The past several years has seen a resurgence of animated superhero films as their live-action counterparts continue to thrive at cinemas around the world. And while the Academy Awards may have eluded live-action superhero films, animated theatrically released films have received widespread critical acclaim and award recognition.
Here are the top-ranked animated superhero films, based on established comic book characters, to receive a wide theatrical release. Averages between critics score on review aggregate sites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic are used to determine the average, when available. Audience scores from Rotten Tomatoes are not factored into the average but are included to provide further perspective on how professional critics and audiences saw each respective film.
TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES - AVERAGE SCORE: 80
After a successful revival animated series on Cartoon Network, Teen Titans Go! received its own theatrical film, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, last year. With an irreverent, meta-textual premise, the titular team laments that while all the other superheroes in DC Comics' extensive library have made it with their own big screen adventures, the Titans haven't enjoyed a similar, cinematic spotlight.
Critics praised the film for its sly nods to superhero films that have recently been flooding the market while telling an entertaining continuation of the popular animated series. Teen Titans Go! to the Movies has a critics score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 69. The film currently has an audience score of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes.
BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM - AVERAGE SCORE: 84
After the runaway success of Batman: The Animated Series upon its premiere in 1992, a feature-length animated film was greenlit to capitalize on its popularity. Although it was initially intended for release on home video, Warner Bros. released the film theatrically in 1993. The resulting film, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, explored the early days of Bruce Wayne's decision to become a crimefighter while a new serial killer surfaced in Gotham City.
While it wasn't a box office hit, critics praised the film's neo-noir sensibilities, timeless design, and the performances of its voice cast, making it the most widely praised Batman film at the time.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm has a critics score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and currently does not have a professional score on Metacritic. The film currently has an audience score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.
BIG HERO 6 - AVERAGE SCORE: 86.5
The first animated film from Disney based on a Marvel property to receive theatrical distribution was an adaptation of the Japanese-based team Big Hero 6. Loosely adapting the comic book premise, the film created the fictional city of San Fransokyo, with the team of teen tech geniuses using their smarts to develop superhero personas a combat a city-threatening villain.
Universally acclaimed upon release, the film would ultimately win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and lead to a spinoff animated series. Big Hero 6 has a critics score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 74. The film currently has an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE - AVERAGE SCORE: 87.5
After the critical and commercial success of 2014's The LEGO Movie, its light-hearted depiction of the Dark Knight starred in his own spinoff animated film in 2017. With Will Arnett reprising his role as the LEGO Caped Crusader, The LEGO Batman Movie explored Batman's relationships with various supporting characters including Dick Grayson and the Joker.
Critics praised the spinoff's love letter to the entire history of the Batman mythos as well as its star-studded voice cast and more cameos and Easter eggs than one could keep track of.
The LEGO Batman Movie has a critics score of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 75. The film currently has an audience score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE - AVERAGE SCORE: 92
As Sony expanded their cinematic plans with the Spider-Man property on the big screen, the studio loosely adapted the recent story Spider-Verse, which saw a team-up between all the web-slinging superheroes from across the Marvel Multiverse. Teenage Miles Morales gains the powers of Spider-Man just as his universe's Peter Parker is killed before strange wall-crawling heroes from the across multiverse arrive to confront the villainous Kingpin.
One of the most widely acclaimed films of last year, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won numerous critics choice and professional association awards, culminating in the film earning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has a critics score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 87. The film currently has an audience score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.