A few years ago, the DC cinematic universe had a problem: Warner Bros. could not figure out how to assemble a Justice League movie. In 2013, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige advised the studio to “have confidence in the characters” and “believe in the source material.” Writer-producer Damon Lindelof essentially said the same thing:
What’s the tone of that movie? They’ve been struggling with launching their own tone. The tone of Green Lantern is very different from the tone of The Dark Knight. They clearly inhabit two entirely different worlds. You want to feel like someone is establishing a world where the Justice League can exist, maybe Man of Steel is that movie.
The writers and filmmakers on the animation side of DC know this better than most and found success by keeping their faith in the source material. Netflix started releasing more of these titles, like Justice League: War, The Flashpoint Paradox, and Son of Batman. When Young Justice producer Greg Weisman sounded a call to action for this niche fanbase, they answered and began devouring these offerings in the hope that Netflix would take notice and green light more DC animated content.
Cut to the live-action side, and Zack Snyder is still addressing backlash for choices made in Man of Steel. The reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were even harsher, putting the quality of the live-action Justice League, which Snyder is prepping to film this April, in doubt. The WB may still be in the beginnings of this world building, but the animation division has been setting an example that few have been following. Here are five of these films that can really help the DC cinematic universe find its place in the Golden Age of comic book movies.