While Marvel Studios has had a distinct leg-up in live-action media over the past two decades, DC has been dominating the animated game since 1992. The DC Animated Universe has consistently produced highly-rated animated franchises consisting of direct-to-video feature films, shorts, and television series that enrich and expand the DC canon.
DC continued this legacy in 2013 when the company launched the DC Animated Movie Universe, an interconnected cinematic universe adapting classic DC storylines, as well as incorporating elements from the New 52 continuity. Creating compelling original storylines, the DCAMU remains an important part of DC’s animated history even in the wake of its finale.
Updated on September 18, 2023 by Katie Doll: After the success of DC Universe’s Original Animated Movies, the DCAMU timeline gave fans a new way to enjoy the storylines that defined the New 52. Although the franchise seemingly ended in 2020, an animated short in 2022 starring John Constantine briefly explored the aftermath of the epic finale. Running for nearly 22 hours across over a dozen films, the DC Animated Movie Universe was a beast of an adaptation for the Justice League and is still beloved by fans.
18 Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
Runtime: 81 Minutes
Adapting the well-known Flashpoint storyline that transitioned DC Comics into the New 52, 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is the movie that established the DC Animated Movie Universe timeline. Barry Allen/The Flash travels back in time to stop his mother’s murder, triggering a butterfly effect that culminates in a drastically different present-day where the world is on the brink of destruction.
In this alternate timeline, Barry’s once-wife is now married to someone else. Worse, the Justice League doesn’t even exist, Wonder Woman is at war with Aquaman, Thomas Wayne becomes Batman after the death of his son, and the Flash is left to pick up the pieces.
17 Justice League: War (2014)
Runtime: 79 Minutes
Justice League: War is an adaptation of Geoff Johns’ and Jim Lee’s “Origin” storyline which formally kicked off the New 52. 2014s War is the second entry in the DCAMU, but the first to really take the comics’ interconnectedness to heart. The film follows a series of strange occurrences in Gotham City, all of which lead to the discovery of several Parademons hard at work on a mysterious project. War also served as a solid origin story for Victor Stone/Cyborg, whose body became fused with Mother Box technology. A post-credits scene promised a future appearance from Aquaman.
16 Son Of Batman (2014)
Runtime: 74 Minutes
Son of Batman fulfills the titular promise of introducing Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul’s son Damian, grandson of the Demon’s Head. At the same time, Slade Wilson/Deathstroke has been vying to become the League of Assassins’ head and leads to an attack which ends with Ra’s al Ghul’s death.
Damian’s entire life up to this point was spent training as a deadly assassin, dissolving most of his humanity in the process. Meeting only led to Bruce and Damian butting heads at every turn. It’s only through their shared mission of rescuing Talia from Deathstroke’s clutches that father and son begin to see eye-to-eye, and Damian chooses to become the new Robin.
15 Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis (2015)
Runtime: 72 Minutes
After teasing Aquaman’s introduction in War, 2015’s Justice League: Throne of Atlantis brought Arthur Curry into the DCAMU as a major player and adapts Geoff Johns’ arc of the same name from the New 52.
The story mainly focuses on Mera teaching Arthur about his Atlantean heritage while Prince Orm manipulates a war to secure Atlantis’s throne with Black Manta. Throne of Atlantis marked Aquaman’s decision to officially join the Justice League, establishing his role in future installments.
14 Nightwing And Robin (2015)
Runtime: 45 Seconds
The 45-second short Nightwing and Robin is set during the events of Throne of Atlantis, following Batman’s partners as they try to take down Scarecrow. Nightwing and Robin swoop into a warehouse, beat up a couple of baddies, and then take down Scarecrow with a couple of well-placed batarangs and a swift kick to the head.
Although the short is only 45 seconds long, last few seconds reveal a mysterious stranger watching the events from a skylight. Nightwing and Robin was intended as an appetizer for the next feature-length animated film in the DCAMU, teasing the Court of Owls. That said, the short is perfectly skippable.
