I’m not a fan of Superman. I think I’ve said it before. He’s always been a character that I just could not relate to. He’s a great superhero, yeah. But, his biggest issues are staying clear away from a green rock, and pretending to be a clumsy man. Boring! Batman is a borderline psychopath, Spider-man is a teenage dork, and Iron Man is a drunk. All these character have something in their lives that make them stand out. Superman, well, he’s just a boy scout. No one can actually beat him one on one. He’s perfect, and it’s what I don’t like. I want my heroes flawed, so that I can have that sense of, “if he can do it, so can I.” I only need one perfect hero, and Superman is not the guy.
With all that said, this Superman is a Superman I like. The story was edgy, compelling, and breaks down a very serious issue. Is morality old fashioned? Should terrorists be given due process? Should vigilantes really take the law into their own hands? And in a world of super powered heroes and villains, should our super heroes be outside of the law? And the bigger question… is Superman too old fashioned for the 21st century?
In a world where super villains constantly break out, only to be placed back in prison, only to break out again, and then be put back in prison again (oh yeah, and in between that, cause all kinds of havoc and kill people), you have Superman, who believes that mankind at its core is good. It’s not perfect, and surely, terrorists don’t help the cause. But what happens when people get tired of the circle? What happens when a new group of “heroes” emerge, and live by their own rules? Simply put, if you are a super villain, a terrorist, a dictator, etc., you deserve only one thing, death. There is no breaking out of prison, no more preying on innocent people, nothing, just a one way ticket to hell. Well, The Elite is that group.
Led by their leader, Manchester Black, The Elite is a group of ex UK “projects” that decided to have things their way. In reality, it’s a group you tend to like, especially Black. He’s a superhero that flies around standing up with his hands in his pockets! He’s just cool. His group consists of a big guy who can absorb powers, a magician, and a winged bat looking girl who shoots out deadly insect snake-like things.
This group brings out a challenge unlike Superman has ever dealt with before. He begins to doubt himself. Does he really belong in this world? Is he truly needed? In a matter of a day he went from everyone’s favorite Kryptonian, to nothing. Even the children playing don’t want to be Superman anymore. Heck, even Lois semi-agreed with their logic, and she’s his partner (not verified in the movie if they are married or just in a relationship).
It seems like “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” just isn’t good enough anymore. Or, like most of mankind, we seem to jump at the next shiny new toy before we even know if it’s good for us or not. And the world jumped in and accepted these new guys without any hesitation. The system is broken, and people were sick and tired of it. But like one politician said, where will they stop? Once all the super villains are gone, all the terrorists dealt with, all the dictators… where will The Elite focus their misguided ways next? A very strong statement! One that people won’t look at in the moment, because they don’t want to see that their new toy is actually broken.
What happens next is probably the best I’ve ever seen Superman displayed. Because not only has his moral stance been challenged, now he himself has been challenged. If he can’t fall in line, then wipe the earth of him as well. Hmm, interesting, if morality does not fit the agenda, then get rid of it. Sound familiar? Well, Superman teaches a lesson, not just to The Elite, but to the whole world of what the new toy really is. What a superhero with no morality let loose on the world really is. And in the end, although he saves the world, humanity has already proven that it is more lost than he thought.
This movie, adapted from Joe Kelly’s story in Action Comics #775 “What’s So Funny about Truth, Justice, and The American Way,” really hits hard on the moral code. Is Superman old fashioned? Or, in my thinking, is the Bible old fashioned? Are the Ten Commandments something of the past? Should we only live by them to a certain point, or get rid of them completely? It’s a challenge that is brought to the Church by the world every day. And I have to say, most of the time the church’s response is wrong.
We do everything the opposite of Jesus in order to defend Jesus! Do we need to go to extreme measures to prove that the Bible is not outdated? No! The Bible itself does not need us to defend it. We do need to stand for what is right, that is the truth. But look at the world we live in. It seems like each day, the world gets worse and worse. How many times have we seen on the news someone got killed, raped, abused, robbed, etc. by someone who has been in and out of jail? I’ll be the first to say that my first thought is, our system is broken! At times I even say they should just get rid of these people, line them up and kill them! But, then, at what point will that stop? When we cross that line, when will we know to stop?
In reality, humanity can’t stop. At our core, we are not good like Superman believes. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). On our own, we would never be able to become good. We can never stop. And in a world that continues to push away morality for our own selfish needs, it will never get better. Sure, the new shiny toy looks good. Doing things our way, and the way we feel it should be, appears to be the right way to do things, but for how long? How messed up do we need to be in order for us to realize that our way is not working? Is the world a mess because Christians are old fashioned, and need to get out of the way, and get rid of the Bible, or is it a mess because we are kicking Christians out of the way and getting rid of the Bible?
Superman vs. The Elite is a movie that challenges every moral fiber in your body, even the ones you didn’t know you had. The animation is spot on, voice acting is superb, and the script is amazing. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have at least one thing over Marvel, and that is their straight-to-DVD animated films. Where Marvel seems to fail, they seem to excel. And this film may have just made the leap into the top animated comics based film to date.