Green Arrow & the Outsiders (Green Arrow fronted team, gathering together a lot of legacy characters like Kyle Rayner, otherwise a generally more street-level team); Black Canary will end up in this orbit, eventually, though maybe she splits her time with the Birds of Prey. Nightwing. We can add more, depending on exactly how big we want the fireworks at the end of this movie to be, but we might be better off adding them in the sequels, instead: Tempest. Donna Troy. Wally West. Plastic Man. Kyle Rayner. Black Lightning.
Opening montage, Oliver Queen partying hard as a wealthy d-bag as he narrates, with a Bruce Wayne cameo, spilling drinks on Oliver. “I grew up with more money than I knew what to do with. Literally. I burned through money so fast even Bruce Wayne once told me to slow up; he was four martinis deep- so he was one to talk. The only thing I ever earned for myself was this.” Cut to a young Ollie, hitting a target with a bow. Cut again, he’s at the Olympics as a young man, drawing back. “My parents paid to have me taught self-defense; if they’d been as interested in self-preservation they’d have gone into rehab- instead of into the Pacific Ocean.” Quicker cuts, as Oliver spars in a martial arts outfit, and we see his parents’ car go over a cliff, tumbling towards the Ocean. “I slid seamlessly into their lives,” we see him in a suit attending meetings, drinking too much at social gatherings, generally being a feckless socialite.
“Then my life changed.” He gets mugged by a teen, obviously living on the street. She’s going to be his Speedy, eventually. He reacts on instinct, bloodying her and getting the knife away, knocking her into the light enough to realize, “She was a kid, so desperate for a meal that she attacked someone bigger, stronger, better connected. I gave her my wallet. I gave her my keys. She offered to give me a ride home.”
Back at his apartment. “I won’t sleep with you,” she says, anxious.
“I think you misunderstand me.”
“I have HIV.”
“God,” he whispers, and moves to comfort her. Narrating again: “I got her the help she needed. Meds. A place of her own. And a job.” We cut to his work, where she’s interning (paid). But he can’t focus- he’s daydreaming. (insert statistics on homelessness, poverty, etc.). “I left Queen Industries shortly thereafter. I couldn’t keep trying to amass more wealth, when I knew how many people were struggling just to put food on their tables, or afford the meds they need to survive. I plowed most of my fortune into charity, only to find that a lot of charities are run like a business- by which I mean corrupt. Half the ‘charities’ the wealthy ran were just glorified slush funds to buy politicians to advance their interests, the worst run by a real estate developer with mob connections named Mandragora.” I haven’t figured out the mechanism, but Mandragora’s ‘charity’ stands in the way of some work Queen wants to do, or maybe steals money from one of his charities, something that puts them on a collision course.
This version of Mandragora is going to riff on Trump, while also giving us a logical reason to loop in both Huntress and Black Canary (accompanying an out of her depth Huntress); Question has discovered that he was the power behind the hit on her family- or maybe he was their inside man who set her family up to take the fall, whatever fits. Ollie confronts Mandragora, assuming he can talk sense to him, man to man. Instead Mandragora kicks the crap out of him, and throws him out on the street, where he’s found by Black Canary and Huntress. “You should see the other guy,” he says, as they help him to his feet.
“From the look of you, I’d say the other guy was 97 flights of stairs,” Canary says.
“No such luck, I’m afraid. Would you ladies be so kind as to help me to my” he sighs, “right, I didn’t drive here.”
“How about we help you to a seat, and you can wait for a car, there?” Canary asks, gesturing to a diner down the street.
They eat, and talk, with Canary subtly interrogating him (and Huntress not-so-subtly interrogating him because she is adorably socially awkward). Ollie is entranced by Canary, and I think I want to set up a pattern of him asking her to go out with him, and her rebuffing him, because at a glance he’s a soft, entitled oligarch. “You should get a bite to eat with me, sometime.”
“Isn’t that what we’re doing?” Huntress asks.
Suddenly Dick Grayson slides into the booth beside him, and flashes a wide grin. He’s friendly, breezy, effortless. “Don’t worry about introductions. We all have a stake in dealing with Mandragora.”
Canary responds: “I don’t know what you’re”
The camera pans around the table on Ollie, Huntress and finally Canary. “He defrauded your charity. Betrayed your family, which lead to their execution, and I don’t know if you know this yet, but he sold the information that got your mother, the first Black Canary, killed.”
