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Review: ‘Suicide Squad’ – What parents should know

The latest comic-book superhero (sort of) adaptation to his theaters is “Suicide Squad,” which assembles some lesser-known DC Comics villains as a crime-fighting team.

While some parents will be put off by the name alone, others might be attracted to this movie because of its association with comic books. The key to remember here is that this team is made up of bad guys who cuss, kill people, and do an assortment of other bad things.

Following the events of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the world is still reeling from the death of Superman when Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), a CIA operative, proposes organizing a squad of imprisoned super villains to fight forces the military is unable to defeat on its own. Thanks to help from superheroes like Batman and The Flash, she’s imprisoned villains such as Deadshot (played by Will Smith), an assassin who never misses his target, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the sadistic girlfriend of The Joker (played by Jared Leto), and others with meta-human abilities. After injecting explosive devices in their necks, she gives them a choice — fight or die, and if they fight, they should be prepared to go on suicide missions they can’t survive. However, if they survive, they’ll receive clemency. The squad is called in for its first mission when one of Waller’s subjects — The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), an ancient goddess with mystical powers — escapes and sets in motion a plan to destroy humanity.

The first thing parents should know is that “Suicide Squad” is rated PG-13 for “sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, and suggestive content and language.” There is some mild profanity throughout the movie, including in songs that play over certain scenes. There are also some sexual innuendo and situations, such as when Harley Quinn is shown pole dancing in a nightclub suggestively.  She and The Enchantress also wear very revealing outfits throughout.

Mostly, this movie is very violent from beginning to end. There is lots of gunfire and sword fighting, with many people killed. There are explosions that cause buildings to collapse and aircraft to crash. The Joker is depicted as deranged and violent, and a character named Killer Croc resembles a human crocodile and might frighten young children. People are threatened with death, and there's lots of mentions of dying.

Overall, “Suicide Squad” is pretty dark in tone and might scare young and sensitive kids, so I encourage parents to adhere to the rating.

Parents will either hate or love the simplistic story — seriously, the plot is very basic — and colorful characters. Smith does a great job as the film’s lead, but I felt others, such as Robbie and Leto, were trying too hard to be over-the-top as their characters.  It’s also very music heavy, with songs playing over almost every scene in the movie.

Not a terrible movie, and not a great movie by my standards, it’s entertaining enough for families with older kids to try. Stay mid-way through the credits for a special scene featuring Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne.

“Suicide Squad” is now playing in theaters.