I watched this film on and off, but finally finished the last half hour of Superman vs. The Elite, a direct to video film adaptation of a 2001 Action Comics story. It was available via Netflix streaming, so it seemed like a good idea to watch this on a rainy Saturday. Not being all that wrapped up into the story itself, I’ve stretched viewing this short direct-to-video release out a few months. Without going into much detail, this storyline is about the introduction of a new group of antiheroes calling themselves “The Elite.” They have various superpowers, but are willing to do what Superman won’t do — kill. The question comes up, because Superman often captures villains and criminals who later escape and reactivate again and again, often at the cost of lives and property. The Elite propose that if you kill these criminals, it breaks the cycle. Of course, that introduces the viewpoint that now these superheroes have elected themselves judge, jury, and executioner. After a particularly violent jailbreak by the Atomic Skull, the public begins to believe in The Elite, while Superman questions whether he has become outdated.
It’s a question that has come up again and again for Superman in the past two decades. Superman has never suffered the pathos that Batman or a Hal Jordan may suffer. He’s the interminable boy scout, so how do you keep the interest of the audience? It’s an interesting question. Regarding the film and the story, however, I guess you can tell that I wasn’t too enamored of the film. Especially, if I dragged out a 76 min film, it couldn’t have captured my interest and attention all that well. I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly. Maybe it was the character design, which I thought was a little cartoony, resulting in the characters looking like caricatures. Also, while Superman was outnumbered, you know, couldn’t he have called in some backup from the Justice League to help out? I know that wouldn’t have served the purpose of the story, but I couldn’t quite get into the story itself. But it was probably due to my dislike of the animation style.