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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Greg Berlanti/Marc Guggenheim 'THE FLASH' Script Review

"I can’t believe it. The guy I've loved forever is our Guardian Angel."

"I kind of like “The Flash."

:: Editors Notes :: - Here is the first 4 Pages from the script (Two of which were already confirmed and leaked by Latino-Review and Think McFly Think) to prove its authenticity. We will not be posting the entire script for public download since this film could still be made. Its out of respect of the writers and WB.


In the wake of Francis Manapul ending his incredible run on the New 52’s The Flash series, Grant Gustin appearing on Arrow as Barry Allen, and the news of an in-development Flash television series, we here at SMN have been privileged to get a hold of the Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim written script (with story by Guggenheim, Green, and Greg Berlanti) to The Flash film back from 2011.

In the past 24 hours I have read and re-skimmed over the script in order to give my SPOILER-filled review of the script. If you don’t want to know anything about this script then please do not continue reading, I won’t feel bad.


The Flash is hands-down one of the best superhero characters in all of comics. Each version of the Scarlett Speedster has something that the reader can resonate with or relate to, but I think that the most relatable Flash and probably the most popular version of the character is Barry Allen.

Barry Allen is smart, funny, kind, supportive, attractive, genuine, and is just an all-around good guy. Barry would do anything for you, even if he doesn't know you. He could care less about what happens to himself as long as those he cares about, and those he has sworn to protect, are safe and out of harm’s way. This is what makes him The Flash.

Although this script doesn't get everything about the Flash’s mythos to a “t”, it most certainly gets Barry Allen in a way that I don’t think every superhero movie script does. Barry is actually a lot like Captain America in the sense of his selflessness and willingness to sacrifice himself for others. Green and Guggenheim show this extremely well through their writing of the character. Quite honestly, it’s pretty hard to mess-up when writing Barry Allen as he’s such a straight-forward character.

Over-all, Barry Allen is written exactly how he should be for his own solo film. He’s serious when he needs to be and isn't too heavy on the comedy, while still showing his heroic side throughout. The big thing I really liked about Barry in this script was/is his unwillingness to give up. At one point, after being beaten by Reverse-Flash he decides to quit, but eventually (with help of course) realizes that he needs to help people, that it’s his “job” to help people and that nothing is going to change that because it’s who he is as a person. People say that Superman is the boy scout and that Clark Kent is the model we should look up to in terms of comic book characters, but if we’re going to be honest Barry Allen, The Flash, is the straightest arrow out there, and this script does a great job of reminding us that.

Iris West is also a huge part of this “film” as she is Barry’s best-friend. She’s the one there for him when no one else understands. She’s always been there and has always loved him. In fact, she would willingly put herself in harm’s way for him just as much as she would for her story. That’s right, much like Lois Lane, Iris is a reporter in her own right and I think she was also written well here. In fact, to a certain extent, reading Iris’s lines almost felt like I was hearing Emily Bett Rickards' Felicity Smoak from Arrow, which is a pleasant reminder that some of the same people who worked on this story/script also work on the greatest comic book inspired television series out there.

I like Iris a lot in this story. She’s smart. She puts things together when no one else does. She believes in the “guardian angel” (The Flash) when she has no reason to. She continues to love and encourage Barry even though she’s engaged to another man to whom she also loves. She’s just, Iris, which is a lot of fun and makes me root for her and Barry even more in the comics (in the New 52 they are no longer married due to the rebooted universe, sadly) as well as while I was reading this script.

Also, they make Iris an ex-reporter turned blogger, which is brilliant! Loved it!

Another character in the film that I liked in particular was Fred Chyre, Barry’s boss. Most people know from reading The Flash comics that Darryl Frye (as well as Director Singh) was Barry’s boss at the Central City Police Department, which is correct. In the comics, Chyre actually worked in Keystone City (the twin city to Central) and was around during the time that Wally West was The Flash. This has obviously been changed for this script. Chyre is a lot like Frye and even Jim Gordon to an extent. He’s written as a sort-of guardian to Barry and as someone who wants to do the right thing and get the job done, but while still dealing with other cases and crimes along the way. Unlike Barry, he focuses on whatever’s new where Barry focuses more on “cold” cases.

He’s a cool character in the script and it’s really a shame that he is killed by Thawne (well, at least on Thawne's orders). He also has a very nice scene during a flashback with a young Barry who had just lost his mother, which is a great Batman Begins-type moment.