Canary gets up, fast, angry, ready to belt him. He stands, too, his body language saying nonconfrontational, but subtly preparing to handle a fight as he puts up his hands. “Just the messenger. Please, sit.” They do. “Mandragora is not what he seems. If he were just some two-bit hood, even one with some degree of superhuman ability, then any one of us could take him. Except Ollie.”
“Hey,” Olliver protests, before realizing that the protest hurts his bruised face.
“I would have given you the benefit of the doubt, but you can’t even protest without pain. But the reason Mandragora’s been successful is two-fold. One, he’s been using low-level supercriminals as enforcers. That’s not that uncommon, but where he’s innovated, is he doesn’t leave any evidence behind. No witnesses, nothing. You three are, sadly, just some of his latest victims. I’d like to make sure you’re some of his last.”
“Then you just have to get me close enough to take a shot,” Huntress says, her hand tightening around her crossbow.
Nightwing puts up a finger. “No killing.”
“Why not?” Canary asks.
“On the one hand, it’s a slippery slope, where vigilantes justify to themselves increasingly extreme methods of execution, until inevitably they become as bad as the villains they sought to counter.”
“And on the other,” Ollie interrupts, “he knows where all the money’s gone. He’s been preying on charities for decades. We can get that money back, and to the people who really need it.”
Nightwing points a thumb towards him in agreement. “He also knows where the bodies are. I don’t think I have to tell anyone at this table what that kind of closure is worth.”
They arrive at Nightwing’s lair, where he introduces the other member of the team. “Some of us have personal reasons to be in this fight, Black Lightning’s neighborhood was decimated by the gentrification Mangragora pushed with bribes,” he squeezes Black Lightning’s shoulder. “I trust all of you with my life. And that’s what this is. Mandragora doesn’t take prisoners. He doesn’t leave witnesses. We win, or they never find the beautiful corpses we leave behind. If anyone has any reservations, now’s the time to sort them out.”
Nightwing heads for the door. “Where are you going?” Huntress asks, grabbing his arm.
“I want to give people some time to think, without me pressuring them. I want to swing by Mandragora’s safe house one last time, make sure he hasn’t made any last-minute changes to his security. I’ll be right back. Don’t worry.” He exits. She waits a moment, before slipping off after him.
We follow Nightwing, swinging across the rooftops. The city is his trapeze. Subtly, Huntress is following from below, maybe on her bike. NIghtwing lands gracefully on a rooftop opposite Mandragora’s place, and checks it out through binoculars. He hears noise behind him, and Huntress steps out of the shadow. “You followed me. You shouldn’t have.” She doesn’t speak, doesn’t make eye contact, but continues towards him. “Look, I know I have magnetic charisma, but I haven’t showered in about 36 hours, and could really use the personal space.” Huntress’ face is wrong, shifting subtly as she closes in on him. “You aren’t Helena,” he says, as she turns to a puddle of clay crashing against him like a wave. The real Huntress, watching from a neighboring rooftop, flees.
She’s winded by the time she gets back to the safehouse. “They caught Nightwing. If we have any hope of saving him, we have to go. Now.”
“I don’t think the plan was just to rush them,” Black Lightning complains.
“Yeah, all due respect to Night Wing, was it, but I didn’t sign up for a suicide mission,” Canary says.
The merry band is disbanding, until Oliver says, “Wait. We’re all Outsiders, which isn’t a position that comes naturally to me. But I gave up most of my wealth, most of my access, and a lot of my privilege. People like Mandragora corrupt the system, so that change and reform aren’t just difficult- they’re impossible. If we want to fix things- and we’re here because we’ve all seen what happens with a system this broken and corrupt- we have to do it from the outside. This is our chance to fix something broken- maybe even some of the things broken inside of us. I’m going to help Nightwing. I don’t think I can do it alone, but I’m going.”
“Yeah,” Huntress says. “Us medieval weapon users have to stick together.”
“You’re my ride,” Canary says, annoyed. “She’s my ride,” she repeats, to Black Lightning, sighing heavily. “Guess I’m coming with.”
“Hell,” Black Lightning says, “compared to the rest of you I’m Superman. Can’t exactly chicken out, now.”
The Outsiders take on a handful of second string henchers, and Clayface. Oliver sneaks away and finds Nightwing in Mandragora’s room, a little beaten up, but on his feet. We’ll be cutting back and forth between both fights for the climax, with Canary’s cry and BL’s L enough to make Clayface run away. Ollie gets his bow knocked away at the start of the fight.
