Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Watch out for a pissed-off Man of Steel!
SUPERMAN VS. THE ELITE (2012 direct-to-video). Director: Michael Chang.

Superman stops the Atomic Skull after he's already incinerated several people, then has to battle some genetically engineered monster insects. In the latter battle he gets help from some super-powered beings who come to call themselves "The Elite." At first Superman is happy that there are new heroes, but disturbed that their take-no-prisoners attitude and violent methods, as opposed to his more responsible within-the-law approach, have people cheering. The situation gets worse when the Skull escapes and kills more people and the Elite want to finish him off once and for all. [For which we can hardly blame them.] But the big boy scout insists on law and order, even for the Skull, and the battle is on, especially when the members of the Elite murder all the heads of state of two countries to prevent a war. It seems that an outraged Superman is going to give in to his dark side and handle the Elite the same way they would handle him -- bloodily -- but  the Man of Steel just may have a trick or two up his sleeve. Joe Kelly's screenplay is not only full of thrills and action but is also thought-provoking, with good characterizations. [Although why was it necessary to make the villainess a big "tramp,"as if equating sexuality with evil?] The character voices are very well done by George Newbern (Superman/Clark), Pauley Perrette (Lois Lane), and Robin Atkin Downes (Manchester Black, the leader of the Elite), among others. Michael Chang's direction is fast-paced and continuously exciting, and the animation is fluid and striking. Want to bet that this will probably be better than the upcoming big-screen Man of Steel? We'll see.

Verdict: Excellent animated super-hero movie. ***1/2.

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