Much like the Green Lantern film, which Guggenheim also co-wrote, this film has two villains. Taking the “Hector Hammond” spot in this film would have been Lenard Snart known as Cold (though we know him as Captain Cold, leader of the Rouges). I’ll be completely honest here and say flat-out that I was not a fan of how Cold was written here at all. While Green and Guggenheim wrote Barry Allen and Iris West phenomenally (as they should), they got [Captain] Cold all wrong.

Oddly enough, Captain Cold is probably one of the most heroic, if not the most heroic, super villain of all time. Cold is all about honor. He doesn't like to kill unless he deems it absolutely necessary. He doesn't like unnecessary violence either and has actually reduced the Rouges’ pay after a heist because of it. And one of the most important things about Cold is that he absolutely refuses to kill women and/or children. No discussion, no debate, he doesn't do it. Cold’s about as loyal as The Flash is oddly enough, he’s just loyal to different people.

However, here in this script, like I said before, Cold is all wrong. Here, Cold is a hitman; a gun for hire more than a common criminal with a gimmick. To be honest, it didn't bother me terribly much that Cold didn't have a freeze gun and that instead he used a chemical that he’d just shoot at people and inject people with. I mean, it bothered me as a Flash fan, but I was okay with it as long as Cold was going to be written right. Unfortunately he was not. He was used as a pawn to Thawne (who I’ll talk about in a minute) just as Hector Hammond was to Parallax in Green Lantern (which if we’re going to be completely honest, is a film that I enjoy and watch regularly), which would still have been okay, to an extent, if they did not make him a cold, heartless killer who ran around taking orders from the Reverse-Flash aka Eobard Thawne. This just is not Captain Cold. If you want to know Captain Cold, read Geoff Johns’ The Flash (Brightest Day) and Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato's The Flash (New 52) book as well as Forever Evil: Rouges Rebellion. That’s Captain Cold.

Let me do say though, in closing on this subject, that I get that if they had written him as a villain who just wants to get rich and uses a freeze gun as his gimmick that it would turn into Mr. Freeze from Batman & Robin. I understand why they strayed from that, but I feel that if you wrote him how Cold has been written in the last few years that he would have been significantly different from Freeze, which is what they were going for anyway.

Moving onto to the “Parallax” of this script, Eobard Thawne; I may be a minority here, but I actually enjoyed what was done with the character as I think it made him more interesting than other interpretations of the character, the only exception maybe being how Geoff Johns’ writes him in The Flash: Rebirth and/or Flashpoint.

In this script, Thawne is from an alternate timeline where he was the Reverse-Flash/Professor Zoom and regularly battled Barry Allen, The Flash. In this timeline, Barry is married to Iris and they have twins (the Tornado Twins…) and Barry’s mother is alive and still happily married to his father. In this timeline, Thawne is Barry’s arch-nemesis and vice-versa. Thawne’s powers come directly from Barry as he sucks the energy from Barry in order to run at super-speed, which is something right from the comics. Thawne hated his timeline’s version of Barry so much that he actually went back in time to kill Barry’s mother and frame his father to extract his revenge. However, young Barry hadn't yet gained his powers and therefore Thawne couldn't use his own speed for very long as he needs Barry in order to do so. Thawne, over the course of 15 years or so, built a Particle Accelerator and gained a high position at S.T.A.R. Labs in order to do so. This Accelerator would allow him to use Barry’s energy (once he gained his powers) to travel back to his own timeline. This is Thawne’s motive throughout the script. He wants to go home, but he also wants to do everything he can to hurt The Flash and quite frankly I liked it. I thought it was an interesting way to make Thawne different from what we have seen before.

On that note, Thawne doesn't wear a yellow, reversed version of the Flash suit. Instead, he wears a suit that resembles the Black Flash’s suit more than Thawne’s classic costume. In fact, it’s almost like the New 52 Reverse-Flash suit which is black and red.

What I thought was interesting is that initially Thawne comes to Barry as a “friend”, a mysterious benefactor who wants to help Barry as he goes through his metamorphosis of becoming The Flash. However, as we find out, Thawne is simply using Barry to further his goals of both getting back home to his original timeline as well as taking his power and everything he cares about from him. Again, I found this rendition of the character very interesting yet ultimately true to the Eobard Thawne character as opposed to how Lenard Snart was handled.

