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Review: Superman Vs. the Elite Blu-ray/DVD

The world is calling for more extreme measures but Superman doesn't kill...or will he?

I was a little surprised when it was first announced that Warner Home Video was planning on releasing Superman Vs. the Elite as their next original animated movie. The reason for my surprise is this was not only a remarkable story by Joe Kelly (back in ACTION COMICS #775) but a pretty heavy one.

Comic fans constantly ask the question why superheroes simply capture the villains the turn them over to the authority. What is the norm is the villain will eventually escape or be released only to cause chaos and death all over again. That was the question brought up in "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & The American Way?" Can Superman just capture villains and allow them to cause destruction and death later on?

From the moment you start the movie, you'll immediately get the sense that this is a different type of movie. There is an almost darker tone set with the heavier music pounding during the logo scenes. To show that the movie isn't necessarily going to be a trip to a dark place, we get a pretty spectacular opening during the actual credits.

What ends up happening is a group calling themselves the Elite arrives and puts Superman's methods into question. It's not only a look at Superman and his beliefs but also those of society and human nature.

It's a great story and you can see the care and thought put into the animated sequences. Unfortunately there are some issues many will have.

The first problem is the animation. It looks great and smooth with rich colors but it's the style of the animation that didn't quite work for me. You can immediately see the difference in style versus the original telling. It's a choice that sometimes is made.

But it's not all the character designs that are discouraging. There are times when it all does look really good. It's just an odd balance at times.

The voice cast includes George Newbern. Newbern should sound familiar to you if you've ever watched the Justice League animated series. Pauley Perrette (NCIS) gives a raspier version of Lois, more reminiscent of Margot Kidder. I wasn't necessarily crazy about her performance but Robin Atkin Downes was fitting for Manchester Black, as drawn here.

The other problem I had with this was with the big scope of the story, it just feels odd that other characters weren't or couldn't be included. There is a mention of Martian Manhunter but it was as a joke. If the world is willing to consider sanctioning heroes to use more extreme measures, you would think other heroes would step up for the debate. It makes sense the way it was originally told in a Superman comic but I just couldn't help wondering what other heroes thought of what was going down between Superman and the Elite.

Special Features

  • If you're into Commentary, you'll find some by Joe Kelly and Eddie Berganza. Great stuff.
  • There's also a Sneak Peak of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1. This twelve and a half minute feature discusses original and the thought that went into adapting this epic story. The story is so big, they're breaking it into two movies. Hearing from the directors, producers, etc, you really get the sense that they do get and understand how important this is and that there's only one way to do. They can't mess up on this one.
  • There's a featurette "The Elite Unbound: No Rules, No Mercy" is a fourteen and a half minute short documentary on the characters with and the inspiration from Joe Kelly.
  • If you're looking for more, Alan Burnett's Top Picks are included. There's a couple episodes from Superman: the Animated Series.
  • A second feature, "Superman and the Moral Debate" features over seventeen minutes looking into the story and the idea of whether or not superheroes should kill.
  • If you have't read the original ACTION COMICS #775, you're in luck. A digital comic is included on the disc.
  • An odd choice to be included is a Photo Gallery for The Dark Knight Rises. I understand why they would included it but it doesn't really have a place here.
  • There's also a couple 'look backs' at All-Star Superman and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

Overall, it's a great story. Many feel this is one of the best Superman stories written. If you've read the story, you'll definitely want to check this out. It's a great debate and Superman is the perfect character to look at the question. This isn't the typical Superman story. I never thought I'd actually hear Superman say "wanker." And wait until you see Superman really cut loose.

Superman Vs. The Elite is on sale now.

65 Comments
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Posted by Ms. Omega

I liked this movie once you get past the animation and the action started I was all in.

Edited by KainScion

it sucked. i dont know the original story but by god was this just flat out unentertaining and predictable. dc animated universe is really starting to go downhill now.

Posted by Icarusflies

I'm really excited about this, I love the Elite. I hope I can actually pick up the DVD.

Moderator
Posted by Inverno

I am not one to nitpick but the cover is so boring. Nothing tells me Superman is going to fight the Elite like the title says, its just him flying around with the then standing in the background. No suspense or feeling of threat in the cover.

Posted by KRYPTON

Going to go pick up the blu-ray version today.

Posted by ryu_talkative_batman

my reaction:

Edited by Twentyfive

Saw it a while ago at a convention. This is the best DC (direct, non-theatrical) animated movie as of yet, based on one of the most important Superman (and therefore comic) stories ever. I cannot wait to pick up the Bluray/DVD combo. Best part: it was based off a single issue. How many other DC animated movies can say that?

Posted by Gambit1024

Am I the only one who dug the art style on this one? :/

Posted by pspin

Animation looks good, I might just check this out.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Wanker? lol

Posted by Suprman

Wow there seem to be a lot of mixed reactions to this. I do love Superman so I'm gonna get it and form my own opinion.

Posted by haydenclaireheroes

I hope this goes on netflix soon

Posted by Razeil

Hated this because of the graphical style, it was ok but angled shots were so wrong (esspically Clark/Superman's chin which is bigger on one side which nearly twice that of the other). Please go back to the Superman/Batman or the Justice League styles at least those were good enough to pay money for.

