Hey folks, Valkor here. This latest DC Entertainment piece came in under my radar. Actually I learned about Superman vs. The Elite earlier this year; mind you I'm usually ahead of the game when it comes to their direct to video pieces. But I think this one got overshadowed by Justice League: Doom. My expectations were pretty low as I began to watch… and when boredom hadn't set in, it was then I knew Superman vs. The Elite was Supes best solo outing in the animated series. Beware, spoilers ahead!
Superman vs. The Elite takes a bold new approach as it takes a closer look at Superman's moral code – it's a code that most superheroes, whether they be DC or Marvel characters, follows and that is "a superhero doesn't kill". Superman (voiced by George Newbern) has to come to terms between what is right and what people expect him to do when faced with such a decision. The film opens up with Atomic Skull (Dee Bradley Baker) fresh out the clink and causing mass devastation to Metropolis, even killing innocents. Of course Superman wins the battle, but doesn't cross the line to finish Skull even though he's conflicted with the decision; in the end he has him placed in prison,
This leads into the Elite – a group of superpowers who aren't afraid to cross that line. The group is lead by Manchester Black (Robin Atkin Downes) who has telekinetic abilities, you then have ColdCast (Catero Colbert) who can absorb and discharge energy, Menagerie (Melissa Disney) who flies and can control a variety of creature insects she dispels from her body, and The Hat (Andrew Kishino), a sorcerer. The Elite are huge fans of Superman and are star struck when they first meet him during a battle in Bailya; but they become a chattier in a later confrontation where Supes learns more about the team, especially Manchester Black and they also prove their worth by assisting Superman in saving civilians trapped in an English Chunnel. The attack was initiated by a pair of terrorists, with the first pair being captured. The Elite try to do away with the pair, but are stopped by Superman; however the second pair… not so lucky.
The point of the story is that The Elite are willing to cross a line Superman would never, ever considering crossing. And it's a theme that plays throughout the film. What's more is that the people seem to agree with their methods, and in a way so does Superman's love interest Lois Lane (Pauley Perrette). Things come to a head when Atomic Skull escapes once more and The Elite does what everyone was thinking – they kill him. This leads to an ultimately leads to a face off between Supes and The Elite, who now want the Man of Steel dead.
Whether it be live-action or in animated form, Superman has always come across as so-so; I don't hate the character, I'm just not one of his biggest fans. But if DC Entertainment keeps churning out gems like this, I can become one of the hardcore with the quickness.
Batman has been getting too much shine in the DC solo films and so it's about time Superman gets a film that fans of the character can really embrace. All-Star Superman was nice, but not that great. Superman vs. The Elite trumps it by a mile; its dark, it's edgy, and it's loaded with knockdown, drag out fights and character deaths that I would never expect from a Superman film. The story itself is quite bold and deals with a matter discussed in many a geek circle: should a character like Supes resorts to killing his enemy, especially if it means putting an end to all the violence and hardship they bring? I was surprised and quite pleased at how the film handled the subject and the ending brings it all to close in a climatic way. The animation is top notch stuff, very fluid with nice details. I especially got a kick out of Superman, who's chin has never looked so big. The voice acting is topnotch all-around and while I think George Newbern is awesome as Supes/Clark Kent and Robin Atkin Downes is a show stealer as Manchester Black, I've fallen head over heels for Pauley Perrette who voices Lois Lane and brings back that tough yet charming feel lost in All-Star Superman. Plus her raspy voice really completes the package. I really don't wanna say better than Delaney, but damn she comes pretty close; I'm so won over. In the end, this is one of the best DC Animated films since Batman: Under the Red Hood. That's right, I went there. I may even go so far as to say it's better than Red Hood... maybe better than Year One? No, not better than Year One. Not by a long shot.
Those leech things that come out of Menagerie.
Superman vs. The Elite gets a DVD (both single and a two disc special edition) and Blu-Ray combo pack (blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet digital copy) on June 12th and is absolutely one of the best in the DC animated universe! Finally Supes gets a solo film that's worthy of his greatness and well worth the price of admission. So out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving Superman vs. The Elite a perfect 5! And it's been Valkor viewed, TOV Approved!