Other characters in this script of interest/importance include Iris’s fiance Nathan Newbury, S.T.A.R. Labs scientists Valerie Perez, and Axel (the Trickster) who all have their own subplots in the script. Nathan is actually pivotal in solving why Cold is murdering specific people, Valerie is mainly just another love-interest for Barry while also being one of three scientists who help him become The Flash, and Axel is a criminal Barry put away and later interrogates as The Flash, which is fun. Also, we see a young Wally West, who has a brief scene with Barry at Iris's engagement party.

Moving on from characters, let’s talk more about the story. For the first half of the film, Barry is not The Flash. This makes sense. For a good portion of Batman Begins and Man of Steel, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are not yet Batman and Superman. That “formula” is followed here as well. For a large portion of the script, we have Barry Allen trying to solve a string of murders (Cold’s murders) while trying, at Chyre's request, not to scare the public about a new serial killer, as that’s what they think Cold is initially. I like seeing Barry as doing his job as a part of the CSI unit. When he examines the first victim’s body, he begins to talk to her as well as himself, which is actually quite humorous. But then when he sneaks into S.T.A.R. Labs to use their equipment (which they don’t lend out to the police) to find out who his victim was, he’s very serious and focused. There he meets Valerie Perez, who is obviously important to the story as she is part of the reason Barry becomes The Flash.

There are a number of flashbacks (pun not intended?) throughout the script that are about Barry when he was a kid, both before, after, and during the time his mother was murdered by Thawne. One thing that I really liked about this script, which is obviously intentional because two of the people who worked on this script also work on Arrow, is that Barry was carried from his house by a whirlwind (Thawne) right before his mother is murdered. For those who have watched Arrow, specifically the episode “The Scientist” (Barry Allen’s first appearance on the show, played by Grant Gustin), that is exactly how Barry describes his mother’s murder. As a fan of Arrow, I like that the writers took something significant like that from their film script and decided to use it for a live action version of Barry, even if it’s on television instead of film. Cool stuff.

However, I think this script may get some of the complaints that people had with Man of Steel in terms of the pacing. Not the pacing of the actual main story (in the present), but the placement of the flashbacks. In fact, I feel that it would have almost been better for them to put the flashbacks at the start of the film so they could start with Barry as a boy and progress from there, much like Superman: The Movie did. I think the audience would be more open to them if they were played out linearly as opposed to random moments throughout. That being said, if they did play it out linearly like I’m saying, then it may take away from the opening scene, which would be okay for me, but not necessarily everyone else.

In the opening scene we have Barry, not yet The Flash, racing in and out of flashtime to save people throughout Central City, which is very cool, but again not necessarily needing to be the opener for the film.

The Barry/Iris romantic plotline is very well done in this script and actually reminded me a lot of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson from Spider-Man 2. Barry grew up with Iris, she’s always loved him but he never took a hint. Iris’s sister Mary even tells Barry that her whole family was waiting for Barry to marry Iris, but now he’s too late as she is now engaged to Nathan Newbury. Also, it’s because of this that we see a 10 year old Wally West at the engagement party as he tells Barry that it’s rude for him to stare at Iris because she’s taken, which I thought was pretty funny considering.

Because Iris is taken, we have Barry leaning towards an attraction with Valerie Perez (who was actually a love interest for Bart Allen back when he was The Flash), which makes Iris jealous. Barry doesn't really do a whole lot with Valerie because she realizes that his heart belongs to Iris (he mentions that they even lost their virginity to each other but Iris had to move on because Barry was moving “too slow”). Obviously Barry and Iris do end up together, yay, but it takes just about the whole film, which is perfectly fine by me.

Barry gets his powers pretty quickly in the script believe-it-or-not. By page 31 he’s already recovering from the lightning strike that he received in page 23 and is being trained to use his powers by Thawne’s scientists.

Speaking of Thawne's scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs, other than Valerie, we also have Jerry McGee (whom I can only believe is a reference to Wally West/Flash’s scientist friend Tina McGee, who was also Barry’s love interest in the 1990’s Flash series) and Dr. Murray Takamoto (who in the comics is a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist and friend of Blue Beetle-Ted Kord). Flash’s “team” help him be The Flash much like Diggle and Felicity help Oliver Queen to be [Green] Arrow on Arrow. They train him to use his powers, help him find threats, and even create his suit for him.

At first I wasn't sure how to feel about this. It works for Green Arrow on Arrow, so I had to consider that, but does The Flash really need a “team”? Quite frankly the answer is “no”, but I think that Green & Guggenheim showed us that The Flash having a team, having people he can trust to help him, is actually pretty beneficial to the Scarlett Speedster as without them he would not have been able to A. control his powers, B. build a friction resistance speed suit, and C. solve the "cold" murders.

