If you ask me, many of the strongest DC Comics adaptations (including both movies and TV shows) have been animated, yet Zack Snyder’s Justice League is one of the few live action superhero movies that effectively brings that same epic tone and truly lived-in atmosphere into the “real” world. Watching the Snyder Cut actually makes me want to revisit those adaptations more than the DCEU movies again, to be honest. If you agree, I have a quick guide of good DC animated movies and shows and how to watch them below.
The following five feature-length adventures and three exciting TV series serve as a perfect companion to Zack Snyder’s Justice League for admirers of animated comic book adaptations. In fact, if you have an HBO Max subscription (and you likely do if you saw the Snyder Cut), you already have access to every entry on this list, which begins with one of the most acclaimed DC animated TV shows of all time… after Batman: The Animated Series, of course.
Justice League (2001-2004)
After an otherworldly threat brings them together, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkgirl, and the Martian Manhunter begin collaboratively defending the earth on a more regular basis.
Why it’s good to check out after Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Before the release of the Snyder Cut, any fan would tell you that the ultimate way to get your fix on the ultimate alliance of DC’s mightiest heroes, without revisiting the comics, was the animated Justice League series that originally ran on Cartoon Network.
Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006)
Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and their other colleagues in superheroism call in a massive amount of reinforcements to assist in their fight against evil.
Why it’s good to check out after Zack Snyder’s Justice League: I may have been exaggerating a bit when calling Justice League “the ultimate alliance of DC’s mightiest heroes” because Justice League Unlimited, a continuation of that series, has nearly every DC character you could name, including Michael Ironside's Darkseid in a badass voice role.
Justice League: War (2014)
Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Cyborg, The Flash, and Shazam are brought to together to defend the earth from an otherworldly threat.
Why it’s good to check out after Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Speaking of Darkseid, he is also the main antagonist of Justice League: War - which serves as the first chronological installment of the DC Animated Movie Universe timeline by almost directly adapting Geoff Johns’ New 52 reinterpretation of the team’s first pow-wow, Justice League: Origins.
The Death And Return Of Superman (2019)
An unstoppable Kryptonian called Doomsday attacks Metropolis, sealing Superman’s fate and inspiring many to become his successor.
Why it’s good to check out after Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Similar to how the DCEU interpretation of the Man of Steel’s fall and rise was presented, the DCAMU split the famous story into two movies, The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen, which can be streamed separately on HBO Max or viewed as one very long cut called The Death and Return of Superman by digital rental on Amazon.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)
The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel join forces again, also aided by Wonder Woman as well, after the discovery of Superman’s cousin, Kara, attracts the attention of Darkseid.
Why it’s good to check out after Zack Snyder’s Justice League: If Zack Snyder’s Justice League also served as a Supergirl origin story, it might have turned out a lot like Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, which is also involves a badass Amazonian army and the feature-length debut of Granny Goodness, then voiced by Ed Asner.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)
After the tyrannical ruler of Apokolips successfully takes over the earth, killing many great superheroes in the process, those who remain must join forces with even their enemies to put things back to normal.
Why it’s good to check out after Zack Snyder’s Justice League: If Zack Snyder’s Justice League had followed a lot of the same story beats as Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame arcs, and incorporated members from Justice League Dark, it might have turned out a lot like Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, which is yet another instance of the earth falling prey to Darkseid.
Justice League: Doom (2012)
A slew of vengeful supervillains finally get the better of their heroic enemies by using contingency plans created specifically to defeat them, which Vandal Savage stole from their original developer: Batman.
Why it’s good to check out after Zack Snyder’s Justice League: While it is nice to see Ben Affleck’s Batman working well with others in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, if you prefer to see him at his more angry, distrusting, and uncompromisingly badass self, Justice League: Doom is one of the most definitive examples of that portrayal.
Young Justice (2010-Present)
The teenage sidekicks of accomplished adult superheroes try to prove their worth as members of the the Justice League.
Why it’s good to check out after Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Fans itching to see even more stories of epic superhero team-ups can look no further than the beloved Young Justice, which DC Universe initially revived for a third season after a six-year hiatus, with a fourth coming to HBO Max.
Before Zack Snyder’s Justice League, most fans would have said that these animated movies and TV shows did justice to DC’s most powerful team of crime-fighters than any live action iteration before. Would you agree? If so, which do you think offers the most fitting portrayal?
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Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.