Superman vs. the Elite

Superman vs. the Elite 2012

When I started this site, I had planned to watch only theatrical movies including all the movies that come out this year. But when I recently decided to also watch other types of releases I had forgotten to check out straight to video release dates. So I didn’t even realize that this movie had come out last Tuesday until just a few days ago, so I had to give it a look. It’s yet another DC Animated movie from producer Bruce Timm, whose name you’ll hear a lot anytime superheroes and animation are brought up. And honestly, this is one of the best of these animated movies I’ve seen so far, from the animation, to the story, to the characters, to actually getting to tell an interesting Superman story, it’s all here. It even got my wife and daughter hooked through the whole thing.

The crux of the story is really a breakdown of the entire idea of Superman itself. It takes an honest look at itself and asks the important questions. “Does Superman really make a difference when the super criminals he puts away just come back time and time again?” “Why doesn’t he just kill them?” “Is it right?” “Is he old fashioned?” “Is Superman the hero that the world needs right now?” The last question is specifically important because it’s not just a question about the fictional world of Metropolis, but it’s a question about the character himself. In a world full of superheroes, has Superman become boring? Is he still the one people care about? In the movie, the questions aren’t just asked, there’s a group of new supers on the block who eventually call themselves the Elite. They’re not afraid to get their hands dirty when they believe they’re right, and the public immediately fall in love with them, while making Superman look like a fool. And there’s also the case of the Atomic Skull. He’s a violent megapowered psychopath who kills just to get Superman’s attention and is a repeat escapee. Yes, Superman deals with him every time he gets out, but there are more casualties every time. The movie never really gives a definitive answer as to what is the right decision on how to handle this villain, it merely presents both sides of the argument.

This is for my City of Heroes fans, Coldcast totally reminded me of Back Alley Brawler.

The Elite themselves are an interesting bunch. They all have a bit of a villainous edge to them, with Menagerie and Hat who are both able to summon some pretty monstrous looking demons with Menagerie looking pretty monstrous in general. There’s also Coldcast who looks like he busted out of some sort of prison or chain gang or something. And finally there’s Manchester Black who looks kind of like the lead singer of the Sex Pistols with purple hair, earrings, and the Union Jack tattooed across his entire chest. Which by the way, the opening credits remind me a bit of the Sex Pistol’s album cover. I think that’s really my biggest gripe with this movie, and it’s honestly a very small gripe. When you watch the movie, you get the initial impression that the Elite will be the villains of the movie combined with the fact that the movie is titled “Superman vs. the Elite”. It would have been much more interesting if the Elite were left more ambiguous, like if they appeared much more heroic while still acting the same way. But they are still interesting characters that present a unique dilemma to Superman.

Strong, smart, and sexy.

I have to go on a slight sidetrack and mention that my first real introduction to Superman as a character was the 90’s TV series Lois and Clark. In the show, the main focus was almost always on the relationship between Lois and Clark. In regards to the strength of that relationship from that show, this movie feels like it is a continuation of that relationship. Lois is a very strong character who is deeply in love with Clark/Superman and you can tell that she really cares for him, but she is also a strong character herself. She holds her ground when it comes to a story, and she’s there for Superman when he really needs her.

Superman’s about ready to slap a bitch.

And of course, what would a Superman movie be without some epic action scenes. While the first few fight scenes do get cut off a little bit due to the Elite making their presence known and use the situations to showcase their own powers while Supes mostly sits back, watches, and looks surprised. But as the movie goes on, he gets to show off more and more, and the climactic battle is an epic showcase of what Superman is capable of. The movie is all about the moral grey areas and it covers it beautifully without giving a clear right or wrong answer, aside from the one answer that Superman always gives. But there is still a lingering question of whether Superman is always right to do things his way. He is always portrayed as the stand up guy who is always right, never wrong, and will always win. This movie is a great showcase of Superman’s doubts, his fears, his insecurities. He doesn’t always feel like it’s worth it, or even if he’s going to make it out alive, and yet he still fights for what he believes in. And in the end, that’s what it means to be Superman. If you get the chance, you have to check out this movie, whether you’re a fan of Superman, or especially if you think a good Superman story can’t be told. This movie totally gets it right in all the right places. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.


About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 500 superhero and comic book movies in the past seven years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on June 19, 2012, in 10's movies, DC and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Oh man, I’m really looking forward to watching this now

  2. Glad to here, I was disappointed with DC’s latest outing.

  3. I really didn’t enjoy this. I thought it was strange that giant alien bugs appear with no explanation given or even asked for. The whole thing felt unfinished. I did think that the villain was pretty cool, if you can call him a villain.

    • They said the bugs were bio weapons from one of the warring countries. I think this movie is aimed at people that generally don’t like Superman stories, or who think he’s fairly boring. Which I’m definitely one of those who thinks it’s hard to do an interesting Superman story. So this movie totally worked for me.

      • Lol, I could see that. But after seeing Justice League: Doom, The New Frontier, Crisis on Two Earths, Superman: Doomsday, Superman/Batman Apocalypse, and Superman/Shazam Return of The Black Adam, I find it to be lacking in comparison.

    • Out of those, I’ve only seen Crisis and Doomsday and I thought it was on par with Two Earths at least.

      • Wait, you haven’t seen The New Frontier? To me, it sets the standard for all comic book movies, live action or animated. They find a way to fit a lot of characters in but only focus on the big ones. The animation is golden-era style and it’s beautiful. I think it will knock your proverbial socks off.

      • Yeah Two Earths isn’t the best, but it felt familar to me. The Elite felt like I was watching some isolated story that wasn’t part of the DC universe.

    • Oh, I skipped over New Frontier. I have seen that one a long while back and actually I’d say that one is my least favorite. I guess I’m just not as much of a fan of the golden age style.

  4. It was a good Superman story as you say, although the absence of other heroes when the Elite threatened to run the world was glaring.

    Here is our take with a lot of pics and a little humor if you’re are interested:

    • I think that’s one of the biggest problems with trying to tell a solo superhero story from the DC or Marvel universe, there’s always the question of where the other heroes are. Sometimes there’s a halfhearted explanation, other times they just leave it alone. I don’t mind personally, this is a Superman story that they wanted to tell, they shouldn’t have to make consolations for the fact that there’s other heroes in the universe. Some nice pics over there by the way.

      • If often does not bother us either. Your point about not minding does not surprise us. It is amazing how we the viewers do not let such things detract. Action ramps up fast, or the situation is not widely known, etc. But in this particular case, with a ginormous fish hovering over Metropolis, and a world-wide threatening broadcast… well, it brought the issue to the fore for us.

        Glad you liked the pics. We are fond of the background montages.

  1. Pingback: My top 5 Superman movies | Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights

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