Posted by ArtisticNeedham

Are all those features just on blueray or do they come on the other DVD?

I don't have a blueray player and it seems like thats what DVDs are doing now, putting all the best features on blueray.

Posted by Primmaster64

The story was good.

Posted by jack16ichigo

I couldn't believe he said wanker either...

Posted by AskaniSon295

The Elite should become enemies of stormwatch in THENew52.

Posted by toptom

i don like the animation(i'm probably the 10000 person saying that) but the story and the ACTION are great. i love supes when he gets really mad!

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

@Gambit1024 said:

Am I the only one who dug the art style on this one? :/

I really liked it along with everything else in this movie.

Posted by Owen_Porter

Pretty good. I liked it. I thought the final battle was off the chain. Even knowing what unbelievably high moral standards Superman holds, theres a minute there  where you're like....did he really just.........o_O

Moderator
Posted by Icarusflies

@AskaniSon295 said:

The Elite should become enemies of stormwatch in THENew52.

Well, that's funny actually, since the Elite were originally supposed to be a parody of Stormwatch I believe.

Moderator
Posted by krspaceT

@AskaniSon295: I think it could work

Posted by Dedpool

The animation and character designs look a lot better in action. I was iffy on it at first but the more I saw the more it reminded me of the Avengers :EMH, and I was okay with it. When I saw it I was actually blown away. Those last pics are from the climax and man does the animation flow!!

Posted by Bobsjonjon

Animation was a bit much. Overall very good Supes movie.

Edited by Suprman

So I just finished watching it. I very much enjoyed it. I don't know why they chose the art style that they did but it does work in some places and not in others. I wish they had chosen something like All-Star Superman or even the Wonder Woman art style but I digress. I loved the story, it was very well done and translated very well for a movie. Manchester Black in particular was great and I loved it. Overall, I'd give the movie 3.5 or a 4 out of 5. If you have the money give it a try.

Posted by Bestostero

This is a great moral story, i really enjoyed this much more than i thought i would, but the end fight was LAME.

Posted by Suprman

@Bestostero: I sort of agree about the fight, them fighting him was generic but i do give the animators credit on making Superman look scary, especially in the facial expressions. He LOOKED like he had finally snapped.

Posted by tensor

love it

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

The movie was... alright, the stroy was good, the animation is not my favorite design, but the action.... WOW!

Posted by RedOwl_1

Uh I'm anxious to watch it :D I LOOOOOOVE that story <3

Posted by TheHeat

Superman looks like he's on drugs in the last two images.

Posted by Kal'smahboi

I can't to see this :) I finally got to read the original story recently and loved it.

Posted by Fantasgasmic

Kinda disappointed this review didn't have a Good/Bad/Verdict layout and a number of stars to explain things a little clearer.

Posted by primepower53

@ryu_talkative_batman said:

my reaction:

thiiiiiiiiiiiis

Posted by NightFang

Can't wait too get this on Blu-Ray.

Posted by lifeboy
I liked it. It was weird how the elite and superman, who both wanted what was right for earth, became such mortal enemies.
Posted by lifeboy
I was po'ed that dr light only made a cameo. I did like lois and clarks relationship. I miss them being together:(
Posted by bladewolf

I plan to get the DVD when I can!

Posted by ssejllenrad

@Gambit1024 said:

Am I the only one who dug the art style on this one? :/

I didn't dig it but I have no problem with it. It kinda reflects the art on Action Comics 775.

Edited by CODYSF
DC I'm sorry I was a big prick about the art and I thought the movie was going to suck but when I finally got to watch it I fell in love with the story and the art I got use to it.
Posted by edtie97

I think dc should make the blackest night movie, or the flashpoint movie.

Edited by CODYSF

@edtie97 said:

I think dc should make the blackest night movie, or the flashpoint movie.

They are doing a flash point.

Posted by Teerack

I thought it was awful.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

I do wanna try this out. DC really can do the animation movies as of late.

Posted by BigPromise

Great story great film, I did hate the art but got over it like 2 minutes in. My big issue was exactly what you said, the whole movie I'm like call batman, flash, sh*t Animal man. and at the end i wont spoil it but its like he took a page out of batmans book he was a lil creepy. I just feel like a call to Bruce would of made it a lil more special all in all though great movie.

Edited by maxicere

I saw this movie.. NOT SPOILERS!!

Story are good (not very good, not so bad). The animation, for moment it's great , for moments sucks... The animation of battles are great.

Something I don't understand is Why in animation's movies Superman is so weak? Why He doesn't has the magnitude and same powers like the comics...

Posted by thebluedragon07

Just saw it, and it was indeed in fact a great story.

Posted by Skunkstein

Awesome action, good story, okay animations... they are not bad they are just for a certain taste, i was kinda dissapointed in them when the movie started but as it went along i didnt mind them.

Posted by Crimson Thunder

I don't like how they changed parts of the story; but it was pretty good.

Posted by MagmaGazer

This was cool. <3

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