Superman vs. the Elite

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Superman vs. the Elite Movie Poster Image
Strong violence countered by positive messages, good story.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 74 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie champions justice and fairness -- acting selflessly and thinking about others -- rather than violence, anger, and revenge. As one character says, "When people get scared, they tend to jump on a bandwagon without thinking about who's driving."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Superman is an excellent role model here, even though he tends to get into a lot of fights. Even when the world seems to get excited about revenge, violence, and anger, Superman still preaches tolerance and fairness. Also, his constant companion, Lois Lane, is shown as an intrepid, brave, and smart newspaper reporter, helping in whatever non-super way she can.


As with most of Warner's animated DC Comics superhero movies, this one is heavy on fighting and fantasy violence; in fact, violence is one of the movie's main themes. Lots of punching, pummeling, battering, smashing, and slamming, and images of war between two fictitious countries. Only a little blood is shown, usually trickling from noses or lips. Bad guys are tortured, and a little girl is in peril in a flashback.


Frequent sly innuendo. The Menagerie character clearly wants to sleep with Superman and keeps dropping not-so-subtle hints. (He has a "fine ass," she hopes he has the "stones to do me," etc.) In this story, Superman and Lois are married and have an intimate banter; they talk about kissing and eventually do kiss. Lois is shown in a nightie.


Superman vs. the Elite takes advantage of Manchester Jack's hometown slang and gets away with some words that many Americans may not know. These include "sod off," "wanker," "tosser," "git," "jackholes," and "poncy twit." Also several uses of "ass" and "damn," plus "hell," "son of a bitch," "pissing," "bastard," "scum," "crap," "sucker," "sucks," "dungheap," "sphincter," "frigging," "freakin'," and phrases like "got a pair" and "give the finger." A character also says "oh God."


Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. One mention of "tweeting."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The character known as The Hat seems to have a drinking problem. He's almost always seen swigging from bottles of wine or a cone-shaped martini glass. At one point during a battle, he says, "I have to sober up!" In a flashback, the father of a young boy and girl is shown to be a mean drunk, throwing back several bottles, with booze dribbling down his cheeks.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Superman vs. the Elite is one in a series of feature-length animated DC Comics superhero movies that have been released direct-to-video. Like the others, it's filled with fantasy and comic-book violence, though the movie's ultimate message is one of tolerance and fairness. Language is fairly frequent without being terribly strong and includes many British slang words, like "bugger" and "wanker," as well as several uses of "ass" and "damn." There's some sly but frequent sexual innuendo, and one major character seems to have a drinking problem.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAVeryConcernedParent June 15, 2012

Great Movie

I think the guy with a drinking problem is a fact of life, what will our kids be if they are ignorant? And as for the sexual innuendos, they are very funny! My... Continue reading
Adult Written byTinyToya June 13, 2012

This is one film I wouldn't watch with the kids...

The premise of the movie is pretty good. Superman is ever the boyscout believing people to be inherently "good" while The Elite are willing to kill th... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybiovox14 December 19, 2016

Dark, disturbing, and really good.

So I saw this when I was 11 years old, and it was a bit disturbing and too complex for me at the time. If you understand what the movies saying, it'll be b... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 18, 2015

good movie

I watched this when i was 10. I got it for christmas and it is pretty violent. The villains are pretty bizarre, but unbrave kids or kids not used to these types... Continue reading

What's the story?

After a destructive battle with the Atomic Skull, people begin to wonder why Superman (voiced by George Newbern) simply arrests such dangerous types, rather than destroying them. Enter the Elite, a new super-team consisting of Manchester Black (Robin Atkin Downes), Menagerie (Melissa Disney), Coldcast (Catero Colbert), and The Hat (Andrew Kishina). In a darker and more complex world, as a war rages between the two nations of Bialya and Pokolistan, the Elite pleases the public with their uncompromising methods, torturing and destroying the terrorists, while Superman's belief in tolerance and justice begins to seem increasingly outmoded. Is Superman obsolete, or can he find a way to apply his old values to a new situation?

Is it any good?

Like All-Star Superman before it, SUPERMAN VS. THE ELITE is an exceptional animated superhero movie. It's violent and has some adult subject matter, but it also has a strong, thoughtful story and worthwhile messages. It's based on a comic book from 2001, which brilliantly reinvents Superman, explores his mythology, and takes him into a dark, complex new time. This movie proves that Superman's legend is timeless.

Director Michael Chang uses the film's 75 minutes wisely, balancing tense action scenes with character-driven moments while never losing pace. The background work, ranging from big cities to the surface of the moon, is effective without being dazzling, and the voicework is outstanding. Newbern returns as Superman, bringing doubt and humanity to the Man of Steel's voice, and Pauley Perrette -- famous as tattooed goth chick Abby Sciuto on NCIS -- makes a terrific Lois Lane, gritty and gravely and ready for action.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence. How much of it is necessary to demonstrate Superman vs. the Elite's themes about tolerance and justice as opposed to anger and revenge? Is it ironic that the movie's message about not using violence is filled with violence?

  • Why does the character The Hat drink so much alcohol? Does it affect his performance in battle? What are the real-life consequences of heavy drinking?

  • Are there real-life cases or incidents in which the Elite's methods are preferable to Superman's methods? Why or why not?

Movie details

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