“I half expected to find you here chained up in a Leia bikini,” Oliver says.
“Expected, or hoped?” Nightwing asks.
“I knew I should have left you here to die.”
The pair of them, already beaten pretty badly, take on Mandragora together, eventually overcoming him in a brutal, Old Boy-esque battle of attrition, with Ollie finally getting his bow back. This is when Mandragora starts monologuing. Obviously, Mandragora had a hand in killing the Queens, too, after defrauding their charity. This comes out at a pivotal moment, as Mandragora, looking to extract a small victory, goads Ollie. Who shoots him off screen. And again. And again.
“Jesus!” Nightwing yells.
“He’ll live,” Ollie says. We show enough to see that he’s been sticking arrows in limbs, but nothing vital yet. “If we get him to a doctor fast enough. Might walk with a limp. And those injuries are going to hurt. All but guaranteed to lead to arthritis.”
“Shut up, boy scout. He’s hurt a lot of people. Justice means he doesn’t walk away from that without hurting himself.”
“I wasn’t going to lecture you, just… we should hurry, so he doesn’t bleed out.”
“Right.” Ollie spins, firing another arrow. This one slices through the string on Huntress’ crossbow.
“Oh, come on, man,” she says. “You have any idea how hard it is to restring a crossbow?” She drops the bow, running towards Mandragora while producing a knife. Olliver intercepts her. “He took everything from me,” she rages, trying to break free.
“No,” he says, rolling her onto her back. “He didn’t. He can’t. Because you still get to decide who you’re going to be- whether or not you let him turn you into someone monstrous.”
“Yeah, well, I decide to stab him in his heart,” she says, standing with the knife. He rolls her onto her back again.
“Not today. Today is about more than your vengeance.” She stands up again, shoulder checking him, and throws the knife into the his boot, sticking him to the floor, before leaving angrily.
“Miss the toes?” Nightwing asks.
“Mostly? My sock is wet, so not a clean miss.”
“That was a brave, if stupid thing,” Canary says. “Ask me again.”
“You want to get dinner sometime?”
“Maybe,” she says, and slinks out.
“I hate to interrupt,” Nightwing says. “But you do realize we have to carry him out of here, right?”
“We can barely stand,” he protests.
“Don’t tell me. I wasn’t the guy who chose to shoot him in the legs.”
“I have more arrows. We could put one in each eye. Then we wouldn’t have to carry him anywhere.”
“Huntress would be so angry with you. Remember, lift with your legs.” They get him up, and Mandragora removes the arrow from his arm and tries to stab Nightwing with it. He drops Mandragora on Oliver while he wrestles for control off the arrow, eventually plunging it into Mandragora’s last uninjured limb, which goes limp.
“Little help?” Oliver asks from beneath Mandragora.
“Jeez… I think I’m going to have to wait for the paramedics.”
Credits. Mid-credits scene: A beaten Oliver is taking off his costume in his secret Arrow Lair. His intern walks in. Played a bit comedically, it seems like she’s now interested in sleeping with him- but what she’s actually interested in, which we find out when she gets hold of his bow and bullseyes his target, is learning from him.
More credits, and then a post-credits scene: Wally West and Donna Troy are talking with Nightwing.
“So like the Titans?” Donna asks. For the uninitiated, this is Wonder Woman’s one-time sidekick.
“But we’re not teenagers,” Wally says, devouring his food and whipping through to the buffet for seconds.
“We’re not calling ourselves Titans, either. I think the kids are doing something with the name.”
Wally burns through another plate, and gets thirds.
“Ah. That’s cute,” Donna says. Then she turns to Wally. “We all know you just keep getting more so you can blow that poor girl’s skirt up.”
“Hey, I burn calories same as you- I just do it several hundred times faster. If a Flash doesn’t carbo-load pretty much constantly we waste away. It isn’t pretty.”
“I’m pretty sure she was just teasing you,” Nightwing says.
“You know, for one of the fastest men alive, Wally, you really are slow,” she teases.
“But there is one thing you should know. There’s this guy. Who seems to think he’s in charge. Dresses like Robin Hood. Uses a bow. It’s adorable.”
“And you want us to humor him?” Donna surmises.
“He is fronting the money for the team. Well, most of it.”
“What is it with you and soothing the ego of underachieving billionaires?” she asks.
“Wait. What rich dude do you humor? Does Dick know somebody famous?”
She sighs. “You really are slow, Wally.”