The release of the Snyder Cut of Justice League on HBO Max spurred renewed discussion of Zach Snyder’s vision for the DC Extended Universe, the answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that kicked off with his 2013 film Man Of Steel. But while it’s unlikely that Snyder will ever fulfill his dream of making the child of Bruce Wayne and Lois Lane into the new Batman, DC Comics fans can actually find a host of films that are just as weird and dark on the same streaming service.
Since 2007, Warner Bros. has been releasing a steady stream of direct-to-video animated films based on DC Comics. Some take place in a shared universe based on The New 52 comics relaunch that kicked off in 2011, while others are adaptations of popular arcs from years past. Unlike previous releases such as Batman: Mask Of the Phantasm, these films don’t directly tie into any DC animated TV shows. They’re mostly rated PG-13, which lets them delve into decidedly more violent and mature stories.
As of the release of Justice Society: World War II on April 27, there are 41 DC Universe Animated Original Movies, and the vast majority are available to watch on HBO Max. The average quality is surprisingly high, so the odds are you can find a good entry point by picking your favorite superhero or comic event. But if you want a more curated dive into the wild world of DC animation, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 films to watch.