While there has been much speculation about the future of DC Comics’ live-action films, DC has already created an incredibly interconnected world with the DC Animated Movie Universe. This cinematic universe set in the DC Comics Elseworlds, more commonly known as the DCAMU, is a little younger than the company’s wildly successful rival, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite this, this ambitious series of films had proven far ahead of its time, attempting a multiverse-spanning story long before the live-action MCU and DCU did.
The highly anticipated The Flash, directed by James Gunn, will reboot the live-action DC cinematic universe, adapting the landmark Flashpoint storyline from the comics by having Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) speed through the multiverse, meeting other versions of iconic heroes such as the Burtonverse’s Batman (Michael Keaton). Seeing the story brought to life in live-action will undoubtedly be thrilling, and those who saw the film at Cinemacon 2023 expect it to live up to the hype. This isn’t the first time the Flashpoint storyline has appeared in a feature film.
That honor goes to Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, a straight-to-video animated film so ambitious that it sparked a franchise of over a dozen films. Here’s how to watch every film in the DC Animated Movie Universe (DCAMU) by release date and chronologically so you can experience this surprisingly long-running saga.
DC Animated Movie in Chronological Order
The DCAMU timeline is fairly straightforward, with only a few of the above entries being placed differently. Read on for the most chronologically correct watch order for the acclaimed animated films:
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
The DCAMU’s nearly decade-long story begins uniquely with Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. Despite the title “Justice League,” this story is primarily about The Flash (Justin Chambers). The story follows Barry Allen as he travels back to save his murdered mother, just like the comic it’s named after and the upcoming live-action feature film. Barry succeeds, but at a high cost, as the world he has created now includes a homicidal Batman (Kevin McKidd) and a deadly war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans, led by warmongering Aquaman (Cary Elwes) and Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall). The film does an excellent job of establishing the tone of the DCAMU, demonstrating that it is not afraid to get dark and gritty, perhaps even more so than the DC Extended Universe. Remember how Shazam (Zachary Levi) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) got along in Shazam: Fury of the Gods? Let’s say they’re not friends in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
Justice League: War (2014)
After the events of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox reset the timeline, a world exists in which the titular team of heroes was never formed. That changes in Justice League: War, in which the infamous Darkseid (Steve Blum) sends his horde of parademons to invade Earth. Knowing that Darkseid is a threat that no metahuman can face alone, the Justice League is formed by a group of like-minded heroes. This incredible lineup includes Superman (Alan Tudyk), Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), Batman (Jason O’Mara), Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), The Flash (Christopher Gorham), Cyborg (Shemar Moore), and Shazam (Sean Astin) from the New 52 reboot Justice League Origin.
Son of Batman (2014)
The DCAMU’s James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DC Universe have already confirmed that The Brave and the Bold will introduce Batman’s son to live-action, but this is another storyline that the DCAMU got to first. Son of Batman is Bruce Wayne’s first solo outing in the animated universe, and it sees him becoming a father and mentor to Damian Wayne (Stuart Allan), the child that Bruce’s former flame, Talia al Ghul (Morena Baccarin), kept hidden from him. Talia’s father, the great Ra’s al Ghul (Giancarlo Esposito), has been murdered by the lethal Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson), and she has only told Bruce now. With the League of Assassins at his disposal, Deathstroke has set his sights on Batman and the vengeful young man who has taken on the role of Robin.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (2015)
While Justice League: War was an exciting team-up story, the ocean-dwelling Aquaman was noticeably absent from the team’s lineup. The reason for this is that in this timeline, Arthur Curry (Matt Lanter) is completely unaware that he is the heir to the Atlantean throne, but it is a birthright that he will need to claim when his brother, Ocean Master (Sam Witwer), declares war on the surface. Arthur may be able to ascend the throne and accept the noble title of Aquaman with the help of the Justice League, Queen Atlanna (Sirena Irwin), and Lady Mera (Sumalee Montano).
Short – Nightwing and Robin (2015)
One of only two in the DCAMU, this one-minute story sees the titular dynamic duo dealing with Scarecrow (Michael Rosenbaum) and his goons while Batman is on Justice League business. The two sidekicks are successful, but a shadowy figure is watching them. Unfortunately, this is the only entry in the DCAMU that needs to be streamable.
Batman vs. Robin (2015)
Talon (Jeremy Sisto) was that figure, an elite member of the infamous Court of Owls, a shadowy organization of Gotham City’s elite who wished to control every aspect of the city. Damian is still struggling as the new Robin, his years of assassin training to clash with his father’s adamant anti-killing stance. When Damian is offered membership in the Court of Owls, it sparks a massive conflict between Batman and Robin, potentially straining their relationship for good.
Batman: Bad Blood (2016)
The story of Batman continues in Batman: Bad Blood, but things begin strangely when Bruce Wayne goes missing. Instead of Damian Wayne, Dick Grayson (Sean Maher) fills the bat boots, prompting the former Robin to take Damian under his wing. The void left by Batman is filled in Gotham by two other Bat-themed heroes: the rebellious Batwoman (Yvonne Strahovski) and the mysterious Batwing (Gaius Charles). Together, they hope to solve the mystery surrounding Bruce Wayne’s disappearance and, in the process, discover the historic Bat Family.
Justice League vs. Teen Titans (2016)
Damian Wayne is still causing problems for Batman and the rest of the Justice League. Batman sends Damian to spend time with the Teen Titans as a new way to help his son grow up. Cyborg, Nightwing, Blue Beetle (Jake T. Austin), Raven (Taissa Farmiga), Beast Boy (Brandon Soo Hoo), and Starfire (Kari Wahlgren) make up this version of the Justice League, which is intended to train the next generation of the Justice League. When Raven’s demonic father, Trigon (Jon Bernthal), possesses the members of the Justice League, turning them into his unwilling minions, Damian’s stay with the Titans lasts longer than expected. The Titans must put aside their childish differences to save their mentors from the demon’s possession.
