El Mayimbe here…
David Goyer co-wrote another Superhero movie?! I remember back in the day when I first read his Batman Begins and the immense joy I had in reading that so now when I hear his name attached to another superhero themed screenplay, it’s a must read for sure.
In Hollywood reading circles, SUPER MAX has been making a lot of noise and I was lucky enough to take a quick peek this past weekend. So what is known so far about the project?
Here is what David Goyer told Wizard Magazine when they first broke the story a little over a year ago…
“He’s Green Arrow for the first 10 minutes of the movie, and then he’s arrested and his secret identity is revealed. They shave his goatee and they take his costume and send him to prison for life, and he has to escape. It’s like ‘Alcatraz,’ and he has to team up with, in some cases, some of the very same villains he is responsible for incarcerating in order to get out and clear his name. Of course, tons of people try to kill him while he’s in there. We’ve populated the prison with all sorts of B and C villains from the DC Universe. For the fans, there will be all sorts of characters the hardcore comic book junkies will know, but they’re all going to be there under their human names and no one is wearing a costume, but there will be a lot of characters with powers and things like that.”
Goyer pretty much summarizes what is principally the first act of the script. I will elaborate a little further. For those of you who don’t know, who is the Green Arrow? His secret identity is Oliver Queen, billionaire activist of the fictional Star City. Dressed like , Green Arrow is an archer, who invents arrows with various special functions, such as a glue arrow, a net arrow, or a boxing-glove arrow.
I’m not a hard core Green Arrow fan, but I took a look at the book back when Kevin Smith did his run on the character. So what’s the verdict? A great script with a cool concept and really cool execution! Is it accessible to all audiences – Green Arrow fans and non fans? Again, an absolute yes! In SUPER MAX we do get the Green Arrow’s origin layered throughout the script in flashback and executed very cleverly. The script borrows from both the original origin and from Andy Diggle and Jock's recent Green Arrow: Year One.
Oliver Queen began as a wealthy playboy and rich, thrillseeking activist, who after a drunken rant at a party goes for a voyage on his yacht with his best friend and wingman WILL HACKETT. The opening scene in the script is when twenty something trust fund brat Ollie falls overboard and splashes into the ocean. He washes ashore lives like Robinson Crusoe on a semi-deserted Pacific island. Forced to hunt for survival, Queen developed his natural archery skill to a peak level. When drug-runners came to the island, he captured them and returned to civilization three years later, changed by his experiences on the island. Ollie returns to civilization full of principles and vision per the words of his buddy Hackett who is honoring him at an opulent dining hall with other society types after the opening scene.
Hackett goes on to say that over the last ten years, Queen Industries has committed almost a billion dollars towards Ollie’s principles. Whether it be fighting organized crime, corporate fraud, or government corruption, Oliver Queen (now in his 30s) is a warrior on the front lines. A modern day Robin Hood.
MARCUS CROSS is also at the dinner. Cross wants to take over Queen Industries.
Meanwhile, over at CHECKMATE WORLD SECURITY HEADQUARTERS, COL. TALEB BENI KHALID spearheads the controversial Checkmate Initiative which intends to safeguard the public from vigilantes. Khalid believes that those who don the mask and cape should not be permitted to call themselves enforcers of the law. A break-in happens at Checkmate HQ, and all of Khalid’s bodyguards are killed using Green Arrows.
Ollie learns of the breach at Checkmate HQ through his secret police band ear piece, leaves his dinner and turns into the Green Arrow by page 7.
So what does the cinematic Green Arrow look like? The Green Arrow wears a tight green leather suit, quivers attached to his ankles and thighs, and a giant COMPOUND BOW running across his back. His face is concealed by a dark hood.
Green Arrow finds Khalid dead in a warehouse – killed by a Green Arrow. He’s been set up. A unit bursts in and a cool chase sequence ensues which ends with Green Arrow getting caught by the Police Chief. Green Arrow is surrounded by an army of cops with their weapons trained on him and he surrenders – our inciting incident on page 10.
Apparently, at the police station, the DA has a hard-on for Ollie and has been wanting to bring him down for years. Hackett comes to the station to talk to Ollie who believes he has been set up by Cross who is staging a ninety billion dollar takeover of Queen Industries. If Queen’s expenditures get marked as criminal activity, this takeover just got that much easier.
It’s obvious that weeks later, Queen is found guilty. The Judge believes that since he has no confidence that a conventional lockup will be able to contain a man of Mr. Queen’s abilities, it is the recommendation of the court that he spends the remainder of his life in the only place in the world that could lock him down…the SUPERMAX PENITENTIARY FOR METAHUMANS. Ollie is surrendered to the custody of the Checkmate Initiative. The Alcatraz for super villains, no one has ever escaped SUPERMAX.
Since Queen is now a prisoner, he gets injected with a computer chip – A Parallax Device. We will come to learn that the Parallax Device is how the prison keeps the inmates and their abilities in check. Ollie meets the warden, AMANDA WALLER (black, 40s) who gives him his introduction to SUPERMAX and the Parallax Device. Col. Khalid was a friend of hers. It’s safe to say that Ollie is fucked. In the baptism gallery, Ollie gets the shit kicked out him by guards led by PENOTTI. Ollie gets a green jumpsuit and is given his number: 9242.
Want to know how cool SUPERMAX is? The prison changes shape, cells rearrange, and reconfigures every night to disorient the prisoners from breaking out. A transforming super prison! Cool.
At the end of Act I, Ollie hooks up with SPLIT, a teleporter and one of the DCU villains who gives him the lowdown in the recreation yard and becomes Ollie and the audience’s liaison. I will be presenting the rest of the rogues gallery shortly. Here is something else really cool - THE JOKER, LEX LUTHOR, and THE RIDDLER are inmates at SUPERMAX! They make cool cameos but I won’t spoil how.
The prisoners are divided into groups. First the mortals like Ollie – Green suits. Then geniuses – Blue Suits. Finally, the green suits – metas, superpowers. The other inmates that can’t be controlled are class five. Their powers are too much and are in permanent lockdown in the cells.
BLOCKBUSTER seems to be prison gangster running the show being the biggest and strongest fucker there.
How do the stakes go up for Ollie in prison? The takeover of Queen Industries gets legally complicated so in order for his estate to get released to Cross, he has to be declared dead!
Now the Green Arrow is a marked man in prison.
Overall, I had a hell of a time reading the script. I read the first part, rushed over to the screening and rushed back to finish the rest. The script delivers on all levels and I think, Goyer has himself another winner here. The studio would be on crack not to make this. The script alones deserves it’s own graphic novel in the least. I heard a rumor somewhere that Matt Damon was in negotiations to star as Ollie Queen/Green Arrow. He certainly has the physicality and chops for the meaty role considering how bad ass Damon was in the last Bourne film. I think a solid choice. Will Ollie and his band of metahumans break out of SUPERMAX? We will just have to wait and see if and when Warners pulls the trigger.
In the meantime, I leave you with this treat – all the DC universe B and C list villains/inmates at SUPER MAX! Enjoy because some of these characters were so obscure that it was a bitch to get these pics.
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- SHOCK TRAUMA: A Japanese assassin able to generate short range but lethal blasts & jolts of electricity.
- GEMINI: She can take any shape she wishes at will
- Cameron Mahkent aka ICICLE
- SPLIT: A teleporter
- FLORONIC MAN
- COUNT VERTIGO
- ARYAN NATION: IRON CROSS, HEATMONGER, & BACKLASH
- Hartley Rathaway aka PIED PIPER
- Arthur King aka MERLYN
- Abel Tarrant aka TATTOOED MAN