June 12 marks the DVD release for Super VS. The Elite, the next film in the DC Animated Movies. With the next film on the way, I’ve taken a look at the previous 12 movies (excluding Justice League: Doom due to the fact that I’m still waiting to purchase the 2-disc special edition) and I have chosen my favorite five.
5. Batman: Under The Red Hood
The intro is based on the Death In The Family storyline with the death of Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker. The plot was incredible with a lot of different action scenes and , like every good Batman story, a mystery, which was who the Red Hood was and what his real intentions were. It had a lot of depth with villains like Joker, Ra’s Al Ghul, Black Mask and the Red Hood, all with their own intentions to either control Gotham City’s criminal underworld or destroy Batman. But the Caped Crusader would not have to fight them alone, at least for the most part. Nightwing assists in Batman’s defeat of the machine called Amazo and helps track down and chase the Red Hood until he accidentally breaks his ankle and pretty much disappears for the remainder of the film. Under The Red Hood gathered a good group of characters that worked well together, took a classic Batman story and reworked it a bit and ended up with a great animated movie.
Favorite Moment: Batman recalls the moment when he met Jason Todd in crime alley. The scene right before his rooftop battle with the Red Hood.
4. Superman: Doomsday
Almost every single one of these DC animated movies is based on a popular DC comic series or graphic novel, and for this first film in the series, that is completely true. Superman: Doomsday takes the highlights from “The Death Of Superman” storyline from the early 1990’s. The killing machine known as Doomsday has made it’s way to Earth’s surface and battles the Man Of Steel. Superman is eventually able to defeat the monster, but only by sacrificing himself. A funeral is held in his honor and several months pass before his “return”. Unlike the comic book, which featured the arrival of four different Supermen, the movie only features one Superman clone. The Death Of Superman is the best-selling Superman comic book ever, so it was an excellent choice for the writers of the animated film to recreate that for their first movie.
Favorite Moment: Superman sacrifices his own life to put an end to Doomsday’s destruction by plummeting them both to Earth’s surface, creating a large crater with the monster at its center.
3. Justice League: The New Frontier
Based on the graphic novel written by Darwyn Cooke, The New Frontier takes place in the early 1950’s. Superman is America’s loyal hero; Wonder Woman continues her quest for women’s rights, even though her methods seem violent. The Batman has recently started his crime-fighting career and the Martian Manhunter has been accidentally transported from Mars to Earth. The animation resembles that of Cooke’s graphic novel, almost identical and it worked well for the date of the story, having a 50’s style. The story is about the formation of the Justice League and other groups like the Teen Titans, how Batman evolves from the dark crime fighter of Gotham into the Caped Crusader with his new sidekick Robin and also how the Manhunter must adjust to his new life. The main plot features the origin of Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern and how he must use the will within him to defeat the monstrous creature called the Center. Overall, the large cast of heroes led to a diverse story with many subplots and of course, the large battle to save the planet was just epic!
Favorite Moment: The Manhunter is disguised as citizen John Jones when he enters a church to find Batman protecting a young boy from an evil cult. The animation goes into slow motion when the Batman knocks out his first victim.
2. Batman: Year One
Frank Millar wrote the comic version of Year One and it quickly became known as one the best Batman stories ever, but not because of Batman, but Commissioner Gordon. The animated film retells the classic tale of Batman’s origins and his first year under the cape and cowl, but more importantly James Gordon’s first year working in Gotham for the police department. The film literally took the animation from the comic, retelling some scenes almost word for word. It also explores the original rivalry between Gordon and Batman and the rest of the Gotham City Police. It is up to Batman to prove to Gordon that he can be trusted and he does that by rescuing Gordon’s new born baby at the end of the film. Catwoman’s origins are also explored, just like in the comic version. Some of you may have also realized that Batman Begins based its story on Year One. This movie holds the number two spot on my list because I felt that it stayed true to the story it was recreating and it was able to give the setting and characters a look that was different from any other form of Batman animation before it.
Favorite Moment: Batman calls his “back-up” to aid in his escape from the police as the crowd cheers for him. It is then that Gordon realizes that the people of Gotham see the Batman as a heroic icon.
1. Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths
Crisis On Two Earths is my favorite out of all of the DC animated films because of the storyline and the twists and turns that come with it. A good Lex Luthor from a parallel Earth travels to our world to seek the assistance of the Justice League to help him defeat the Crime Syndicate, an evil, super-powered team of villains that resemble the League. To see the two parallel, super-powered groups collide in battle was spectacular and the animation was incredible. One of the villains had his own hideous plan, which was originally thought to use a large atomic bomb to destroy our dimension, but it was actually to destroy all worlds in every dimension. This villain was Owlman, the opposite of Batman, which led to the greatest combat scene in the entire line of animated films. Crisis On Two Earths deserves the number one spot for being one of the best Justice League stories ever and for just being a fantastic film all around.
Favorite Moment: Batman confronts Owlman alone in another dimension and after an epic battle between the two fighting experts, the Batman traps Owlman to his giant bomb, says, “There is a difference between you and me. We both stared into the abyss, but when it stared back at us, you blinked.” And he sends him to another dimension to meet his doom. That scene gives me chills every time I watch it.