Canister X Movie Review #86: Superman vs the Elite (2012)
Written by Joe Kelly
Directed by Michael Chang
Runtime 74 min.
4 out of 5
Upon meeting the Elite, Superman hopes to have found new allies in his quest against evil, but when he discovers they bring a new brand of justice to the table, he must make a stand against them.
That’s basically the premise of the movie and it’s not so much a story with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, but rather a story about the fate of how villains should be dealt with hanging in the balance. Bottom line is the question: is the world ready to move on from using temporal solutions to stop criminals—super or otherwise—to permanently stopping them by simply killing them?
Superman believes in the potential good in everyone whereas the Elite, led by Manchester Black, believes that if you mess up, you should die to a) bring justice to whatever crime you did, and, b) stop any future chance of it happening again. While in a way you can see where he’s coming from, his black-and-white view of how to deal with evil leaves a lot to be desired. If anything, his view mirrors Superman’s in that justice must come to pass, but Superman also believes in mercy and forgiveness and the idea of learning one’s lesson then trying to make a positive go at things versus getting one shot and if you blow it then that’s it.
Part of this movie asks the question about Superman’s place in our modern society and if his ideals and motives are still relevant. Face it, we live in a very cynical, hard-edged world where people would sooner see the worst in others—while missing the bad in themselves, of course—than acknowledge people’s shortcoming(s) for what they are, try to fix the issue(s), forgive and move on. This is the product of a self-centered society—especially in the West—so self-centered that we won’t even acknowledge we have this issue (or get mad when confronted with it), thus creating the need to produce movies like Superman vs the Elite as, it seems, there are only a few who want to bring it to light.
That’s the deeper stuff. The lighter stuff is this movie has a fairly interesting story to bring the above to pass. I did find it slow in parts. The action sequences were pretty good, especially when Superman starts battling the Elite. I wasn’t a fan of the art direction, though, and have seen better presentations of Superman and his supporting cast in other direct-to-video DC movies.
If it weren’t for the strong themes of this movie, I would’ve given it a three, but because it’s about something important, it gets bumped up a point.
I do recommend this movie if you’re not sure if Superman is still relevant today or if you find him an unrelatable hero. This flick might change that for you. Take a look and decide for yourself.