Contemplating “Suicide Squad”

Posted on: 08/18/16 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Suicide-squad“Outside you’re amazing, but inside you’re ugly.”

“We all are.” (Harley Quinn, Suicide Squad)

Imperfection isn’t anything to celebrate. But awareness of your own flaws is a step in the right direction.

That’s probably why I enjoyed DC Film’s Suicide Squad so much. It’s the story of a band of notorious criminals given a second chance to use their strengths to do good, and in the process, they discover a sense of comradery and purpose. It’s a story of redemption.

Don’t get me wrong. This movie is far from an afterschool special you’d show your kids (although today’s parents seemed to miss that memo—the theatre was packed with kids). Like most Hollywood heroes today, the characters are gritty and flawed. At times the movie seemed to celebrate that fact.

Rick Flagg: Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people?

Harley Quinn: We’re bad guys, it’s what we do.

But do they stay that way?

I don’t want to give any spoilers, so you’ll have to discover that for yourself. But let me just say: even though I was a little worried where the story was going at the beginning, the film offered some redeeming characters.

Imperfect characters? Definitely. But redeeming.

But I can’t help but wonder what young people will glean from the film? Bad is good? Good is bad? Bad can be good, but still a little bad?

Is everyone redeemable? (That wouldn’t be so bad if they left the theater asking that question!)

Many of you saw my Tweet as I was exiting the theatre:

Jonathan McKee Tweet

The storyline isn’t anything new. In the 1960’s we had The Magnificent Seven (you’ll see the remake this year), in 1981 we had Escape from New York, and just a couple years ago in 2014 we had Guardians of the Galaxy… in each of these films bad guys are given a chance to do good, and the experience seems to somehow redeem them (well, maybe not Snake Plissken).

Like Guardians of the Galaxy, Suicide Squad reoccurringly visited the idea of friends becoming “family.” In a world so familiar with broken homes, many find comfort in the idea of having comrades who are there for you when you need them. We’re seeing this theme in numerous popular shows today (The Walking Dead).

And that’s what’s so intriguing. In a world where immorality seems to almost be celebrated, a handful of very popular movies and shows choose to wrestle with issues of morality… which is probably why I like The Walking Dead so much (and have written Biblical discussion guides for each and every episode of the popular series).

Suicide Squad wades into the waters of situational ethics, and offers some very discussable moments, like the scene where the Joker (played by Jared Leto) asks Harley (played by Margot Robbie)…

The Joker: Question! Would you die for me?

Harley Quinn: Yes.

The Joker: That’s too easy. Would you… would you live for me?

Definitely a film that will provoke some water cooler conversations. After all, everybody is seeing it. Suicide Squad is booming at the box office, holding the No. 1 spot at the box office three weeks in a row.

And the soundtrack is incredible. In fact, the film ends with Twenty One Pilots song, Heathens, a song which rose immediately to No. 1 on the rock charts (and which will be featured on our music discussions page– with small group questions- in the next few days). A glimpse of those lyrics:

All my friends are heathens. Take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know…


So what about you? Did you see Suicide Squad? What did you take away from the film? Thoughts?

2 Replies to “Contemplating “Suicide Squad””

  1. Hi Jonathan. Not sure if I will see this movie in the theater but after reading your thoughts I just might. I know a lot of my teens certainly have/will see it. I love the short little dialog you posted between Joker and Harley Quinn. It can be easy to die for somebody compared to living for them…isn’t that what Jesus is looking for…for people to live for him?

    1. Thanks Roger… yes… I really thought that dialogue was good. I think you’ll enjoy the film even thought it’s gritty and a little irresponsible at times.

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