Regardless of what each person thinks individually, it is safe to say that the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is off to a rocky start. 2016 brought us two instalments to the franchise with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Both films were thrashed by critics and didn’t quite hit with the audiences, earning a 64% and 65% Audience Score respectively on Rotten Tomatoes.
The DCEU must be screwed right? Not quite. There is still one department of DC that is still making DC films giving us hope, and that’s DC animated. These are 3 DC animated films that will give you hope for the DCEU.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Part 1 (93% Audience Score)
Part 2 (94% Audience Score)
Technically two films, but one epic story. After the death of Robin, Batman decides to hang up the mask and retire as the Dark Knight. Ten years on, Gotham is under attack by new gang known as the Mutants. 55-year-old Bruce Wayne can’t stand to see his city destroyed anymore so he squeezes his old bones back into the Bat suit for one last fight. With the return of vigilante, the Government wants to put a stop to the Dark Knight for good, and in cause hires the Man of Steel, Superman, to take him out.
After a poor reception from Batman v Superman, there’s no better way to restore hope into a DC story than to watch an animated Batman and Superman go toe to toe. Both films in which Batman and Superman square off holds strong parallels to each other with many story points of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns being adapted in Batman v Superman. The Dark Knight Returns is an adaptation of the 1986 limited series under the same name.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (93% Audience Score)
Adapted from the 2011 comic series Flashpoint, the film follows our favourite Scarlet Speedster, Barry Allen, as he lives his life in an alternate timeline, which he created by going back in time to save his mother from dying. Barry awakens in this new timeline to learn that his life as he knew it is gone. In this alternate timeline, Barry Allen no long has powers and the Flash is non-existent. Bruce Wayne is dead and it’s his father, Thomas Wayne that took up the mantel as Batman. However, that is not the biggest twist of all. Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war with each other and the good guys are Lex Luthor and Deathstroke, struggling to protect the Earth from destruction.
The CW’s The Flash recently adapted the Flashpoint story line as their main story arc for season 3. Due to the downsized scale of TV, the complexity of Flashpoint was quite minor, however in a cinematic setting like the DCEU, a complex Flashpoint story can be told in the near future.
Batman: Under The Red Hood (92% Audience Rating)
Five years after the Joker murders Jason
Todd, who at the time was Batman’s sidekick Robin, a new vigilante known as the Red Hood emerges in Gotham and attempts to clean up the crime filled city with intimidation and a lot of gunfire. Batman, along with some help from ex-Robin, Nightwing, try and track down this new vigilante and stop him before he has full control over the city. Attempting to stop Red Hood fails multiple times because Red Hood always seems to be a few steps ahead of him. Therefore to stop him, they must first uncover the mystery of who is under the Red Hood and how he is always ahead.
The origin of the Red Hood is a story that could be adapted in the near future of the DCEU. The reason for this is because the death of Jason Todd, a famous event from the 1988 comic arc Batman: A Death in the Family, is the foundation in which the Red Hood originates from. As seen in Batman v Superman, Batman has already lost one Robin, and by the paint on Robin’s suit, it can only be assumed that the Joker is the one responsible. This therefore sets up the foundation to which the DC can build off and adapt a version of the Red Hood into the DCEU.
There is still hope!