Stop me if you've heard this story before: A diverse, ragtag group of misfits set aside their differences and put their lives on the line to fight a common evil and save countless innocent lives in the process.
This plot synopsis describes not one, but three different blockbuster movies that were released in 2016. While each one has a different set of characters and themes, they all followed the same basic premise and share more similarities than one might imagine.
Here's a status report of the three cinematic suicide missions that took place in 2016, and how well each of them worked.
- X Marks The Spot: 'Rogue One' Contains Unused Footage From 'A New Hope,' Did You Notice It?
- Here's How 'Star Wars: Rogue One' Managed To Create That Final Scene
- Meet The 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Characters
Below are major SPOILERS for Suicide Squad, The Magnificent Seven and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
3. Suicide Squad
- Directed By: David Ayer
- Box Office: $745,600,054
- Casualty Rate: 25% (2 out of 8)
#SuicideSquad introduced DC Comics' infamous government-sanctioned black-ops team Task Force X to the DC Extended Universe (#DCEU). The team is sent to Midway City to take out a powerful meta-human who threatens to destroy the world.
The Good: Despite being a group of relatively unknown #DCComics villains, these colorful convicts-turned-heroes made the most of their time by just enjoying themselves. For some, they were the only bright spots in an incomplete mess that got a questionable extended cut on Blu-ray.
The Bad: Task Force X took some time to turn into an effective fighting unit. To get there, they went through a lot of juvenile bickering instead of actual bonding. Though each member had a unique fighting style, these skills were barely showcased with most only being spotlighted for contrived moments in the plot - Slipknot (Adam Beach) being the most infamous example.
The Ugly: Outside of their memorable looks, there isn't much that makes the members of Task Force X stand out and even less character development that occurs in the film. The film was a wasted chance to tell compelling origin stories for obscure yet interesting characters who deserved a lot better.
The Weird: No one will know why the government thought that a group of mercenaries, meta-humans and psychopaths would be a good way to combat an ancient, supernatural demigod.
Check out the trailer for Suicide Squad below.
2. The Magnificent Seven
- Directed By: Antoine Fuqua
- Box Office: $161,098,826
- Casualty Rate: 57% (4 out of 7)
Antoine Fuqua's #MagnificentSeven is a re-imagining of the classic cowboy movie of the same name. It also happens to be the third official retelling of Akira Kurosawa's legendary Seven Samurai. Here, seven gunslingers become unlikely saviors when they defend a town being besieged by a ruthless industrialist.
The Good: The new Magnificent Seven are a badass group of gunslingers fit for a modern audience. They're also willing to sacrifice their lives for people they barely know, making them the best kind of heroes in any story.
The Bad: Sam Chisholm's (Denzel Washington) true motive for taking the fight to Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) paints his actions in another light. Sam's revenge against Bogue is justified, but he comes out as the least selfless member of the Seven since it's implied that he wouldn't have helped the town if not for the promise of vengeance.
The Ugly: There are two superior versions of this team-up available on home video. Though far from a bad team, the new Seven pales in comparison when compared to those who came before them.
The Weird: It's a wonder how people with supposedly irreconcilable differences put aside their long-held hate in the span of a single scene. An example of this is the friendship between the exiled Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) and Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio) - who once hunted Native Americans for a living.
Check out the trailer for The Magnificent Seven below.
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- Directed By: Gareth Edwards
- Box Office (As Of December 19, 2016): $155,000,000
- Casualty Rate: 120% (The main cast and then some.)
Set between Star Wars: Episode III - The Revenge Of The Sith and the original Star Wars (aka Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story follows the unsung heroes of the Galactic Civil War. The ordinary people who make up Rogue One risk their lives to steal the plans for the Empire's new super-weapon: The Death Star.
The Good: True to their chosen call-sign, Rogue One goes rogue to fight the good fight, no matter whose toes they step on. By the end of their first cinematic appearance, the rebellious team made the ultimate sacrifice to give the Resistance what it needed most: hope.
The Bad: Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) takes a while to warm-up to the other members of Rogue One and doesn't tell them important information until it's too late. Though this is understandable when his harsh life as a rebel is taken into consideration, his secrecy almost caused an emotional divide and distrust in the small rebel group's ranks.
The Ugly: Given the brutal nature of war, members of Rogue One and the Resistance as a whole were forced to do morally questionable acts for the cause. Even if this moral dilemma is not given much focus in the movie, it's easy to guess that many of the rebels are haunted by these sins.
The Weird: That impressive yet creepy digitally resurrected Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing).
Check out the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story below.
When it comes to heroics and the impact these actions had, Rogue One is the team to beat. Meanwhile, the new Magnificent Seven made a name for themselves as this year's underdogs, while Task Force X was the team with the largest amount of wasted potential.
Aside from promising to kill a significant number of their respective cast of characters, these movies also share a similar message of sacrifice and what truly defines heroism. While one movie may have been more successful than the others, it's an interesting coincidence to have three different stories about unlikely heroes facing insurmountable odds in a fight for the greater good.
Given the trying times the world seems to be facing at the moment and the growing sense of uncertainty, these movies couldn't have come at a better time.