It's often been said that Superman's message has become tired and cliche. In the last movie with him they even tried to skip the line about, "the American way." I guess it might seem to boyscoutish, and perhaps even corny. But don't the best ideas often require the most faith? In this film there is a scene where Superman addresses the UN and says the world is not broken and that "the grace of Humanity can be seen everywhere. I like phrase, "the grace of Humanity," I wish we would look more for that grace than the darkness that is Humanity's shadow.
As a character Superman absolutely needs a strong moral philosphy. He must have needed one from an early age. After all one little temper tantrum could have utterly destroyed the Kent farm. But you can't have a moral code without faith, and faith sometimes can be questioned and that is the heat of Superman Vs. The Elite.
It starts with a credit sequence that makes use of the pop culture Superman and then segues into a cartoon with Superman in full corny boy scout mode. We pull back and we see the real Superman and Lois Lane debating the cartoon of him they were just watching. Superman/Clark argues that he made a deal so that all the money he could have earned goes to charity. Lois argues that he needs to treat his "S" with more respect. Clark has no real response to that since he knows she is right. I think though he might have said that the "S" has already been degraded to some extent so why not make the most good of it? But before he can answer they are attacked by the Atomic Skull.
The Atomic Skull is a third rate player but they certainly bulked him up for this feature. He is now openly killing people just to coax Superman into battle. This makes for a very personal battle between the two and in the end Superman clearly has a moment where he wants to kill the Skull. He doesn't of course, because while everyone else thinks it's corny he still has faith.
The Elite pop up after this and at first they seem like they could be ok. They are a little rough around the edges and a little creepy but they seem to be on the side of good. Superman befriends them at first and even gives them some tips. Not that these cheeky souls take advice well. They are led by Manchester Black who looks like a roadie for The Who and has incedible telekenetic power. There's a tough guy, and a lady with bugs and things coming out of her. My favorite was the Hat who was a drunk magician always pulling bottles out of his hat.
The fun ends though when the Elite give THEIR message. That message is might is right, we have the might and we'll decide who is right and we'll kill any wanker who we think is a bad guy or gives us the stink eye. Of course Superman can't let them get away with this. The trouble is, besides being incredibly powerful of course, is that the public is eating up what the Elite stand for.
So in the end Superman has to kill their message as well as take out the Elite, because if he doesn't then there is nothing to stop a new Elite forming. So in the end of the film Superman takes their argument to its logical end and shows the world what a Superman completely unleashed might be like. If I was a citizen of Metropolis at that point I think I would have to make a pants check after seeing that.
This is a good exciting film. I like the bad guys, loved how they handled Superman. Once again, DC's animated division shows folks how to do it right.