Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who Wanted Him?

David Goyer, screenwriter of Batman Begins, has a sold a movie script to Warner Bros. called Super-Max, in which Green Arrow goes to jail and must team up with some of the supervillains he put there to escape!

That's a pretty strong premise, a story I'd like to read, but I'm curious why it's Green Arrow, of all superheroes, that's being sent up river in this movie. He's not exactly a name draw. In fact, Oliver Queen is down there with J'onn Jonzz, the Manhunter from Mars as least recognizable member of the Justice League, and no amount of guest turns on Smallville and Justice League Unlimited is really going to change that. For the vast majority of the movie going public, this will be their first exposure to the character.

So why use Green Arrow at all, and not some other, more famous superhero? My guess is that it was another hero at first. The plot seems fairly similar to Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark's Devil in Cell Block D, which is what I'm guessing Goyer originally pitched to the suits at Warner Bros.

Then one of the suits said,

Good story, but why should we buy the rights to Daredevil from Marvel and 20th Century Fox, when we already own the rights to these DC superheroes over here?

And Goyer said,
Okay, BATMAN goes to jail and must...

And another suit cut him off and said,
David, bubby, you're already writing us a Batman movie. How about someone else?

And Goyer thought and said,
How about a character who is like Batman in every way only more so?
It's not that I have a problem with Green Arrow. I actually think "superhero Robin Hood" a really cool and underused character concept. I just don't see the point in introducing him to the vast majority of the public in a film he's only in costume for the first five minutes of.

Why not use a more famous hero, like Green Lantern, who's instantly recognizable to MUCH more people? Or, if other heroes come with too much baggage to be exposed to the public and sent to jail, way not create an original superhero with whom you could do whatever you want?

In short, centering a film on Green Arrow, in which he's not called or dressed as Green Arrow for the majority of the film, assumes a public familiarity with the character that I just don't think is there.

Maybe I'm wrong.

p.s. Whether or not I actually see the film depends almost entirely on the director. Goyer is adept at translating comics to film, but the quality of his movies ranges from mediocre (Blade, directed by Stephen Norrington) to brilliant (Blade II, directed by Guillermo del Toro) to abysmal (Blade III, directed by, erm, David Goyer).

p.p.s. Green Lantern in jail image found on James Meeley's new site. Thanks, James!


James Meeley said...

Thanks for the link.

Steve Flanagan said...

Why not use a more famous hero, like Green Lantern, who's instantly recognizable to MUCH more people?

Ah, but is he? Maybe it's different in the US, but over here the only superheroes most people have heard of are the ones who have been in recent movies or oft-repeated TV series, plus Captain America (but he's dead, of course, so they can forget about him).

If you're going to have to introduce a hero from scratch in ten minutes, Green Arrow is much easier to explain ("he's like Robin Hood") than Green Lantern ("he's got this alien ring that lets him fly and project energy and create giant boxing gloves and he has to recharge it every 24 hours and sometimes it doesn't affect anything that is coloured yellow").

Anonymous said...

Plus GA has a low power level and a personality suited to jailbreaks. Flash or GL could be out in seconds.

just my 2 cents.

Filby said...

I just hope they actually get around to making this movie. DC has a history of announcing bunches of movies and then never actually doing anything with them.

Also: Amanda Waller had better be in it.