A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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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?
- On DVD or streaming: June 12, 2012
- Cast: George Newbern, Pauley Perrette, Robin Atkin Downes
- Director: Michael Chang
- Studio: Warner Home Video
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Run time: 74 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: action violence and some language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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