FEATURE: Five More Theatrical DC Animated Movies We Want to See After LEGO BATMAN


Typically, DC Entertainment's animated movies have been released direct-to-video, rather than in theaters. There are a couple exceptions, of course. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was released in theaters in 1993, while Batman: The Killing Joke and Return of the Caped Crusaders had limited theatrical runs last year. Now, this week, The LEGO Batman Movie is hitting theaters. The spin-off film is gaining rave reviews from critics, and it is tracking for a big box office opening.

Hopefully, LEGO Batman's success will lead to more theatrically released animated films set in the DC Universe. Warner Bros. Animation has been beefing up its slate in recent years, tackling franchises such as LEGO and a Hanna-Barbara cinematic universe. Below, we discuss five animated DC movies we'd like to see.

Plastic Man

Patrick “Eel” O’Brian was originally a Quality Comics character, before being picked up by DC in 1956. Since then, the character has appeared in a variety of comics and animated projects for DC Entertainment. Plastic Man is a very cartoonish character; he has a quirky and offbeat sense of humor, while his superhuman elasticity allows him to shapeshift and more.

The Wachowskis were once attached to direct a live action Plastic Man movie, and they were even talking to Keanu Reeves about playing the title role. But obviously, that never happened. So, how about a fully animated film? It may be easier to depict Plastic Man’s powers in this format than in live action, while his personality would make for an engaging, family-friendly movie. Not to mention, it doesn’t look like either DC Films or DC’s television shows will feature Plastic Man anytime soon (if ever).

Legion of Superheroes

The Legion of Superheroes is a team of heroes originating from the future in the DC Universe. The group is known for its connections to Superman/Superboy, and there have been several different iterations over the years. A live action film starring this team was rumored a couple years ago, but nothing official has been confirmed. Since then, the Legion has been referenced a couple times on The CW's The Flash and Supergirl.

If Warner Bros. doesn’t put out a live action Legion film, then an animated movie is a possibility. The Legion’s mythology is rich, leaving plenty of directions to choose from - with or without Superman. An animated film could even serve as a way to test the waters, if there really is interest in incorporating the Legion into the DC Extended Universe. At the same time, however, the Legion is perfectly capable of having its own animated franchise.

Metal Men

A few years ago, it was reported that a live action Metal Men movie was in development, with Barry Sonnenfeld in talks to direct. However, there have been no recent developments on this project, and with the DCEU in motion, there has been no mention of this group appearing. So, why not bring them to life in an animated film?

The six-robot team boasts colorful and distinct personalities, which would work well for a family-friendly cartoon. The group's story, characters, and power sets could also translate wonderfully into this medium. Also, the Metal Men are a lesser known group in the DC Universe, which could help a movie stand out as more of its own thing. 

Batgirl

Barbara Gordon is one of DC's most renown female superheroes, whether as Batgirl or as Oracle. Fans are expecting her to pop up sooner or later in the DCEU, as we further explore the world of Batman. Personally, I wouldn't be too surprised if we first meet Barbara as Oracle, as the DCEU Batman is a lot older and has a rich history of fighting crime in Gotham. So, they could easily have had the events of The Killing Joke (or something similar) already happen.

If that's the case, maybe they can explore Barbara's Batgirl in an animated movie. It would put the character front and center in an alternative medium. Also, superhero movies in general need more female stars, and the animated medium could benefit from that too. As for which version of Batgirl they could adapt, I was thinking something akin to the fan favorite "Batgirl of Burnside."

The LEGO Superman Movie

And finally, we return to the world of LEGO. Superman has appeared in The LEGO Movie and will return in The LEGO Batman Movie, both times voiced by Channing Tatum. After LEGO Batman's inevitable success, Warner Bros. will likely put similar movies and spin-offs into development, further expanding the LEGO Cinematic Universe. Enter The LEGO Superman Movie.

This movie could really explore Superman's corner of the LEGO world, introducing key supporting characters such as Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Jimmy Olsen. Also, a LEGO Superman film could be a lighthearted take on the character's mythos. Some people have complained about the DCEU Superman's darker, more serious portrayal, and they'd rather see something a little more fun. (I don't personally believe that, FYI.) So, this could fill that void for them.

Honorable Mentions: Shazam, The Flash, Green Lantern, Teen Titans, Martian Manhunter

What theatrical DC animated movie do you want to see?

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