I've already talked about both Reverse-Flash and Captain Cold so I won’t discuss them again other than there are some wicked action sequences in this script that I am dying to see on screen.

The S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator (again, another plotline they took from here and put into Arrow, as seen in “Three Ghosts”) is a huge part of the story of The Flash. It doesn't give Barry his powers, that’s still lightning and chemicals, but it does use Barry’s powers in order to work. Thawne built this right after he arrived in this timeline so that once Barry became The Flash that he could use his connection to the Speed Force to power the Accelerator. The Accelerator does two things. First off it is a gateway between the timeline the film takes place in and the timeline Thawne is from (where Barry’s mother is still alive and Barry is married to Iris with two children), which is how Thawne would get back “home”. However, the other function of the Accelerator is that it will also destroy the timeline/universe that it’s located in in order to send Thawne back to his timeline. Meaning, that not only has Thawne killed Barry’s mother for revenge, but he’s also planning on killing the entire universe in which Barry resides. If you’re not a comic book reader, you’re probably really confused.

I like the idea of the Particle Accelerator. I think it's an interesting way to bring in both the Reverse-Flash and the idea of parallel universes/timelines to the DC Cinematic Universe. I also love that Guggenheim and Berlanti were passionate enough about the Particle Accelerator and their version of Barry’s origin to include them with Barry Allen's appearances on Arrow. If The Flash film follows the same continuity/universe as Arrow does (something many people, including Stephen Amell and myself, want), it would be very cool for a Flash film to expand on what we only got a taste of on Arrow. On that note, whenever I read Barry's lines I was picturing Grant Gustin in my head, he works so well.

But moving back to the Particle Accelerator and that plotline, I'm worried that the general audience would become lost in the whole alternate timeline thing. I think us comic book/superhero fans would be fine and would enjoy it like nobody's business, I know I would, but I'm not sure the general audience would follow, which is extremely sad to me. I still think it's a great idea and I would not want them to change it, but it just worries me how people who don’t read the comics or know the Flash mythos would react.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about this script was the inclusion of Jay Garrick. No, no, Jay is not actually in the film as a character, but he is included as an inspiration. Jay Garrick aka The Flash was a comic book character that Barry read about as a kid and is actually who inspired him to take the mantle of The Flash in this film, which is not only very clever, but very Barry Allen.

Finally, the last scene of the film (which is in fact an after-credits scene you can view HERE) includes Green Lantern Hal Jordan meeting The Flash basically telling him that he did a good job, though all he says is “Lightspeed. Not bad.” I can only assume that they would bring Ryan Reynolds back as Green Lantern for this, which I think would be amazing. It’s a very nice way to show the audience that not only do The Flash and Green Lantern share the same universe, but that DC and Warner Bros. are working towards Justice League. This was a great way to do an after-credits scene; short, sweet, and to the point.

As I hope you can tell, I really enjoyed the script for The Flash and I hope that even if a Flash film never happens (this one specifically) that The Flash TV series currently in development for the CW as well as the current comics will take elements from this script and continue to use them. With the character of Thawne being a detective with a mysterious past in the upcoming CW series, I almost wonder if he’ll be like the version of the character we see here, who simply just wants to take everything from Barry, or will he grow to hate the Fastest Man Alive? Will Barry have his own team just like in this script? Will Iris be involved with someone else before she’s with Barry?

I don’t know the answers to these questions and I don’t pretend to. Either way, I really hope that what is in this script is used by Warner Brothers in some way to get The Flash out there to the general public because not only is this script mostly brilliant (you know, besides Captain Cold….), but it’s also extremely entertaining. I was only originally going to read the first half script yesterday (Sunday at the time I’m writing this), but I ended up reading the whole thing as I could not put it down.

If anyone from Warner Brothers happens to be reading this (which I doubt but you never know), I highly encourage you to get this film off the ground as soon as possible without rushing it. The Flash has a lot of potential and fans around the world would rejoice. Thanks for reading everyone!

Michael J. Petty

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Senior Editorial Editor on SMN, I also work as an Administrator on Across the Airwaves Productions and as a Staff Writer on the Superman Homepage. I enjoy movies, comics, television, music, and long walks on the beach. Just because he's on the side of the angels, don't think for one second that he's one of them.