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The Suicide Squad: That ending explained at King Shark level

Here's how the 2021 Suicide Squad ends up, in words even a dimwitted shark might understand (spoilers, obvs).

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
3 min read
The Suicide Squad 2021
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The Suicide Squad 2021

Who's left standing when the dust settles at the end of The Suicide Squad?

Warner Bros.

The Suicide Squad, now in theaters and on HBO Max, is a raucous adventure filled with righteous action, glorious gore and a sick sense of humor. It builds to a truly bonkers ending (and a post-credits scene setting up a new Peacemaker TV series) which may have left you as dazed as the film's giant slow-witted King Shark, so here's all the details of the 2021 Suicide Squad jaw-dropping climax.

The 2021 Suicide Squad sequel/reboot is a scabrous, side-splitting and surprisingly smart supervillain romp, as I note in my CNET review. It's in theaters now (even if it isn't making a ton of money) and is available to stream on HBO Max until September 5. 


Inter-dimensional echinoderm Starro the Conqueror is found floating in space by American astronauts, and when the US government wants to study the creature, they hide it on the friendly South American island of Corto Maltese. Starro is  imprisoned in Jotunheim, a refuge for runaway Nazis after the Second World War that gets turned into an off-the-books black site. In a win-win deal, the Maltesian government disappears dissidents, journalists and political rivals into Jotunheim. And when they are absorbed into Starro's zombie army, the Thinker horrifically experiments on them.

Having been imprisoned for decades, it's no wonder Starro rips the Thinker limb from limb and goes on a rampage at the end of the film. Corto Maltesian dictator General Suarez just has time to see his army wiped out before he too is splatted in the face by an alien starfish and becomes just another star-crossed zombie. Back at the palace, his fellow generals enjoy taking charge for about three seconds before they're gunned down by the resistance. Ultimately Suarez gives voice to Starro's only line of dialog in the film, about being happy floating in space.

Starro was originally created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, and first appeared in DC's comic Brave and the Bold in 1960. That silver age comic also marked the first appearance of super-team the Justice League of America.

Starro's rampage is ended by Harley Quinn, who fulfills the promise of Javelin's dying words in the opening sequence. She uses his javelin to pierce Starro's eye, allowing Ratcatcher II to direct the city's rats into Starro's brain. Harley floats in the viscera and enjoys the beauty of a giant alien brain being gnawed to bits by a horde of rats.

If there'a moral to this story, it's this. We already saw Ratcatcher's father, a drug addict, die in pointless and squalid fashion. But in the film's climax, a flashback sees him gently explain to his young daughter that rats are universally despised, but if such lowly creatures have purpose then so must we all. The Suicide Squad are an abject bunch scorned by society, but they find love and connection and ultimately save the world.

The film ends with a joke: The first Squad member to die, Weasel, actually survives. Having drowned before the beach massacre, he wakes up and scampers into the jungle.

But he isn't the only surprise survivor: Peacemaker makes it as well, and according to the post-credits scene he's about to save the world too. That story will be told in an HBO Max TV series written by Gunn and starring Cena, expected in early 2022.

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