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (2018)
Task Force X had another mature adventure in the DCAMU’s first-ever R-rated feature, Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay before James Gunn brought all manner of blood and gore with his DC film debut, The Suicide Squad. The team is led as always by the ruthless Amanda Waller (Vanessa Williams). It includes familiar faces such as Harley Quinn (Tara Strong), Deadshot (Christian Slater), and Captain Boomerang (Liam McIntyre), as well as some newcomers such as Bronze Tiger (Billy Brown), Killer Frost (Kristin Bauer), and Copperhead (Gideon Emery). Task Force X is assigned the seemingly impossible mission of assassinating Vandal Savage (Jim Pirri), a several-thousand-year-old warlord said to be immortal.
Justice League Dark (2017)
Numerous attempts have been made to bring Justice League Dark to life, but they have failed. However, the League’s supernatural division did get its moment to shine in an animated film of the same name. When an unknown magical threat proves too much for the core Justice League, Batman enlists the help of paranormal investigator John Constantine (Matt Ryan). They may be able to repel this powerful threat with the help of other supernatural allies such as Zatanna (Camilla Luddington), Deadman (Nicholas Turturro), Etrigan (Ray Chase), and Swamp Thing (Roger Cross).
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (2017)
The Titans return to this film for an adaptation of one of their most iconic storylines. Deathstroke (Miguel Ferrer) is also back to cause havoc, having been hired by Brother Blood (Gregg Henry) to kidnap the Titans and steal their powers. The Teen Titans, who now have a new member in Terra (Christina Ricci), will need to use their brains, brawn, and the assistance of their new teammate to outmaneuver their arch-nemesis Deathstroke and stop whatever Brother Blood has planned.
The Death of Superman (2018)
Is this Superman’s (Jerry O’Connell) final solo DCAMU appearance? The title of The Death of Superman certainly seems to imply as much. Anyone who has read the comic book of the same name knows that this is the story in which Superman meets his match against Doomsday, a monstrous extraterrestrial motivated solely by rage and bloodlust. Whether or not this story is remembered as the day Superman died, he did so alongside his teammates and friends in the Justice League.
Reign of the Supermen (2019)
Spoiler alert: despite his best efforts, Superman is defeated by Doomsday. The Justice League and Clark Kent’s beloved Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn) are crushed, but Lex Luthor (Rainn Wilson) and any other threats who wish to do whatever they want with Earth are ecstatic. When four people claim the mantle of “Superman”: the noble Steel (Cress Williams), the powerful Eradicator (Charles Halford), the young Superboy (Cameron Monaghan), and the suspicious Cyborg Superman (Patrick Fabian), things become complicated for both sides.
Constantine: City of Demons (2018)
After assisting the Justice League in defeating evil, John Constantine returns to Constantine: City of Demons for another demonic adventure. This time, Constantine travels to Los Angeles to assist Chas Chandler (Damian O’Hare), a fellow paranormal investigator whose daughter, Trish (Laura Bailey), requires an exorcism. The demon that has taken control may endanger her life and the entire city of Los Angeles.
Batman: Hush (2019)
Batman’s final solo film in the DCAMU is also his most ambitious, with Batman: Hush pitting him against some of the most infamous villains from the Caped Crusader’s rogues gallery. Catwoman (Jennifer Morrison), Scarecrow (Chris Cox), Bane (Adam Gifford), Poison Ivy (Peyton List), and even the infamous Joker (Jason Spisak) are among those featured. These Gotham criminal figures, however, pale compared to Hush (Geoffrey Arend), a new Gotham bad guy who somehow knows some of Batman’s deepest and darkest secrets.
Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (2019)
In Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson) finally gets her moment to shine. First, we see the origins of the Amazon, including her first meeting with Steve Trevor (Jeffrey Donovan). It isn’t long after that that Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor return to the secluded Amazonian home of Themyscira, which is now threatened by villains such as Dr. Cyber (Mozhan Marn), Dr. Poison (Courtenay Taylor), and Cheetah (Kimberly Brooks).
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020)
The final film in the post-Flashpoint DCAMU timeline, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, is a satisfying conclusion that sees the heroes of the Justice League, Justice League Dark, the Bat Family, and others band together to face their most difficult threat yet. Years after the events of Justice League: War, Darkseid returns to Earth to complete what he began, and the League must now band together to end the galactic tyrant finally.
Constantine: The House of Mystery (2022)
Though Justice League Dark: Apokolips War was the DCAMU finale, we got a epilogue thanks to another John Constantine adventure. Constantine: The House of Mystery is another short but much longer than Nightwing and Robin. Over the course of the film’s more than half-hour runtime, the titular hero finds himself trapped in a magical mansion, from which he cannot escape without the assistance of his Justice League Dark teammates.
That concludes the DCAMU. Over a decade, the animated film franchise has established itself as one of the best comic book adaptations of all time. But there will be more animated DC films, just not in this series. Since Apokolips War, James Gunn and Peter Safran have announced animated films as part of their DCU. DC has continued to release more animated films as part of their Tomorrowverse, beginning with Superman: Man of Tomorrow in 2020. The Tomorrowverse has already produced a number of films and shorts, some of which are excellent, while others are not. The latest installment in that series, Justice League: Warworld, will be released in 2023. But, no matter how exciting these new films are, the DCAMU will always have a special place in our hearts.