We're just a couple of weeks away from the debut of the eighth movie in the modern DC Universe Animated Original Movies continuity (yes, that's what they officially call it, and no, we're not calling it DCUAOM) as Teen Titans: The Judas Contract debuts at WonderCon before hitting digital download on April 4 and DVD/Blu-ray on April 18.
The film adapts a -- if not the -- classic Teen Titans tale, from the seminal creative team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and actually includes two of their stories from the same timeframe in the comics history: One deals with Brother Blood, a classic Titans villain in his own right, while the other more closely adapts "The Judas Contract" and features Terra and Deathstroke.
But before this movie even hits shelves, digital or otherwise, there are plenty of exciting DCUAOM (okay, guess we are) movies already available for you to watch. The movies feature exciting stories and are said to be at least looked at for inspiration for the new DCEU live-action movies that are coming to theaters soon, so this way you can get a jump on your DC knowledge. While all seven of these films are fun and worth watching in their own right, we attempt here to give a definitive ranking of the releases so far.
Batman Vs. Robin (2015)
Again, it's not that Batman vs. Robin is bad by any means, and as the sequel to Son of Batman (which you'll find much higher on this list), it stands as a pretty good Part Two to that story. Where the former deals with the League of Assassins, this one goes for another shady group, the Court of Owls. It's a thrill to see the Court in action, a recent invention in the New 52 era of DC Comics by the insanely popular creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. You can also already see the Court in live action on this season (and the tail end of last year) of Gotham.
Justice League vs. Teen Titans (2016)
This thrilling adventure, which leads directly into Judas Contract via a post-credits scene (so watch it all the way to the end), introduced the concept of the Teen Titans to this continuity. Look, there shouldn't be too much more we need to say after mentioning that Jon Bernthal, who's Shane on The Walking Dead and more recently the freaking Punisher on Netflix's Daredevil, voices Trigon, the demon father of Teen Titans member Raven. Also, it's got that avant garde "heroes vs. heroes" format that was ever-so-slightly popular last year (hello, Civil War, BvS, Apocalypse), and at one point Robin stabs Superman with Kryptonite, so if you're looking for action, you'll find it here.
Justice League Dark (2017)
The most recent release in this continuity, Justice League Dark being this far down on the list is a testament to how good the movies in this group have been. Released earlier this year, JLD sees Batman recruiting mystical members of the DC Universe to combat a threat only their unique talents can take on: Felix Faust. This movie has, somehow, an even better voice cast than others before it, including Enrico Colantoni as Faust, Matt Ryan reprising the role of John Constantine that he played in live action, Nicholas Turturro as Boston Brand (aka Deadman), Camilla Luddington as Zatanna, plus cameos from much of the Justice League. Oh, it also officially brought John Stewart the Green Lantern into this continuity, hopefully setting up for a Green Lantern Corps adventure ahead of the live-action movie. This is definitely one for comics fans, so grab your closest geek and enjoy.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (2015)
It's tough to arrange JL Dark and Throne of Atlantis in rankings, but this one edges out the other for the introduction of Aquaman to this world. A loose adaptation of the story arc of the same name by Geoff Johns and artists Ivan Reis and Paul Pelletier, it tells the story of Aquaman joining the Justice League and taking on his half-brother Orm aka Ocean Master. Aquaman vs. Ocean Master, battling for the throne, is also reportedly the main storyline of the upcoming Aquaman live-action movie, so this one might have some hints for you. The voice cast is outrageous, adding Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Aquaman and Sam Witwer (Darth Maul, Galen 'Starkiller' Marek, Crashdown in BSG and Aidan in Being Human) as Ocean Master to many reprising voice actors like Jason O’Mara as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman and Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan. It shows that, yes, Aquaman is a badass, and should get you pumped for the live-action flick coming next year.
Batman: Bad Blood (2016)
Yes, this movie title will make you start speculating on other Taylor Swift songs that would make good Batman movie titles, and no, that's not a bad thing. This movie could have just as easily been titled "Batman Family," as Batman is off the board for much of it while Batwoman, Robin, Nightwing and even Batwing take on the burden of saving Gotham City in his stead. Batman: Bad Blood also follows up on Damian's story in particular, introducing Heretic, an accelerated-growth adult clone of Damian (hey kids, comics!) as one of the villains.
Justice League: War (2014)
The movie that kicked off this modern continuity is also one of the best. Based on the first arc of Justice League from the New 52 era by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, Justice League: War brings the team together for the first time all over again, uniting to fight off the invasion of Darkseid and his flying cannon-fodder the Parademons. Shazam takes Aquaman's place in the story, but otherwise it's a fairly close adaptation and features some incredibly visceral action, setting the tone for all the movies to come after it. Jay Oliva, who directed this as well as Batman vs. Robin, Batman: Bad Blood and Justice League Dark, knows action, after all, having worked as a storyboard artist and action/fight scene coordinator before and after these for a few live-action movies you may have heard of: Man of Steel, Ant-Man, Deadpool, The Flash TV series, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, and Justice League. Dude has quite the pedigree, and also directed episodes of Young Justice, the animated adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, and more.
Son of Batman (2014)
I'll never be one to hide my personal love of Damian Wayne, the literal and titular Son of Batman who becomes the fourth (-ish, but let's not get into it right now) Robin, but the first we see directly introduced in this version of the DCU (Dick came in directly as Nightwing, but has a Robin past). Son of Batman doesn't just introduce Damian, though, as it also brings his mother Talia, Deathstroke and the League of Assassins into the mix, and gets into the surprisingly dark territory tread by Grant Morrison when he created the character, complete with Man-Bat ninja assassins (yes, that's exactly as cool as it sounds). This movie has plenty of action, plenty of darkness, but plenty of fun and heart, too. It does a good job with DC's custom theme of legacy and makes for a major setup for nearly every film that's debuted since.