Superman vs. The Elite (2012)


Whenever superhero fiction (be it comic or its movie adaptations like in this case) strays into making moral arguments or trying to approach some sort of realism, things get incredibly silly. Even the revered Watchmen, at its core, is downright stupid in how it deals with complex political issues and how to solve them. But at least Moore wouldn’t have written something as ridiculous as this.

Originally conceived as a straw men argument against the Authority, the movie adaptation closely follows the original story but adds a cartoony style that is completely at odds with the more violent theme it tries to carry. The Elite are superheroes who kill super villains, terrorists or third world dictators, while Superman is all about due process and upholding Truth, Justice and the American Way by not killing his enemies.

That right there, beyond the whole superhero thing, is the stuff that makes this story look so incredibly ridiculous. It’s not that I actually disagree with Superman here, violence is no solution in a complex political landscape. Kill one leader, watch the next one step forward and manufacture his own locked-down country, powered by weapons from so called first-world countries and with his money secured far away. There’s no easy solution that begins and ends with just one person killed (nor killing at all). Just look at how the Americans fucked up Iraq the real American Way-style.

These are not problems that can be addressed in superhero comics without making everyone involved looking ridiculous (and many have tried). But, if we’re speaking about super villains, in terms of how they have been portrayed in comics over decades, killing them would have saved lives. Every villain who has shown an aptitude for murder, from the Joker to whoever else comes to mind. In all these cases Manchester Black and his Elite, the Authority they have been modeled after would have been right to kill. Superman and like-minded “heroes” have caused more harm by not killing these monsters.

Despite that, it’s still all bollocks. Super villains, superheroes, their entire world including made-up countries, it’s all just fictional. The whole movie is not just an argument between fictional entities, the argument itself is so far removed from reality and how the real world works to be entirely without merit.