I'm going to have to respectfully disagree.
"The first problem is that The Elite are an -all-too-pale knock off of The Authority."
It was meant to be a knock off of the Authority. The comic book story version of The Elite was the writers way of saying in a world where increasingly people think might makes right, as incaptulated by a team like the Authority (which at the time was owned by DC) is Superman still relevent. Sure they were a pastiche of the Authority, but so what? Is Apollo les of an interesting character because he's a pastich of Superman? What about Midnighter?
The fact that the Elite were a pastiche of The Authority doesn't invalidate the philosophical distinction: Does might make right. Should those with power "fix" the world, even when what you consider to be in the worlds best interest may not be in the best interest of the individuals that make up that world? An what happens when those with power think that something like free will is not in humanities best interest? Where does one draw the line if the only qualifier to rulership is who has the biggest military force (or in this case Super Powers).
"The characters are not likable or engaging"
so, exactly like the Authority then.
"But we do get to hear the word "wanker" a lot and the word "ass" even more. Hey, it's PG 13, so why not? Because it's Superman, people! Language!"
But its not Superman. It Superman versus The Elite. what do the elite care for your restrictions on there language? After all you aren't as mighty as the Elite is, so your opinion is in no way important... Because only might makes right; if you get my drift.
"Supposedly, he is letting everyone think he has gone to the "dark side" in order to then teach a lesson about NOT going to the dark side."
Sure. Sometimes you have to give people the appearance of what they want to make them realise that they don't want it at all.
"All indications and comments seem to suggest that Superman's Justice League team-mates do exist in some form in this version of things. Yet, when their superfriend, is apparently being killed on worldwide TV, none of them are available to even try to help. Are they all on vacation? Taking a personal day? Bad hair day?"
Except that Superman gets bested once & then comes up with a plan: The Justice Leagues help was not required.
In fact bringing in the JLA would have actually been detrimental to the story, since it would have reinforced the idea of might makes right. It becomes a pissin' match between two massive forces to see whose side gets to be right: With the basis of "right" being nothing more then who can bring the most power to bear on an adversary.
"The worst thing about Superman vs The Elite is that it is just so, so much weaker in every way than the Bruce Timm, Paul Dini version of Superman seen in Justice League, Superman: The Animated Series"
No, it really doesn't. "Superman: the animated series", was the weakest of all the Animated DCU shows, closely followed by Batman Beyond.
In general this movie told a complete story, along with a great moral about social responsibility, the concept of checks and balances in society. i thought it was a great movie, with some really great scenes where Superman showcased why the ideals that originally made him so popular in the 1940's are still important. Especially given that Truth & Justice are no longer the American way: I mean America has a yearly military budget is in excess of the rest of the planets combined... Might makes right would appear to be the American credo. If anything, Superman is more relevent today then ever before.