In case you've been living under a rock for the past month, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is lapping all the accolades for its outrageous excellence. There's even Oscar buzz around it and deservedly so. Not only has the feature pushed the boundaries of what's possible in animation, but it's also established itself as something unique in the superhero genre.
This unparalleled success gives legitimacy to many fans' collective belief that animation is where the heart and soul of superhero movies lies. While Hollywood pumps billions into live-action adaptations, we've seen cheaper—but not inferior—animated flicks excel in every department. If you're looking for more quality in the same vein as Into the Spider-Verse, check out these 10 films.
10. Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm
Long before Into the Spider-Verse dominated discussion of how it's better than any live-action Spider-Man movie, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm did the same with the Dark Knight. Released on Christmas Day in 1993, Mask of the Phantasm actually flopped at the box office, bringing in a measly $5.8 million from a $6 million budget.
Money isn't everything, though, as the film picked up steam on home video and built up a strong word of mouth among Batman fans. Additionally, many consider it the definitive origin story for the Caped Crusader and the Joker, while not following the traditional model of the movies before it.
9. Big Hero 6
When Disney's Big Hero 6 dropped in 2014, no one knew what to expect from it as the property was fairly unknown. It was loosely based on the comic book series Sunfire & Big Hero 6 released by Marvel Comics in 1998, but it exceeded the source material in every single way. Out with the tough guys and overt machismo, and in with the cute factor and heroism.
Unsurprisingly, Big Hero 6 won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature among other awards. It also received a popular spinoff TV series and continues to be one of the films that fans demand a sequel for.
8. Teen Titans Go! To The Movies
The announcement of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies received a mixed response. There was a big section of the fandom who disliked Teen Titans Go! for replacing the widely popular and acclaimed Teen Titans series. Surely, this film would be targeted to the young'ns and not the older audience?
Not so. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies brought the laughs to both young and old. There was almost universal praise for how it acted as a tongue-in-cheek parody of superhero films in general and as a family-friendly version of Deadpool. Additionally, it had a terrific voice cast, featuring Will Arnett as Slade Wilson and Nicolas Cage as Superman.
7. Batman Ninja
For those who fancy offbeat anime with weird and wild storylines, Batman Ninja will be right up your alley. Make no mistake, it completely diverged from canon and gave us an Elseworlds type of story as the Dark Knight and his friends and foes found themselves in feudal Japan, but the animation style was so good. Although, it has been revealed that the American version of the film features a completely different storyline than the original Japanese one, as writers Leo Chu and Eric Garcia admitted that they rewrote Kazuki Nakashima's original script. In other words, there are two versions of the movie out there.
6. The LEGO Batman Movie
Look, everyone enjoyed Will Arnett's Batman in The LEGO Movie. He had a lot of fun in the role and took the mickey out of the super-serious Caped Crusader. But was this enough to merit a full-length movie? Absolutely.
The LEGO Batman Movie surprised everyone, as it built on the magic and proved that the Brick Knight is just as cool (if not cooler) than the Dark Knight.
The good news is, director Chris McKay announced that there's a sequel in the works. Hopefully, he'll be able to bring back everyone who made this film such a hit in the first place.
5. The Invincible Iron Man
While the MCU soars at the box office, it actually trails DC in the animation department. For some reason, Marvel hasn't invested that much time into its animated features. When it has ventured into this territory, the end result is actually pretty good, as evidenced by The Invincible Iron Man.
Released in 2007, more than a year before the live-action film debuted, this movie features the Iron Man/Mandarin fight that we've all wanted to see. If this doesn't convince you enough, the director behind this project is Jay Oliva, who's the brains of some of DC animation's biggest hits in recent years.
4. Ultimate Avengers
Before Joss Whedon brought Earth's Mightiest Heroes and shawarmas together in 2012's The Avengers, there was another Avengers film six years earlier. Loosely based on Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's Ultimates, the storyline revolves around Captain America as he's enlisted by S.H.I.E.L.D. to put a team together.
Surprisingly, despite the success of the Avengers in the live-action MCU, Ultimate Avengers has mostly gone under the radar. It's definitely worth at least a watch and provides an interesting twist to how the team got together. If you call yourself an MCU fan, you owe it to yourself to see this animated feature.
3. Thor: Tales Of Asgard
Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok won a lot of fans and critical acclaim with its luscious blend of absurd comedy and kaleidoscopic colors. There were some doubters, though, who felt cheated by the film valuing style over substance and almost ignoring the rich Norse mythology of the previous Thor movies.
If you're looking for a more classic Thor story, Thor: Tales of Asgard will be your vibe. Released in May 2011, it follows a young God of Thunder as he, his brother Loki, and the Warriors Three embark on a journey to find the Sword of Surtur. Of course, it's bursting with lots of action and Asgardian legends.
Considering that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles always thrived in the animated form, the decision to make a computer-animated movie in 2007 made sense. Just the nature of the franchise and all its mutant creatures are more suited to the animated world than the live-action one. An expensive lesson that Michael Bay found out years later…
Despite turning a decent profit at the box office, TMNT isn't as fondly remembered as it should be. In fact, most fans forget it even exists. With a voice cast that featured the likes of Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Patrick Stewart, it's nothing to sniff at.
The general audience remembers the late Stan Lee for his contribution to Marvel Comics. Yet, Lee created numerous characters that weren't used by the House of Ideas. One of his creations was a female character named Maggie Nelson (aka Mosaic) who received her own animated film in 2007.
Unfortunately, Mosaic never received much attention from the mainstream audience or press and is largely a forgotten property. That said, it's a decent flick about a female lead with a host of awesome superpowers. If you're someone who needs a star name attached to a project to convince you about its merit, Anna Paquin lent her voice talents to Mosaic.