gleefully sadistic coubnterpart to Wonder Woman serve as a sobering reminder that virtue makes the hero and not power.
6. Wonder Woman
Though we now live in a world with an excellent Wonder Woman film, up until this year, this movie was the only feature-length Wonder Woman picture. It’s astonishingly similar to the first half of the live action film, right down to the warmongering designs of Ares. Keri Russell stars as Wonder Woman and Nathan Fillion plays Steve Trevor, replicating their chemistry from the cult classic rom-com Waitress.
5. Justice League Dark
This supernaturally centered version of the Justice League takes us to the more magical corners of the DC universe. It’s dark and creepy and although an unnecessary Batman serves as our skeptic window, it’s John Constantine who is the real star here. Matt Ryan, who played Constantine on the short-lived NBC series, relishes the opportunity to reprise the trickster mage and plays him to perfection.
4. Justice League: Gods and Monsters
Whenever someone wants to do “Not Your Daddy’s Justice League” there’s always a fear that subverting the material is just a form of shock value. Not so with Gods and Monsters, in which an alternate version of the Trinity that has troubled origins and a dark moral code. But rather than going full edgelord, Gods and Monsters makes a strong case for why they’re the heroes their world needs.
3. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
Based on one of the most infamous DC twists, Flashpoint Paradox takes us to a dystopian alternate timeline created after Barry Allen alters history as The Flash. Everything is topsy turvy here, with a war brewing between the Amazons and Atlanteans giving it an epic feel. But the real stand out is this world’s Batman: a gun-toting crusader driven stone cold by grief and possessed of a sardonic edge.
2. Batman: Under the Red Hood
Despite the many prestige Batman features the DC Universe Animated Originals has produced, they’ve yet to top this one. It chronicles the complex and sometimes tragic relationship Batman has with his sidekicks and gives greater emotional spine to the frequently asked question of why he doesn’t kill. You’ll never forget the amazing performance Jensen Ackles of Supernatural delivers as the Red Hood.
1. Justice League: The New Frontier
New Frontier is set in an anxious yet earnest America where the Cold War ended early. It effortlessly tells the origins of various members of the Justice League and how they came together to fight dinosaurs. Featuring warm, inspiring takes on the Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Superman and more, New Frontier is a love letter to the very foundations of the DC universe.
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