Adapted by Joe Kelly from What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?.
There are two ways of experiencing DC Universe Animated Originals, and that’s to either watch it for the animation or for the story. While most DC fans would watch for the animation, since they’re adaptations of other DC storylines, I watch the story. That’s because not only is this blog about screenwriting, but also because I’m pretentious enough to watch an animation for the plot.
Which is a shame in the case of Superman vs. the Elite, since it’s very well animated, but just not very interesting. The opening credits are a pop-art bombast, that shows you that this is going to be a slightly different style of adventure for Kal-El. The first scene is a diegetic adaptation of his adventures, done as knowingly badly as possible, before cutting to him watching the show in a shop window. It sets the scene well: the cell shading is more important than the story happening within that fictional show. But it’s strange that Lois Lane disapproves of it for being too corny, when in-fact, the story they’re in is just as bad – but this time unknowingly.
Yes, the animation is a vast improvement on previous Animated Originals, but the story hasn’t moved-on at all. Such an ambitious beginning sets you up for an exciting adventure, but it all turns out to be superfluous to the narrative. Even when writing for direct-to-DVD, story is still the most important thing, because it can get you on to writing other things. Really, the colouring style is a very deceptive way of keeping you watching a story that’s neither good or bad, and leaves you feeling indifferent. Which is the worst kind of bad – not even memorably so.
Superman vs. the Elite: improved animation, still quite boring. 4/10