Justice League: Gods and Monsters and What DCAU Movies Should Be Made Next

Note: I originally wrote this on August 9th, 2015 on Moviepilot.com

As we all know, both Marvel and DC comics have branched out beyond just making comics (for a long time now). And while Marvel is currently dominating with the movies in their Cinematic Universe, DC has always been stronger when it comes to animated films. Especially with their most recent animated feature, “Justice League: Gods and Monsters.

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This feature takes place in an alternate world where the Justice League operates outside the law. And the DC Trinity (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) we know and love are different. This Superman is the son of General Zod and was raised by a family of Mexican immigrants. Wonder Woman (known as Bekka) is a New God who came to Earth after her fiancé was killed. And Batman is Dr. Kirk Langstrom (the Man-Bat of the main DCU) who was turned into a vampire while attempting to find a cure for cancer. And this Justice League is being framed for the murders of scientists and they need to find out who is doing this and why.

This movie is great. It’s original, and doesn’t focus on just Batman and/or Superman (like most DC movies recently it seems). And unlike most DC animated films, this is not an adaptation of a DC story. It is an original concept, and I like that. It especially works since if a film is an adaptation, some might care for changes made that don’t follow the source material. Which is impossible to occur in this instance since it is set in a new, alternate world where (almost) anything is allowed to happen. It (like the other DC animated films) is darker and I would not recommend showing this to younger children. But if you like DC and their other animated features, I’d say watch it.

I would not only say that this is good, but this is exactly what DC needed. While DC and Warner Bros. are working on their own Cinematic Universe, they currently only have one movie out, “Man of Steel” (with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” coming out next year). And their recent animated shows, well… “Young Justice” and “Green Lantern: The Animated Series” were good, had interesting storylines and characters, and were liked by both children and adults. So they were canceled due to “low toy sales” and we then got “Beware the Batman” which I barley watched and didn’t last long. And “Teen Titans Go”, which… isn’t for everyone. And by that, I mean that it is pretty childish and is always comedic. And I’m not saying it’s bad, I (like many others) am just not interested in something like that. Which is why the animated movies are good. They are more serious and mature than the shows. But sadly, I wouldn’t say that all of the animated films are good.

While there are many great DC animated films (my favorites being Justice League: New Frontier, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, and Batman: Assault on Arkham), some of the more recent films just weren’t as good for me.

After adapting Flashpoint (the last story of the old DC universe continuity) into “The Flashpoint Paradox”…

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The next animated features were based in the new DCU after the reboot, the New 52. Starting with Justice League: War (Based on the first arc of Geoff Johns’ run on Justice League) focusing on the origin of the Justice League and their first encounter with each other and Darkseid.

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And personally, I really didn’t like it. Both the story and the characters were both poorly written and poorly adapted from the source material (which I enjoyed). Almost none of the characters were likable or felt in-character. And sadly my feelings didn’t change with their next movie

“Son of Batman”. This film was based off of the Grant Morrison Batman story, Batman and Son, where Batman meets his son, Damian, an genetically altered 10 year old assassin. And once again, the source material was better. The film made too many changes from the comic and it killed my interest in it. And I’m not angry because the film didn’t copy and paste from the comic, but because certain changes actively changed the characters and their motivations.

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But the next animated film was a lot better. “Batman: Assault on Arkham”. As I’v previously said, this is one of my favorite DC animated films. Set in the same world as the Batman Arkham games, this focuses on a group villains working for the government on a super secret mission to sneak into Arkham Asylum. This film worked a lot better for me as opposed to the previous ones.

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And some more animated films followed. Both JL: War and Son of Batman got sequels, “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” (which introduces Aquaman to the JL) and “Batman vs Robin”. And while these films were better than their predecessors, I still only found them to be okay. And if anyone does like these movies, that is perfectly fine.

My point is, the “Justice League: Gods and Monsters” was important because this is the strongest a DC animated film has been in awhile.

And with the announcement of the animated adaptation of the Batman story, The Killing Joke (written by Alan Moore and drawn by Brian Bolland), I hope DC will not only adapt more of their greater stories, but also doing more original stories that focus on other characters.

So here are the DC Animated movies I want to see made.

Blackest Night
Blackest Night shows what happens when many dead superheroes and villains return from the dead due to these mysterious Black Lantern rings. Now the heroes have to fight their undead comrades and enemies before they find a black ring on themselves.

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Teen Titans
This would be based on the first arc of the Geoff Johns run of Teen Titans. The new generation of the Teen Titans starts. Robin (Tim Drake), Superboy, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash (Bart Allen) come together with some original Titans (Cyborg, Starfire, and Beast Boy). This would not be set in the world of the New 52. Mainly because the Teen Titans in that continuity is very different. And I specify which Robin this is because Tim Drake had not been represented in any DC animated movie yet (and also because there’s been like 5 Robins).

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Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
Based on one of the lesser known books from DC’s Ncew 52, Frankenstein’s Monster, simply known as Frankenstein here, works for S.H.A.D.E. (Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive), run by Father Time (the Japanese schoolgirl wearing the domino mask in the picture below), with the Creature Commandos fighting monsters and other paranormal threats. This could work really well since it’s a great concept with a lot of action in it and it will help introduce these lesser known characters to a wider audience.

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And finally…

Kingdom Come
Written by Mark Waid, this Elseworlds story taking place in the future where new heroes have arrived and seem to care more about themselves than civilians, causing Superman and other heroes to come back and take charge. But things aren’t so simple. Now as much as I would like this to be adapted since it’s one of my favorite comics ever, the main thing I think is keeping it from being so is the artwork. The artwork, done by Alex Ross, is magnificent (like all of Ross’ work). My worries about the adaption are if the animation could ever match the quality of the artwork in the comic. So I’m sure the movie can do good with the story (which is great), it’s just the visuals I’m worried about.

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Other suggestions I’ve seen for possible DC animated films include JSA, Superman: Red Son, and Action Comics #1 (Superman’s first story).

So what did you think of “Justice League: Gods and Monsters”? What do you think of the other DC animated films? What DC animated films do you want to see made? Let me know.

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