13 Batman Vs. Robin (2015)
Runtime: 80 Minutes
Adapting Scott Snyder’s “Court of the Owls” storyline, 2015’s Batman vs. Robin paired down the narrative to its most essential parts: Batman, Robin, and the Court of Owls — the latter representing a viable option for Damian to utilize his assassin training.
Bruce and his son reach a boiling point of differing ideologies, which naturally strains their relationship. The mysterious figure teased in Nightwing and Robin is revealed as Talon, who tries to manipulate Damian away from Bruce. Batman vs. Robin finds father and son trying to figure out how to work together while creating a lasting bond.
12 Batman: Bad Blood (2016)
Runtime: 72 Minutes
2016’s Batman: Bad Blood takes place six months after the events of Batman vs Robin. Following Batman’s apparent death after an explosion triggered by the villain Heretic, Nightwing and Robin team up with Batwoman and Batwing to get to the bottom of the mystery.
What they discover involves Damian’s mother, Talia al Ghul, and a cloning experiment to create the perfect soldier. The Mad Hatter also has a hand in the dirty dealings and a plan that will have an impact on the entire world. Bad Blood likewise serves as Batgirl’s introduction, promising a future team-up at the end of the movie.
11 Justice League Vs. Teen Titans (2016)
Runtime: 79 Minutes
Justice League vs. Teen Titans brings together two of the most prominent DC teams. The film follows Robin as he’s sent to “slum it” with the Teen Titans, following a blatant disregard for his father’s orders. There, he finds himself enmeshed in a tale involving demons and Raven’s mysterious past.
Raven’s father Trigon, a demonic entity, proves to be a formidable foe for the Justice League and possesses several of their ranks. It’s then up to the Titans to stop the “evil” version of the League along with Trigon’s nefarious plans.
10 Justice League Dark (2017)
Runtime: 75 Minutes
Justice League Dark focuses on a special line-up of heroes whose talents align with the occult and macabre. Batman recruits this darker version of the Justice League to step in when a supernatural force starts inflicting people with nightmarish hallucinations.
Batman’s team ultimately consists of John Constantine, Deadman, Zatanna, Etrigan the Demon, Swamp Thing, and Black Orchid. Justice League Dark was a refreshing, magical take on the DC realm complete with dreamstones, Merlin, and several far-out elements that would otherwise have trouble finding a place in the franchise.
9 Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (2017)
Runtime: 84 Minutes
2017’s Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is a direct sequel to Justice League vs Teen Titans. The film retells the classic Titans storyline where the team is confronted with death and betrayal while uncovering a plot set against them by their persistent enemy, Deathstroke. Judast Contract takes a fun look at the original Teen Titans before following up with the modern team.
The Titans are eager to welcome new member Terra on board, unaware she’s actually a double-agent working for Deathstroke. However, Deathstroke himself is working for another big bad, and he later betrays Terra. While her appearance is all too brief, Terra is a great addition who shook the Teen Titans to their very core – both in the comics and the DCAMU.
8 Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay (2018)
Runtime: 86 Minutes
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay is a stand-alone story in the DCAU canon following Task Force X, a notorious team of villains gathered by Amanda Waller, forced to do her bidding under the threat of certain death.
The “Suicide” Squad is tasked with locating what’s essentially a “Get Out of Hell Free” card, which a terminally ill Waller wants for obvious purposes. Opposing the charming anti-heroes are Vandal Savage and his crew, including his own daughter Scandal, and many other villains from the Squad’s rogues’ gallery. Reverse-Flash from Flashpoint also plays a role, cleanly connecting the film to the DCAMU.
7 Constantine: City Of Demons (2018)
Runtime: 90 Minutes
Constantine: City of Demons — The Movie is a feature-length compilation of the short-lived animated web series which spun off from the 2017 DCAMU movie, Justice League Dark. City of Demons follows John Constantine, a renowned occult detective demon hunter who also happens to be one of the most powerful sorcerers in DC.
