Superman vs. The Elite (2012) – Review

3 1/2 Stars


After a huge misstep with Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, D.C. Comics animation division has rebounded nicely with the excellent Batman: Year One, and now this above average entry. This is an enthralling animated picture that uses the Superman character as an allegory to what is happening in modern politics and the world’s attitude toward violence. That makes Superman vs. The Elite a very smart and adult themed tale, so much so that I think this may be too advanced for small children, although I suspect they might be amused by the terrific fight scenes and handsome animation style.

Are superheroes above the law? Can you murder people and still call yourself a hero? These are some of the interesting questions raised in the sharp script by screenwriter, Joe Kelly. Metropolis and the world at large, are overflowing with criminals and immortality. The Elite, a newly formed and unethical band of misfit superheroes have taken it on themselves to wipe out the scum, and the world’s population is loving them for it. It becomes Superman’s motivation to show the masses that killing is never acceptable, as always Krypton’s last son must rekindle our decency by his acts of faith in humanity. This leads to a showdown at dawn between the warring superheroes, including Manchester Black a misguided and angry, Englishman with the ability to fly, who leads the foursome publicly known as the elite. A very modern and topical Superman tale, with references to Iphone apps, twitter and insurgents.

At 73 minutes this outing moves like…err, speeding bullet? Superman vs. The Elite is the Superman cartoon I never knew I wanted to see. It addresses real world problems and deals with them using all the hallmarks of the characters and their universe. There are stops at the Kent farm, for a pep talk with Jonathan Kent and the required trip to the fortress of solitude. All these bits, worked for me, and I will freely admit. I was surprised how much I enjoyed Superman vs. The Elite.

Director: Michael Chang
Stars: George Newbern, Pauley Perrette, Robin Atkin Downes

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