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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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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