Z Really, Really Dug ‘Superman Vs The Elite’
While the chasm between animated (direct to DVD/Blu-Ray) features and their live-action (direct to Theatrical) brethren is still pretty vast, we are given hope that the awesomeness that the animated movies possess is slowly making its way to the live-action big screen in the form of Marvel’s The Avengers. While Marvel has gotten their act together on the live-action front, it is DC Comics that has the clear lead in regards to the animated direct-to-BluRay genre. The level of quality and quite frankly the badass0sity that DC brings to these long-form animated stories is unmatched and it is for that reason that it is so perplexing that (outside of the Dark Knight series), DC just hasn’t been able to get their game together in the area of live-action.
Thankfully this is not the case when it comes to the animated side of things. The latest instalment in the highly successful film series, DC Universe Animated Original Movies, is Superman Vs The Elite based on the wildly popular comic storyline “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?“.
Right off the bat, the movie has strikes a nice chord with long-time fans as it featured the return of George Newbern as Superman, which for me, set everything back to where it should be as DC got cute for a bit as they had other more famous names voice the iconic character (which made the whole thing really weird). Newbern helped define the animated version of the Superman character for the small-screen in the wildly popular and extremely successful Justice League and Justice League : Unlimited cartoon series and to have him voice Supes/Clark just seems right.
The movie surprised me on a bunch of different levels. Overall, it is a pretty great watch if you are a fan of the super-hero movie and as a long time and avid viewer of these types of movies, I was happy because it definitely moved things forward and elevated the genre. The only gripe I had (if you can call it that), was the different style of animation that was used. It wasn’t that it was bad, it’s just a bit more of a departure that I am used to have grown accustomed to the style of animation DC has defined up until now. It didn’t take me long to get used to it and once I did, the movie really picked up for me.
The plot is a pretty simple one, but one that is a bit of a departure from the usual Man Of Steel kicks all ass movie: “Superman’s effectiveness as a super hero comes into question when a new group of super powerful crusaders, known as “The Elite” appear on the scene, led by British public identity hero Manchester Black. As super heroes, the Elite know no bounds, and are more than willing to kill, even on a massive scale, to stop villainy—putting them on a collision course with the ever-ethical and decidedly non-lethal Man of Steel.”
Don’t get me wrong, we see Superman be Supes quite a bit in one action-filled fight after another. It was the final fight that really nailed it for me as we got a typical Superman way of cleaning the story up, just done in atypical manner. Tons of action supported by some great direction had me quite literally ‘wowing’ out loud a few times. They really nail the film as all of the elements required to satiate me were definitely in place while others evolved nicely.
If you get a chance, pick up the DVD and Blu-ray with a combo pack. Features include: a sneak peek at Part 1 of the animated film version of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, two featurettes “The Elite Unbound: No Rules, No Mercy” and “Superman and the Moral Debate”, audio commentary, two episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, and Action Comics #775 as a digital comic.