An Outsider’s Review of Suicide Squad

An Outsider’s Review of Suicide Squad

The characters carry this otherwise clumsy comic book film.

I don’t know much about DC comics and its characters. I’ve seen a few Batman movies, and Tumblr’s introduced me to Harley Quinn, but aside from that I walked into the movie theatre to watch “Suicide Squad” as a total outsider. I walked out again both impressed and unimpressed.

Let’s start with what left me unimpressed. The story’s a mess. The writers don’t know how to naturally deliver exposition. The first ten minutes are a video-game manual's introduction to the Squad, explicitly telling us what we should think about everyone as well as who is important enough to survive the first half of the film. I spent too much of the film wondering why anyone was doing what they were doing – not in an “I don’t have the canon context” way, but a “That literally makes no sense” way. The film’s two big reveals are poorly executed. One (who the Squad was sent to protect) is interesting but doesn’t give the viewer any time to think about it. The other (what the Squad is fighting) is “explained” using flashbacks of footage already used in the film and so tells us nothing that the characters and audience didn’t already know.

What was impressive was how quickly and completely “Suicide Squad” made me care about its characters. Though I had no nostalgia for these villains to make me root for them, before the first hour was through, I liked the Squad and wanted them to find a happy ending. Harley Quinn’s (Margot Robbie) wisecracking optimism in the face of abusive prison guards snatched my admiration and sympathy just as much as Deadshot’s (Will Smith) unashamed concern for his daughter. El Diablo’s (Jay Hernandez) emphatic reluctance to use his powers engaged me long before he finally explained why. Even Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who mostly stands around looking grim, won my heart with a couple one-liners that I shouldn’t spoil.

I could gush forever about the delightfully despicable Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). It’s rare to have a woman step onscreen as the toughest, baddest boss around, without any explanation of what “made” her that way. She just is that tough boss, and everyone accepts her as such, and she is never unseated from that role.

If you like Cara Delevingne, you’re in luck; her eerie Enchantress gets more than enough screen time to establish herself as the most villainous character in a film full of villains (yes, including Jared Leto’s Joker). Karen Fukuhara’s Katana, on the other hand, is criminally underutilized, getting little more than a backstory flashback and a few fights. I hope her role in this film was an introduction to a later, greater study of her character in the spin-off films that she and most of the cast deserve. Is DC attempting a “reverse” version of the Avengers franchise, creating the “team” movie before the individual character-based films? Only time and box office results will tell.

I’d recommend this film to anyone interested in DC villains, excessive amounts of violence without a single drop of blood spilled, and, surprisingly, a moral. “Suicide Squad” champions a variant on the standard “be yourself” message: you can’t change who you are or what you’ve done, so you might as well own it and be the best version of what you are that you can be. I half expected the Squad to start reciting the Bad-Anon affirmation from Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” at the climax, but while Marvel movies can get away with characters whistling “It’s a Small World” these days, Disney doesn’t own DC. Yet.

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.

Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

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30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?


With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.

We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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