‘Suicide Squad’ Blurs the Line To Good, Bad And Evil

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Shawn Akers

A scene from 'Suicide Squad'

One of the most anticipated superhero films in recent years, Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad unashamedly proclaims that it’s about the “Worst. Heroes. Ever.”

Based on characters from DC Comics, the anti-superhero film turns the superhero genre upside down with its bad versus evil premise.

The anti-superhero film, which had a hefty $175 million budget, won’t disappoint devoted fans with its jam-packed action and humor. But Christian parents will want to think twice with taking their preteens and younger children due to the movie’s extreme violence, scary occult scenes and prevalent profanity.

The film begins with ruthless U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), who wants to assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated super villains—hired assassin Deadshot (Will Smith); psychotic, ex-shrink Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), who is the girlfriend of the Joker (Jared Leto); prolific thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney); reptile-skinned mutant creature Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje); heavily tattooed, pyromaniac El Diablo (Jay Hernandez); and Slipknot (Adam Beach), who can “climb anything.”

The group is also joined by archeologist June Moon (Cara Delevingne), who has been possessed by an almost 7,000-year-old witch named Enchantress and ninja-like character Katana (Karen Fukuhara), who wields a magic samurai sword that stores the souls of all it has killed. Also making appearances with brief parts are Batman (Ben Affleck) and the Flash (Ezra Miller).

With her right hand man Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), who is June’s boyfriend, Waller wants the criminals–in exchange for reduced jail sentences— to defeat an enigmatic ancient entity, who wants to be worshiped by humans.

Waller believes the so-called Task Force X, a group of disparate, misfits with next to nothing to lose will do her bidding. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their inevitable failure, their defacto leader Deadshot rightly calls them the Suicide Squad. The ragtag team must then wrestle with die trying or decide if it’s every man for himself.

Despite an abundance of characters, there is a true chemistry on the screen, especially between Harley Quinn and the Joker, who surprisingly is featured in only about 25 minutes of the 123-minute film.

With elements of Guardians of the Galaxy and the original GhostbustersSuicide Squadfeatures a weak, convoluted plot about battling a demonic enemy.

Critics have slammed Suicide Squad with a 31% positive score on Rotten Tomatoes, so fans have tried to shut down the aggregate movie reviews site. Nevertheless, tracking suggests an opening weekend in the range of $115 million to $125 million, which is good enough to make it the largest August domestic release of all time—surpassing the surprise $94.3 million debut of Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014.

Coming on the heels of this year’s DC Comics Universe-launching Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeSuicide Squad seeks to overcome that film’s negative critical reception with more humor and the characters seem to be having fun.

Of strategically building the film with a slew of supervillains, director David Ayer has said: “It’s a bunch of bad guys with good hearts. I think there’s room for different versions of this superhero genre. It’s like the cowboy movie, which was Hollywood’s bread and butter for 70 years. We’re gonna continually find ways to reinvent this.” 

Ayer has mostly directed bloody and gory films, but Suicide Squad is a litter tamer with little blood than his other movies such as End of Watch. However, Suicide Squad drips a dark tone with creepy and disturbing images pushing that PG-13 rating to its absolute limits.

Suicide Squad could have easily been rated R, the rating of Deadpool–-which made box office history earlier this year with a record $134.2 million opening that was attributed to its vulgar humor and edgy approach to the superhero genre. The edgy approach to the genre means will likely push more families over the edge who want to enjoy superhero movies suitable for the younger set and not just mature audiences.

Content Watch: Suicide Squad is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language. God’s name is used in vain several times and El Diablo’s fire-spewing powers are called “a gift from the devil.” El Diablo also has a horrific back story about his family. One scene takes place in a strip club where Harley Quinn dances with another woman. Though they are shown intimately kissing, no lips appear to touch. Harley Quinn also wears short shorts throughout the movie, and the Joker refers to her as “the fire in my loins, the itch in my crotch.” Although the violence is mostly bloodless, there are several decapitations of humanoid beings, who are also shown sliced in half. Additionally, there are at least two scenes in which people are shot point blank in the head. One character who disobeys order has his head blown off by an internal explosive device. There are many scenes of prison torture of inmates. One character is possessed by a witch and many of the scenes where the character is invoked are frightening. Some characters are transformed from humans to faceless, zombie-like creatures. Several men attempt to assist a man who has had an attack, but he turns on his helpers and consumes them. There are numerous expletives from nearly start to finish. Numerous characters are seen drinking hard alcohol and red wine. {eoa}

Eric Tiansay is a freelance writer for Charismamag.com.

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