DC UNIVERSE — With the beginning of the school year staring families in the face, kids might be asking parents for one last cinematic hurrah.
If you can hold-off a week, well, “Pete’s Dragon” is in the wings and that should be a relatively safe adventure. For families with superhero fans, however, waiting seven more days just isn’t going to cut it. This is “Suicide Squad” weekend, and no woods-dwelling kid with an invisible dragon will be carrot enough to detract from a team of Batman’s B-list baddies.
If you find yourself wondering if “Suicide Squad’s” darker tone might be too dark for your favorite youngling, we think our 10,000-foot-view, spoiler-free, content overview might be helpful.
Also, if you’re looking to know if the movie is even worth seeing in the first place, check out Johnny P. Clyde’s full review.
Like always, let’s talk about the content:
I was actually expecting profanity to be one of the biggest offenders on this list of questionable content, but surprisingly, the bad guys in “Suicide Squad” are pretty well-mannered when it comes to vocabulary. Don’t get me wrong, there is some schoolyard language thrown around throughout, but as far as — what we’ll call — R-rated-words go, they’re nowhere to be found.
Mostly, you’ll just find the Squad insulting each other in mean ways and you’ll also hear the poop word a few times. Am I allowed to say poop? Regardless, as a stand-alone category, “Sucide Squad” probably would’ve scored a PG rating, but as it goes, we have more to discuss.
Despite what some of the trailers have might have suggested, sexiness isn’t a big player in this summer blockbuster — at least as far as this category traditionally goes. There is plenty of immodesty and it’s possible you see more of a man’s backside then you’ll feel comfortable with, but if you’ve noticed the marketing for the film you should have a pretty good handle on what to expect when it comes to costuming.
There is another element to this category however, that can’t go ignored, and that’s the relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker.
On a personal note, I’m a huge fan of both characters, and I think the creative direction was appropriate for the story. As a parent, however, let me just say, be prepared to talk about this category on the drive home. You probably won’t get any questions on the birds and the bees after the closing credits, but on the subject of healthy relationships, this is one you’ll want to cover.
For me, the real question on this topic is imagery. There’s no version of a movie called “Suicide Squad” that involves hand-holding and bake sales. If you’ve purchased a ticket, you know there’s going to be a significant body count before the story wraps. The question then, is what kind of violence is director David Ayer pushing?
For the most part, “Suicide Squad” is very careful with its portrayal of bloodshed. Most of the villains crossing the line of fire are half-human voodoo aliens, so realistic carnage is minimal. In fact, a great deal of the movie feels like a ’T’ rated first-person-shooter video game.
Still, there are some death sequences that, while not shown explicitly, could be troubling to audiences of any age. One scene, probably the grossest scene, for example involves a character’s head exploding. Sure, the moment is strategically shot to hide any disgusting visuals, but it’s also meant to be shocking.
In short, while you’re not going to see blood splatter a wall or a have the camera focus on an explicit battle wound, there is still enough on-screen hacking, shooting and gnawing to make this a category worthy of parental consideration.
In addition to the three above categories, there’s a darkness to “Suicide Squad” that is usually reserved for older audiences. Character backstories include tragic details, and again, the relationship between Harley and Mr. J comes with a variety pack of adult topics.
Left to the usual categories we cover in our parental overviews, I think the PG-13 rating is pretty spot-on. That said, because of many of the story’s heavier themes I’d give a general age recommendation of 14, with the always-caveat that age is a terrible indicator of maturity. If you don’t believe me, just remember at this moment there’s a 12-year-old currently expanding Einstein’s theory of relativity, while I’m about to pour myself another bowl of Cookie Crisp.
Follow Travis on Twitter @tspoppleton.