with those words the most well-known superhero in the world tries to convince manchester black, leader of the elite, that "crime does not pay". not really, especially killing, no matter how evil the victim. in the end, superman isn't just speaking to four immensely powerful anti-heroes out to change the world how they see fit, he's speaking to every man, woman, and child - many of who have grown dark and overly cynical with the times. despite everything he's gone through in his seventy year career, superman still believes in, "truth, justice, and the american way."
adapted from a well received superman story from dc comics, the animated film adaptation was written by the comic book author himself, joe kelly. kelly not only creates a superman to admire, but a human clark kent, still madly in love with fellow reporter lois lane. the elite members are each twisted and bizarre versions of the traditional superhero and their point of view can be easily understood. the conflict between superman and the elite is visceral and no less important than when it was first depicted in printed form. i've read other reviews that knock the overly animated designs of the characters, but i imagine this was done to temper some of the more violent scenes which earned the film its pg-13 rating.
with a live action superman currently in the works i can only hope the same message and characterization of the man of steel is translated to the silver screen. this is a hero i want my students to admire and emulate as i did when i was young. superman shows us it's not just being unbelievably powerful that counts, it's what you do with your powers, and the heart behind them.
Superman vs. the Elite is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. the original story is collected in trade paper back form, Justice League Elite Vol.1, or available in digital form on the dc comics ipad app.