DC may not have mastered live-action moviemaking yet, but he knows how to make animation. Batman’s house and Superman has surpassed Marvel in making many animated films over the years, many of which don’t get the recognition they deserve.

To put that into perspective, DC built not one but two cinematic universes following various characters over the past decade. DC fans looking for something better might want to check out these eight animated films.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)

The ruined watchtower in a river at "Justice League Dark: Apokolips War."
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After the Justice League launches a failed attack on Apokolips, John Constantine and a powerless Superman must lead Earth’s surviving heroes and villains into a final battle against Darkseid to save Earth. Fans of DC’s Snyderverse will appreciate Apokolips Waras it features many plot elements that would have been used in the two canceled sequels to Justice League.

With a post-apocalyptic Earth, a massacre of superheroes, a brainwashed Batman and monstrous “Paradooms”, this film holds nothing back in presenting the dark and bloody finale of the League’s war against Darkseid.

Batman: Mask of Phantasm (1993)

The shadowy figure of Bruce Wayne donning the mantle of Batman.

Although many people call The black Knight The best Batman movie, some lists have ranked this movie as the greatest Caped Crusader. Set in the same universe as Batman: The Animated Series, mask of fantasy shows Bruce confronting his past when his former lover, Andrea Beaumont, appears alongside another masked vigilante, the Phantasm.

And as Batman attempts to prove his innocence of the crimes of Phantasm, the film portrays the hero’s tragic origins in a unique way by showing how the world and Bruce himself denied him the chance to live a happy, healthy life.

Batman: Under Red Riding Hood (2010)

Batman standing with Gotham and the Red Hood above his head.

This spectacular film shows Batman facing his greatest failure in the form of his protege, Jason Todd, who returns as a violent vigilante after presumably being killed by the Joker. As Red Hood, Todd battles Batman in a clash of ideals that raises questions about the Dark Knight’s moral code.

Whether or not its approach to crime-fighting is the best, this movie does a terrific job of analyzing why Batman won’t break his one rule, not even Jason or the Joker.

Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 & 2 (2021)

Batman and Harvey Dent in "Batman: The Long Halloween - Part 1."
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fans of The black Knight And by Matt Reeves The Batman should enjoy this two-part adventure. Adapting the screenplay of the same name, The Long Halloween shows the world’s greatest detective teams up with Catwoman and Harvey Dent to stop a serial killer named “Holiday” from murdering members of the Falcone crime family, culminating in Harvey’s transformation into the villainous “Two-Face” .

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)

The Flash in promotional art for the Flashpoint Paradox.

For those disappointed by Andy Muschietti the flash, this film presents a more faithful adaptation of the iconic comic book “Flashpoint”. After traveling back in time to prevent the murder of his mother, the Scarlet Speedster finds himself de-powered in an alternate timeline in which Thomas Wayne is Batman, Martha Wayne is the Joker, and Wonder Woman and Aquaman have started World War III.

The Flashpoint Paradox makes full use of its source material to present a dark, time-traveling epic that forces the Flash to face the full weight of his tampering with fate, along with his greatest enemy, Professor Zoom.

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

Batman standing on top of a building with the cityscape and Joker looming above.

Set in futuristic Neo-Gotham, Bruce Wayne’s latest protege, Terry McGinnis, faces off against the Dark Knight’s greatest enemy after inexplicably returning from the dead.

This Annie Award-winning film is a particularly dark chapter in The DC Animated Universe, illustrating how the Joker brainwashed Tim Drake into fighting Batman, leaving deep scars in the minds of the Dark Knight and his young ward. However, audiences should watch the uncut version of this film if they want to feel the full force of this haunting thriller.

The Death of Superman (2018)

Superman's cape hanging like a flag in "The Death of Superman."
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In his continuing war against the Justice League, Darkseid sends his new bio-weapon, Doomsday, to wreak havoc on Earth, plunging him into an epic battle against Superman.

While Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may have crushed Doomsday in its third act, The Death of Superman puts more emphasis on the Man of Steel, his personal struggles, and his climactic showdown against the alien monster, allowing for a more faithful and focused adaptation of the infamous comic storyline.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 and 2 (2012 and 2013)

Batman jumping in the night sky with a lightning bolt next to him in "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns."
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A decade after retiring as Batman, a middle-aged Bruce Wayne returns to crime-fighting in a crime-ridden Gotham, leading to battles against Two-Face, the Joker, and even Superman. Every shot in this movie looks like it was pulled straight from Frank Miller’s classic comic strips.

And as it stays true to the beloved source material, Return of the Dark Knight spans two films to showcase old Batman’s epic war against Gotham’s criminals and a beleaguered government humiliated by his actions.

All these films are available for streaming on Max.