By Will Barber – Taylor
“Are you the Superman the 21st Century needs?”
The story focuses on The Elite, a team of super-powered antiheroes fronted by Manchester Black, who gained worldwide popularity for viciously killing their foes. Superman soon clashes with The Elite as they begin to proclaim that any super villain who comes across them will be executed. The Man of Steel and The Elite soon realise that they only way to resolve things is in a final duel on the moon, with devastating consequences.
Superman Vs The Elite is like The Dark Knight Returns, it is about a superhero trying to define himself and get back to his own core values while also trying to adjust to the world around him. Both films and to a great extent the original comics, tackle them in a different way. While Batman is attempting to redefine himself in a world that has changed beyond all recognition, the world that we see Superman in is one on the brink of change so that the task and internal battle is different. Superman is trying to fight against what the world might become while Batman is trying to reverse the irreversible effects that have happened. This gives the films a certain thematic difference though they are both excellent.
The reason Superman Vs The Elite stands out above all other Superman films produced by DC Animation thus far (with the exception of All Star Superman) is that it gives the character a real challenge. While movies that feature Lex Luthor of Brainiac present perhaps a more psychical challenge to Superman, The Elite presents more of a psychological challenge to the Man of Tomorrow. They challenge his very core, his own set of ideals which of course are the thing that make Superman. Without his stern moral compass his is nothing. By having a group of antagonists that make him wonder whether his ideals are what the world needs means that they are more of a threat to Superman than any other because if you make a superhero doubt himself then half the battle is won.
The animation is fairly good though a tad off the mark at times. It doesn’t seem to be completely effective with the style of story the film is going for, perhaps a different type of animation would have suited better. Manchester Black’s lips do at times seem to have been botoxed and so look slightly unreal.
The cast is excellent with George Newbern in particular giving off a great interpretation of The Man of Steel. He shows Superman as the Boy Scout as well as the impassioned crusader for truth and justice. This multi-faceted version of The Last Son Of Krypton is certainly different and possibly stands as one of the best interpretations of the character on record.
Superman Vs The Elite is a story about a hero attempting to redefine himself in the face of an impossible onslaught before discovering that he doesn’t really need to redefine himself. It is a story about the self and those type of stories are always the most powerful.
If my review hasn’t convinced you, then watch the trailer for the film: