VIDEO: Superman vs. The Elite (2012)

Solkir reviews one of his favorite movies, Superman vs. The Elite, an animated film where Superman takes a stand against a team of anti-heroes who brutally kill their enemies. He also talks about why, contrary to the opinions of many, Superman is f*cking awesome!

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  • Yurifan

    Please keep doing such awesome reviews! Can you review the Wonder woman movie at some point? It’s not perfect but it’s the best version of Wondie I’ve seen outside of Perez, Rucka and Simone run on the comics.

    • Solkir

      The animated one from 2009?

      • Yurifan

        Yep, the animated one. It was the 4th highest selling Direct to DVD movie from DC.

        • Thomas Stockel

          Huh. I didn’t know that. It might be that story I heard regarding Batgirl: Year One was wrong.

    • Thomas Stockel

      I really enjoyed the Wonder Woman movie, too. Yeah, it had some flaws but the story was good and the voice acting spot on. I’m just sorry it didn’t sell better because I heard that was the reason the Batgirl: Year One project never got off the ground. Apparently the execs at WB thought Wonder Woman’s poor sales meant fans weren’t interested in “girl” videos. Or something.

      • Solkir

        What?! I would suck a million dicks for a Batgirl: Year One movie! Also for fun!

  • drumstick00m

    Team Superman for the win. Thank you for publishing and keep up the good stuff.

  • drumstick00m

    PS That ending line. Tears were shed here, also I think everyone favors Batman and heroes like him because he is “better” than most of us in a comforting way. It is unjust that he was born into money and can afford always to be right, but look at how miserable he is. It makes people feel better that they were not born into that kind of wealth and power and may never attain it. Superman and heroes like him do the exact opposite. He reminds people what the should be doing with themselves regardless of circumstance, nay have even more obligation to do and be if they were born into and or have attained power and privilege in this world. What do you think?

    • Solkir

      I actually meant to bring up Batman in the video, but I ended up nixing the idea because it was just five minutes of me berating the audience. I wanted to talk about the fact that the two are basically different aspects of the same idea. They share an identical set of morals (Batman’s penchant for breaking arms aside), a strong respect for the rule of law, and obviously their “no killing” Policy. The major difference between the two being that Batman carries significantly more emotional baggage and operates in the dark to compensate for the fact that he can’t punch a building in half. I think people’s preference for Batman is more superficial than you make it out to be. He’s dark and brooding and edgy, a character like that really speaks to a more cynical generation. There’s also the fact that the only powers he has are the ones he either bought, built or spent years training, and yet he is considered on equal ground with demigods like Superman and Wonder Woman. It gives one the idea of “I could totally be Batman if I put the work in”. Superman’s origin, on the other hand relies completely on circumstance. He had to be born the right person at the right time, and have every other person on his planet die a horrible death in order to make him great. And that’s far less likely to happen to them.

      • Cristiona

        Pretty much. Ever since the 90s, dark = realistic = good

        Which seems to be the track Man of Steel is planning to take, much to my chagrin.

        • CaptainCalvinCat

          I completely agree.

          From what I saw of the trailers, it looks like another grimm, gritty, “realistic” movies, when it is about superman.

          Now you can do dark, “realistic”, when you want to make a Batman-Movie and even there I disagree, liking the 60’s show more with its more funny and straight-faced-comedy-moment.

          But this is Superman.

          Okay, let me bring up one point to show, that in my humble opinion, those superhero-comics should never be “realistic” and Superman even more so.

          What happens to those criminals, who get captured? They wil be put in court, right?

          Here is what a clever, real world defence-lawyer would do, to get even a guy, who did horrible crimes in public and got captured by one of the superheroes in front of a live audience out of problems.

          He would asK: Who captured you?

          That is just one simple question and you might be ready to say: “Batman, of course”.

          Okay, the lawyer would ask, Who is Batman?
          “Well, he is the dark detective, the midnight detective, the guy who saves the day every given day.”

          Yeah – but who IS he? Does he have a record? Does he pay taxes, does he have a job, does he get unemployment benefits, does he have a dental record?

          And people would be demanding, that Batman demasks himself. Okay, granted, that does work, we saw that at Marvel with Iron Man. But what happens, if the same trial, the same questions would have been asked in Metropolis? What if the lawyer would ask: “Who is Superman?”

          Even if Supes would be telling them “Yeah, I am an alien from outer space” – never the less, in the more “realistic” world, he does not exist.

          Okay, we – the audience – know, that Supes is Clark Kent, but even then, even if he would demask himself publicly and say: “Yes, Superman and Me are one and the same”

          right after Supes told them, that you are an Alien from outer space, they would be getting real paranoid: “Aliens exist, and they look like us.”

          No, no, no – just no.

          Granted, I am willing to give man of steel a chance, but if it plays out as I think it plays out, I am safe to say, that I like the cartoon-movies and am perfectly fine with Superman 1 and Superman 2, even liking 3 and 4. Superman Returns was a boring movie and this one… well… we will see.

        • Solkir

          Not necessarily. there was a decade in between the 90’s and now where things were cool and comic writers, for the most part, didn’t have the same concept of maturity as a 12 year old boy on xbox live.

      • drumstick00m

        Well, I do not think I was over thinking things in comparison ( anyway. I suppose the problem with me is Bruce Wayne, since they ditched the nurturing surrogate father aspect of his personality in the Nolan reboots, is just too full of angst yet too often always right or prepared for me to feel he is real or to empathize with that. Superman, Superman thought he was ordinary, but then discovered that he had powers and privileges and so a responsibility. It is a situation I very much so relate to. Batman made a similar discovery, but his response (paranoid overlord) is not right nor is it healthy. Superman tries to be part of humanity, Batman trusts no one, at least not since it was declared that all his relationships with other human beings (like Robin) were “totally gay.”

        Anyway, you mentioned that Dick Grayson made a better Batman than Bruce? Not surprising, but can you give some more details? A video perhaps…

        • Solkir

          I totally agree with you about the Nolan movies. He stumbles his way through one catastrophe after another and yet is somehow always right. Sure, he’s always right in the most frustrating way in the comics, but at least they there, he has the detective skills to back it up. Everything he learns in the Nolan trilogy was given to him by someone else.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            So, he basically is a Gary Stu in the Nolan-Verse?

          • drumstick00m

            Yeah, Jim Gordon turns out to be the real hero of that story. John Blake is his sidekick. Bruce Wayne is the worst sort of emo asshole. I was rooting for Bane in that move, even more when the twist happened.

          • Solkir

            Oh, motherfucking John Blake

        • Solkir

          Also, my preference for Dick isn’t all that complicated. Bruce never had much in the way of a personality of his own, he more or less serves as a mouthpiece for whomever is writing him. Dick, on the other hand has always been more snarky and interesting. He has reactions to things where Bruce is always cranky and implacable.

          • Thomas Stockel

            One of the most frustrating things about the Nu DCU was them 1) having only five years pass so you had to cram four Robins into that time…

            Okay, two of the most frustrating things about the Nu DCU was them taking Dick out of the Batman costume. Two Batmans was an awesome idea and the dynamic between Dick and Damien was enjoyable. I still love that line in the last issue of Secret Six when the villains were trapped in the warehouse, surrounded by heroes, and Deadshot peeks through a couple boards:

            There’s two Batmen; when the hell did that happen?

            I hate the Nu DCU so much. I think I’m buying just one DC title now and it’s tenuous.

          • Solkir

            Yeah, I think it’s now implied that Tim was never an actual Robin.

            There’s some good stuff being put out there, but the majority is varying levels of crap.

            It’s like Hideo Kojima with Raiden. DC is desperately trying to make us like the new 52 by telling us how awesome and badass it is.

            I can’t help but wonder what will happen after this Trinity War they’ve been building up to since the reboot. This feels like their final gambit. Their last desperate attempt to convince us that the new continuity is better. Unfortunately, they decided to wait two years, giving everyone time to catalog all the reasons why their decision was stupid and only made everything worse. I can’t think of a single thing about the new 52 that is an improvement over the old continuity (maybe the origin of the Creeper. Jury is still out on that). I don’t know what they’re going to do if this fails to placate the longtime fans.

          • Thomas Stockel

            I read about Tim. It was like the writers and editors were given this mandate without enough time to work out the repercussions of the abbreviated timeline and they were making it up as they go. The Teen Titans trade paperback, for example, has edits.

            The thing is, this is not the first time we’ve seen shit like this. Back in the eighties after Crisis On Infinite Earths you had John Ostrander’s Hawkworld, which said Katar and Shayera had just arrived on Earth…even though they had been appearing in Justice League. Ostrander spent several issues having to explain how the Golden Age Hawkman had been in the JLA and then later on a fake Hawkman had been on the roster. And then with Wonder Woman just then appearing in Man’s World (DC’s term, not mine) they had to explain what woman had been part of the original DC lineup. Both were completely unnecessary. Hawkworld and Wonder Woman could have been stories about the characters’ pasts rather than the present.

            And then you look at Marvel’s Ultimate line of comics with their numerous short sighted screw ups. Gawd, you would think Dan Didio would have learned something from other peoples’ mistakes.
            Christ, I’m ranting. I dug some old comics out of my short boxes (I stopped using long; a full long box of comics is hella heavy!) and found my old Alien Legions. I might do an episode about them. The Foreign Legion in space is an awesome concept.

          • Solkir

            I’m less upset about the changes, than I am about just how poorly planned out the whole thing clearly was. We’ve got constant retconns, events that directly conflict with one another. The only way to explain how anything is related to anything else is to go the “to Boldly Flee” route and say everything just exists in a plothole.

            Which I think is what they are actually doing.

          • drumstick00m

            Two characters: Starfire and Amanda Waller; fuck you New 52.

          • Solkir

            Oh, I was furious about Waller. I think that pissed me off more than anything else. More so the fact that with a few exceptions, the women are just horribly exploited across the board. DC thinks that continually changing creative teams is a way to improve sales, while being blind to the fact that the book is fundamentally broken. I’m looking directly at you Suicide Squad!

          • drumstick00m

            Only book they are currently printing I am interested in picking up a trade of this year at Comic Con is Demon Knights. Worth it to your knowledge?

          • Solkir

            Absolutely, Demon Knights is fucking awesome! It’s consistently been in my top 2 since the reboot. It hasn’t been quite as good since Paul Cornell stopped writing it, but it’s still up there.

          • drumstick00m

            Might I ask what number one is?

          • Solkir


  • Thomas Stockel

    And so the first Superman review hits the Booth this week, and it’s awesome. Thanks, Solkir!

    • Solkir

      I kinda forgot to consider if we were waiting for the ok to upload. Just kinda did what I always do

  • I agree with your first sentence completely, but I feel that the movie works really well up until the final confrontation and the resolution.

    I did not really get what prompted the Elite to have a showdown in Metropolis. They could have just said, “Superman, we respect you a great deal, and if you want to go on saving lives and averting disasters, please do. But we are not as powerful as you, we feel we have to get down and dirty in order to force the world to be better. If you don’t agree that is fine, but if you try and stop us, you will actually be helping terrorists and third world dictators to continue their crimes against humanity. Even if you think our measures are extreme, you should just step aside. If you think we are about to turn into the monsters that we hunt, then go ahead and stop us, but right now all we have done is taken out permanently those who were definitively and demonstrably evil.”

    And, up until they started fighting Superman for no real reason the Elite were kind of right with what they were doing. You don’t win wars through delaying action and hoping for peace talks, you typically win by inflicting a measure of harm that keeps the other side from continuing, and in this instance neither side could do that without costing millions of people their lives.

    Superman ultimately only wins the argument because he is so powerful that he can prove his point without actually killing anybody, and that is a luxury that no one else has. I understand his reasoning, that in general “might makes right” is a poor philosophy that the Elite are perpetuating, but even Superman has met beings he would willingly kill. Darksied for instance. Hell, in Superman/Batman #5 Batman nearly talks Clark into vaporizing Luthor in the Oval Office.

    I also very much disagree with Superman taking away the Elite’s powers at the end. There was no trial for their actions. Superman just decides to take their powers. That isn’t okay by his own logic. That is the same as the government taking away people’s freedom to travel or work certain jobs without trial.

    What is more, the movie kind of knows that Superman is wrong, and goes out of its way to show the Elite as all very Hedonistic loose canons. Portraying Manchester’s actions as a child (the accidental bus catastrophe) which happened in context of trying to save his sister… those actions are shown as villainous, which is really unfair considering he is a child at the time, and probably only told Superman the lie because he was ashamed of what happened.

    So, yeah… Good movie, I liked it alot, but its message gets really foggy toward the end.

    • Solkir

      I think in their mind, it was more a case of “if you’re not with us, you’re part of the problem and you need to be dealt with.” They put the world on notice, if someone tries to get in their way, to them that’s the same as helping the terrorists. And like I said, They’re very egotistical, they had to prove that their way was right, that they were better than Superman.

      And I wouldn’t say they were entirely in the right. But I agree, the argument can easily be made that eliminating the threat permanently is a better solution, but all they do is kill a bunch of world leaders and destabilize two warring countries.

      I think Superman wins the argument, because the people now see that letting anyone with a cape and a tragic past kill whomever they want is a more terrifying prospect than they’d considered. Sure it’s all well and good when it’s those other people they’re killing, but look what they’re willing to do when someone disagrees with their philosophy. Abandoning the rule of law in favor of preventative or retaliatory murder just leads to f*cking thunderdome and we, as a people, need to get beyond that.

      In the case of Darkseid, it means the difference between everyone in the universe being alive, or being completely annihilated or enslaved. I think with stakes like that, Superman would be willing so “sell his soul” as it were to protect the lives of everyone everywhere.

      I totally agree with you about taking away their powers at the end. It seems like chopping someones hand off to keep them from stealing. This was a change made for the movie to sort of wrap everything up neatly. In the comic, Supes temporarily knocked out Manchester’s powers to prove a point.

      And you’re right as well about making the Elite look worse. That was another thing that botheredd me a bit. They couldn’t just let the philosophical argument be in a grey area, they have to show us that the Elite are all massive dicks. There’s one scene where Menagerie kills and (maybe) eats a dog because she finds it annoying.

  • Garrett Snook

    I actually stopped at the ad break to watch the entire movie, which leads me to believe you’re some kind of magician. Good work.

    • Solkir

      Huh, I have an ad break in there?

      • Garrett Snook

        You did. Might have just been a glitch though. I hear that phantom ad breaks appear occasionally on new uploads.

        • I now get those ad breaks on every video I upload, too, but they go away after a few hours. I’m sure it’s just a “bug” that Blip is “accidentally” sticking more ads on our videos without our permission, wink nudge

          • Garrett Snook


  • The_Stig

    As much as I’ve always loved Superman, I’m a Batman guy, but what convinced me, what REALLY convinced me that all the stereotypical arguments about why Superman was a lame character were both wrong and stupid was the cardboard speech from the last episode of Justice League. Pasted here for your viewing pleasure.

    Superman. Is fucking awesome.

    • Jay_Bay

      This is speech, is the best speech in American animated history… least to me.

    • Spocksbro

      But…how many people were injured or killed because Superman cut loose and punched this guy through 6 buildings and into the street?

      And who’s going to pay for all the structural damage?

      • Solkir

        I think the fact that he was going to murder everyone everywhere more or less excuses any damage to the city

        • Jay_Bay

          and obviously, those buildings in that area were evacuated before this scene. I mean, it’s a no duh on that.

