Suicide Squad was released a few weeks ago. It has been a hit with fans and panned by critics. Certain aspects were controversial, but overall, as a writer and comic book lover, I enjoyed the movie despite it’s plot and production problems. This post, however, isn’t to weigh in as a formal critique. Instead, I will explore why it has become so popular as it is rooted in the purpose of the Kingdom. I will try to avoid serious spoilers.
Suicide Squad began in the comics. As comics became darker with Frank Miller and Alan Moore and others through the 80’s. The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen proposed the realistic concept that our superheroes might not be as moral or pure as we may have thought. That influenced everything from Superman to Batman, especially in DC, where the heroes were more “heroic” even in their personal lives, although it did affect Marvel, as well.
By the 90’s, more adults were buying comics, and so the writing matured. The heroes turned darker and the villains were humanized. What if our heroes were to turn evil or get out of control? So the gubmint in the comics decides to form a team of villains they could control.
Hence, the Suicide Squad. When the movie was first announced, the comic fans were excited. We loved the idea when it came out, and since Harley Quinn became such a popular character, seeing her in the movies for the first time appealed to us.
Even though the critics have tried to destroy the movie, it continues to be popular. Why? And how does this connect to the Kingdom?
While the writing has matured over the last 30 years, superheroes are somewhat difficult to relate to. They have superpowers we don’t have … and they consistently use them for good. It is inspiring and cool, but we don’t fully relate to it.
What we do relate to is criminals who want to do better but seem stuck in a cycle of selfish behavior.
And we relate to the reality of a large institution that will use us only if it can control us.
So even though the movie was severely problematic, it was wildly popular.
These are disturbed and decadent individuals, but their dreams were simple and universal – time with a daughter, a stable marriage filled with love, the return of lost loved ones. Redemption.
And yet their whole life, including their individual choices, are obstacles to their dreams.
These are the people the world turns to when the impossible needs to happen. They are forced to accept, but that control does not last. It cannot.
The villains are ultimately given the choice. The government can no longer control them. They could leave if they choose and not fulfill the mission. But these villains and misfits decide to do good, of their own volition. For the good of others. To save the world, they learned to work together.
It reminds me of the Kingdom. We have all made mistakes, have regrets, and lose hope. If we are honest, we are all misfits and villains. But we want to be heroes in the story. We want to do what is good and right for the right reasons. We want a chance for redemption.
Through the transformation of Jesus in the Kingdom, God gives us all that chance. The invitation is open to everyone, whether we feel we are beyond redemption or not, whether we feel filled with the devil or not. God extends his love to all, inviting us to come and participate in the power and mission to save the world from evil.
And then we join in with other villains, or former villains, to work together for good, for a mission. I pray we all find that team in our lives.