When Constantine is tasked with helping out an old friend whose daughter is in a coma, the antihero must confront his inner demons and face off against his powerful nemesis, Nergal. The animated web series stars Matt Ryan as Constantine, allowing the actor to reprise his role from the Constantine TV series.
6 The Death of Superman (2018)
Runtime: 81 Minutes
Unlike the previously animated version of the famous story (2007’s Superman: Doomsday), 2018’s Death of Superman is more faithful to the source material.
The film charts Clark Kent’s relationship with Lois Lane, who feels like Clark is keeping things from her. At this point, Lois doesn’t know Clark’s true identity as
Superman and it takes a beast of seismic proportions to bring them together, albeit briefly. Death of Superman features an epic fight scene between Doomsday, Superman, and the Justice League which sets up the movie’s immediate sequel.
5 Reign Of The Supermen (2019)
Runtime: 87 Minutes
2019’s Reign of the Supermen is the direct sequel to 2018’s Death of Superman. The film takes place six months after Superman’s demise when several new “Supermen” show up under mysterious circumstances. Among them is an adolescent Superman named Superboy, a clone created by Lex Luthor.
A new Cyborg Superman starts causing trouble while others like Steel and Eradicator try to fill the void Superman left. It’s up to Lois Lane and Lex Luthor to bring the hero back and uncover the truth behind the new Supermen. Thankfully, Superman is able to return and he teams up with Steel & Superboy to save the day from Cyborg Superman and a mysterious threat.
4 Batman: Hush (2019)
Runtime: 82 Minutes
Batman: Hush follows Batman as his relationship with the renowned cat burglar, Catwoman, develops. Together, they set out to outsmart a crafty new villain who goes by the name of Hush. However, Hush has the upper hand, as he seemingly knows quite a bit about Bruce Wayne’s personal life, including his identity.
What makes Hush such an interesting film in the DCAMU is that it changes the story from the comics, creating a new identity behind Hush’s bandages. Additionally, the reveal has not one, but two major twists. The adaptation was a bit divisive among fans, but it undoubtedly adds something unexpected to the storyline.
3 Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (2019)
Runtime: 79 Minutes
2019’s Wonder Woman: Bloodlines follows the titular heroine as she uncovers a new threat known as Villainy Inc. The team is made up of several enemies from her past, including Doctor Cyber and Silver Swan. When Wonder Woman defies the Amazonian “no man” law, she is disowned by her mother Hippolyta and exiled.
Suffering from a magical memory block, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor try to nullify the spell’s effects and locate Themiscyra. However, Villainy Inc. also wants to locate the Amazonian land in order to gain access to their mystical technologies. Notably, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines film is one of the few DCAMU installments not to focus on Batman, Superman, or the League.
2 Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)
Runtime: 90 Minutes
2020’s Justice League Dark: Apokolips War was the final entry in the DCAMU until very recently. Apokolips War serves as a culmination of every team established within the DCAMU up to that point, as members of the Justice League, Teen Titans, Justice League Dark, and Suicide Squad join forces to save Earth after a devastating battle ended with Darkseid conquering the planet.
After the fall of the League and other allies, the film picks up two years later under Darkseid’s rule. Several heroes have fallen under his control, and it’s up to a motley few survivors to pick up the pieces. The final stand and its fallout left the future of the DCAMU unknown as reality was once again rewritten by The Flash.
1 Constantine: The House Of Mystery (2022)
Runtime: 27 Minutes
Constantine: The House of Mystery is a supplemental extension to the DCAMU, following the Hellblazer himself — John Constantine — in the aftermath of 2020’s Apokolips War. Thanks to his intervention in which he meddled with the timeline by telling The Flash to alter history again, Constantine is thrown into the House of Mystery.
There, Constantine is doomed to spend the rest of eternity being hounded by demons. House of Mystery features Matt Ryan reprising his much-acclaimed role as the titular hero and serves as a final epilogue to the DCAMU.