Sunday, August 14, 2016

Suicide Squad (2016) Rebellion vs. Redemption.

Titus 2:7 says, "And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching." (NLT)

Let me begin by saying that it is impossible to properly introduce nine characters in 123 minutes. It simply cannot be done.  It seems that the DC universe is trying so hard to catch up to Marvel's firmly established timeline that they're sprinted over many needed origin stories. Too many necessary scenes were written out or cut in favor of saving time.

Suicide Squad has been severely criticized for this very problem. Granted, this DC franchise intends to keep focus on the heroes of the Justice League, so how much focus can we expect on these anti-heroes? However, that should not suggest that Suicide Squad lacked in excitement, humor, and a firm lesson.

Suicide Squad is an illustration of the difference between two extreme ways to treat "bad people," and the two extreme results that follow. Abuse yields rebellion while respect yields redemption.

Government worker Amanda Waller recruits seven of the worst criminals in her custody to form a special task force. They would work for her in exchange for a sentence reduction. The concept bears potential to give them a chance of redemption. She claims, "getting people to act against their own self-interest is what I do for a living."

However, her approach is threatening, forceful, selfish, and unproductive. Their first mission in itself is an insult. When a super-natural force threatens to take over the world, they are recruited to extract Amanda. There are no plans to end the threat. These seven anti-villains are threatened, beaten, abused, verbally discouraged, and undermined. They go to work only because death is the alternative.

Philippians 2:3 says, "Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves." (NLT)

Of course, the mission proves to be an impossible task that leads to failure and chaos driving everyone into an equal state of humility. In that moment, the squad faces the OPPORTUNITY to face the evil force and save the world from annihilation. This time, they make a free choice to save the world, and it is a selfless choice. Only then do they become an equal team. A whole team. A true team.

Granted, their actions cannot and do not grant them redemption, because redemption cannot be earned. However, in their selfless decision to save the world, they take the first step into redemption. The squad begins with seven angry and rebellious souls and ends with a variety of decisions ranging from no lesson learned to self-sacrifice and everything in between.

That is indeed a worth while lesson, despite any technical flaws with the film.

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