Look, I get it: it's hard being a parent. You have to sacrifice a lot of the fun things you love to be a good one, and that includes watching the latest violent blockbuster movie you've been waiting all year for on the big screen. While I don't know what it's like to have kids of my own, believe me, I am sympathetic to your plight. But please, for the love of god: don't take your four-year-old to see Suicide Squad this weekend.
First of all, it's called Suicide Squad. Second of all, the superheroes in the movie aren't superheroes in the traditional sense. This is not Captain America or Spider-Man or even Batman (though the Caped Crusader does make an appearance). This is a film focused on violent supervillains (okay, anti-heroes) who have done very bad things, released by the government to execute black ops missions in exchange for leniency. One of them, Deadshot (Will Smith), is a hired assassin who has killed hundreds of people. Another, a cannibalistic sewer-dweller named Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), is just straight-up scary looking. Most of them use high-powered weapons to kill their enemies. And the majority of them, including Margot Robbie's white-faced Harley Quinn, take a fair amount of glee in doing so.
Director David Ayer makes some effort to humanize them, sure. Deadshot has a young daughter who he yearns to be close to. Even Harley's romance with Jared Leto's metal-toothed Joker (definite nightmare material) has an underlying sweetness to it (I guess). But they are not good role models for your toddler, and they will most likely frighten all but the hardiest of young children. Do not let the film's unfathomably-lenient PG-13 rating fool you (an issue I'll cover in another post).
I bring all of this up because last night, at an advance screening of the DC Comics blockbuster, I was startled to discover that the young couple behind me brought their very young son, who was maybe five, to see this movie. And frankly? I couldn't think of much of anything else but his well-being over the film's 2 hour and 10 minute running time. Not to mention that on no fewer than three occasions, Dad was forced to exit the theater with the child when he began whimpering. I can't say for certain whether he was whimpering because he was scared or whether he was whimpering because he was bored/hungry/tired, but this I am sure of: this kid shouldn't have been in a movie theater watching Suicide Squad, a film where hundreds of human/humanoid characters are massacred with machine guns and one whose tone can best be described as “gleeful anarchy.”
Again, I don't have kids! I don't know what it's like. Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of each individual parent to decide whether Suicide Squad is right for his or her child, and some children are admittedly more sensitive than others to onscreen violence. Past a certain age, there are no hard and fast rules. But to anyone considering whether to bring their very young child to see this movie, I beg you: don't. If not for them, then for the poor sucker in the row in front of you whose enjoyment of the film will inevitably be affected by the presence of your mortified preschooler. Deal?