The DC Animated Universe has a long, rich history that’s rivaled its live-action productions. While the DC films have had their issues bringing most of their iconic characters to life, the animated side of their productions has had no issues. Characters such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have had some of their most iconic comic-book moments depicted in animated movies in ways that live-action couldn’t do. Some of the very best adaptations of DC comics stories have been on the animated side of DC Comics.
Films including the The Dark Knight and Man of Steel may have been inspired by certain storylines from the comics, but DC animated movies have been allowed to fully adapt classic stories. Stories including Batman: Year One and The Death of Superman have been adapted into films and have stood out as some of the best DC animated movies to have been created. More importantly, DC animated movies have been able to bring about characters that weren’t quite able to work out in live-action. Some of the more outlandish villains that DC has to offer have been perfectly depicted in animated films. Meanwhile, heroes who have not had as much live-action screen time as some of DC’s most iconic characters have been able to shine in their own films. These are 10 of the best DC animated movies that have showcased the very best of these iconic characters.
 Green Lantern: First Flight
Green Lantern is an original member of the Justice League. He’s a character worthy of an epic live-action film yet his most important story was told in the animated film, Green Lantern: First Flight. This highly entertaining adaptation tells Hal Jordan’s very first mission as a Green Lantern. The movie essentially works as a cop film with Sinestro acting as Hal’s morally corrupt and jaded partner. Green Lantern: First Flight expertly portrayed the relationship between Hal Jordan and his eventual arch-enemy, Sinestro.
 Batman: Year One
Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins took inspiration from Batman: Year One but the animated version of the comic was able to adapt the entire story. The film perfectly captured Bruce Wayne’s first mission as Batman in his attempt to rid Gotham of crime and corruption. The film also introduces one of the most important partnerships in comics history, that of Batman and Commissioner James Gordon.
 Batman: Assault on Arkham
Despite the title, Batman: Assault on Arkham is a Suicide Squad story. The movie tells the story of the infamous Task Force X, led by Deadshot, as they’re tasked with breaking into Arkham Asylum. The film was set in the video game universe of Batman: Arkham Asylum and was a must-watch with plenty of action and a surprising ending.
 Wonder Woman
Before Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, there was Rosario Dawson. The origin story of the famed Amazonian princess was largely inspired by the character’s origin story from the comics. Wonder Woman was the best DC had to offer before Patty Jenkins directed her own Wonder Woman origin story.
 Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox was an instrumental event in the comics as it essentially rebooted decades worth of DC storylines. Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox was a worthy adaptation of the story. It followed the Flash’s failed attempt to save his mother from the clutches of The Reverse Flash, an attempt that led to a new timeline in which Bruce Wayne was killed and his parents became twisted versions of Batman and The Joker.
 The Death of Superman
The Death of Superman actually had two adaptations. The superior version however was the second one released in 2018. The movie largely followed the famous storyline of Superman and his apparent death at the hands of the villain Doomsday.
 Justice League: Doom
Justice League: Doom is an action-packed film that shows the Justice League just how dangerous Batman can be. In the film, a group of villains steal Batman’s contingency plans to beat the Justice League should any of them ever go rogue. Unfortunately for them, those plans are used prematurely to great effect.
 Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is easily the most brutal DC animated story ever told. This movie is essentially the DC version of Avengers: Endgame if all of the Avengers were brutally murdered by Thanos and his minions. Despite depicting the final battle between the Justice League and Darkseid, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War was largely a John Constantine story.
 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
Batman Beyond brought the character of Terry McGinnis into the DC universe. His first feature film, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker solidified the character as a worthy successor to Bruce Wayne as he fought his greatest foe, The Joker. This emotional Batman story was easily one of the best things to come out of the DC animated universe and proved why this Batman of the future was every bit as good as the original.
 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was the standard for animated superhero films for a long time. The feature film set within the world of Batman: The Animated Series saw Batman face the mysterious villain Phantasm as he grapples with his former flame Andrea Beaumont. This moody adventure made perfect use of its art deco setting while adding even more to the Batman mythos.