          • The_Stig

            And when you live in a city where some bit of nastiness is remodeling the skyline every other week, it tends to stop fazing you after a while.

  • MephLord

    There are three JLU episodes that pretty much define Superman. Tabula Rasa (I know it’s a two parter, but it’s still one story arc), Patriot Act and Destroyer.

    Even though Patriot Act doesn’t actually feature the Man of Steel, it’s an episode that defines the perception of him, and how military people look at a character like that. We get to see what a career military man thinks of a team of meta-humans and the amount of power they can control, and if the military can’t stop them, who can? Although General Eiling’s logic is ultimately flawed, it isn’t entirely without merit. I can see why someone would want enough power to keep another power in check, it’s the Cold War mentality encapsulated in a super hero cartoon.

    Tabula Rasa is also an interesting look into the power of Superman. If a blank slate robot like Amazo gets Superman’s powers and gets impressionable advice from a scheming manipulator like Luthor, who knows what damage could be caused? This story arc is of personal interest because we see just how shrewd Lex can be when it comes manipulating those around himself, to the point that he loses sight of what he has wrought. And Superman himself comes to realize just how dangerous his powers can really be.

    And Destroyer, one of the classic episodes. Luthor’s megalomania knows no bounds, Superman cuts loose like he never has, and Superman ultimately doesn’t win out. It’s an interesting episode in a lot of ways that I feel should have been stretched into a full season as watching Darkseid attack New Genesis would’ve been pretty epic and spectacular.

  • Alexa

    In what way was Dick Grayson was better as Batman than Bruce Wayne. And do you mean just in the comics or all interpretations, including the animated series, which I would have to disagree upon if that is the case.
    But beyond that I completely understand your issues with criticisms in regards to Superman, and while I may slightly prefer Batman, I still love Superman and all that he represents especially the concept of having great power and deciding to use it for good, even though he could rule over us. Its way more fascinating to follow a character like Superman, someone with boundless strength, who uses it for good then someone who just uses it for personal gain, since that would the easy way of doing things. Also I find it infuriating and kind of sad that people think they can’t relate to Superman just because he has powers. Like being a decent human being and doing the right thing is such a foreign concept to them. Very sad indeed.

  • I understand why a lot of people don’t like Superman. They’re half right actually. Superman stories are hard to write because you’re dealing with a character who essentially has no arcs to go through, no lessons to learn. He’s already perfect. What people miss is that this doesn’t mean Superman stories can’t be engaging. The trick is that most good Superman stories (obviously there are exceptions) are more about the characters around him and how they react to him. They’re the ones with the arcs. Superman vs. The Elite for example is about the Elite and the rest of the world learning why Superman does what he does how he does it. All-Star Superman, my favorite comic of all time, is about the world saying goodbye to Superman. I’ve often said if I ever wrote a Superman movie, I’d write it entirely from Lois Lane’s point of view. He’s interesting because of his affect on others.

    Also, glad there’s someone else out there who loved Dick Grayson as Batman so much more than Bruce. I loved the hell out of Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin comic.

    • Solkir

      They did that with Captain America and it was awesome. Cap has no real character arch, he’s just the nicest, most selfless guy ever for the whole movie. I’m going to be super disappointed if there’s no musical numbers in Man of Steel

      • drumstick00m

        Actually Superman and Capt. have an arc: Red, White, and Black. Does not matter how truly good they are, both characters are still confronted with the fact that in our world they have power and privilege and so blinders to a lot of people’s pain via the fact that they are both white men. Unlike Batman, when they face this privilege, from what I have seen, they come out the better for it. Note: I am not counting the awful 1970s Lois turns African American for day comic, or things like it.

        Question for both: I am now interested, more than ever, in reading about Dick Grayson’s stint as Batman. I want to see if it helps him get over his crippling indecisiveness. What trades should I pick up?

        • Solkir

          Definitely pick up the Black Mirror