Features Film

Top 6 Animated DC Movies

3. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns


Guess we’re back to Batman again. Geez. And whaddaya know, it’s another comic adaption. This time it’s Frank Millar‘s excellent The Dark Knight Returns (If the title didn’t tip you off). And don’t worry, this was Frank Millar BEFORE he went nuts. Now, this film is actually two films, The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, which were released separately. But I’m going to count them as one film because I’m the one writing this list and I can do whatever the hell I like sonny jim!

Already this film has a lot going for it. A great story, great animation and interesting new takes on the characters. But what really sells it is the voice acting. Particularly Michael Emerson as The Joker and Peter Weller as Batman. That’s right. Robocop voiced Batman. Just let that sink in. Weller isn’t just playing Batman though, he’s playing an older, more grizzled Batman. It’s a very distinct performance, one that sucks you in and never lets you go.


2. Batman: Assault on Arkham


I don’t like to think of this film as a Batman film, mainly because, again, he’s not the focus. I think of it as a Suicide Squad film. And as a Suicide Squad film, it’s bloody awesome! Emphasis on bloody. I can only hope that the upcoming live action Suicide Squad movie is half as good as this one.

If I had to sum up this film in one word, I’d use “slick”. It’s like a super villain version of Oceans 11. Deadshot, Killer Frost, Captain Boomerang (Hah!), Black Spider, Harley Quinn and King Shark are tasked by Amanda Waller to infiltrate Arkham Asylum, all the while Batman is trying to uncover the location of a dirty bomb hidden by the Joker. And frankly, that’s all you need. The film just comes together in such a rollicking, fun way that is just a treat to watch. Nothing else to say except… yahtzee!


1. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm


I want to make one thing perfectly clear. Despite the fact that I hate Batman, as well as DC in general, this… is not my favourite Batman film. This… is not my favourite DC film. This… is my favourite superhero film of ALL TIME. Mask of the Phantasm hold my personal number one spot. Including live action and animation. Admittedly, it shares this spot with Avengers, but they’re on equal footing. I truly believe that when it comes to superhero films, it’s these two films that people should aspire to.

I love this film so much, it makes me like Batman. In almost every other form of media, I hate him. But in MotP… god, he’s just brilliant! If every interpretation of Batman was like this one, he would be my favourite superhero. I don’t even know how to describe this film it’s so good. Anything I say just doesn’t seem to do it justice. Its animation? Flawless. Its plot? Intriguing and chock full of pathos. Its characters? Both larger than life and yet at the same time, very grounded and human.

When I watch it, the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention. My eyes refuse to blink so that I don’t miss a single picosecond. It’s as close to perfect as a film can get. If you haven’t watched it already, stop what you are doing and do so right now. I don’t care what you have to drop, just do it. Don’t go to work, walk out of school, cancel that date, miss that train, abandon that heart transplant. Just watch it. Now.


But what do YOU think of this list? Is it an admirable assembly of animated awesomeness or a crude collection of cinematic crap? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter! Meanwhile, I’m going to wait in gleeful excitement for Suicide Squad and also in angry apprehension for Justice League. I still hate you DC. Make no mistake.

About the author

Scott Meridew