I got around to watching Suicide Squad the other day. Isaac wrote about it once, but he hadn’t seen it. He considered the question of bad people doing good things, like the armies who punished Israel or Pirates of the Caribbean. I found another application.
Let’s talk about Amanda Waller. She thinks she can manipulate exceptionally talented criminals to be anti-heroes. From that description, Waller could just be a misguided government agent. Why is she so obviously a villain for comic book fans, even casual ones like me? The answer is a little complicated.
It’s commonly understood, particularly in superhero movies, that people fear what they don’t understand. The mean people with superpowers can use that fear to rule the world. The people without powers with not-so-nice agendas can use that fear to enact crazy plans. Lex Luthor does that in Batfleck vs Superman because he hates Superman (for various reasons, including insanity). Suicide Squad doesn’t suggest that Waller hates or fears metahumans; initially I thought she was preying on the fears of the rest of the government. But that’s not what she does, either.
Why doesn’t Waller use her connections to help Batman put together his dream team (besides the fact that that plot would be too much like the Avengers)? Easy. She uses criminals because she can control them. At least, she thinks she can. She can certainly control them better than she could control the other superheroes. While she maintains control of them she can take advantage of their superpowers. That’s the basic plot of the movie in more ways than one.
Human nature wants control. Fear is our usual method of achieving safety, which is control of our immediate surroundings. But when we pursue greater control, we tend to do things that make us “villainous.”
This reminds me of Jessica Jones. In Marvel’s second Defenders series, David Tennant plays Kilgrave, a man who can control people just by speaking. It’s strongly suggested that he only becomes villainous because no one has said no to him since he was seven. This suggests that, due to human nature, anyone would be a villain if they got whatever they desired. Amanda Waller proves that you don’t need superpowers for that to happen.
Coming Soon: A New Series
I’m starting another class that requires blog activity. This one is geared toward persuasive writing, so this Friday I’ll be starting a new series of opinion pieces. I’ve written posts containing my opinion before, but now I’m going to try to focus on being critical when necessary and arguing my opinion well. I’d be open to suggestions if you’d like to hear what I think about anything in particular.