It should go without saying, but we shall say it anyway: Spoilers ahead for those of you who have yet to see The Suicide Squad.
It is perfectly commonplace in storytelling, whether on the page or on the screen, for its most malevolent and maligned antagonist to sound off one last line of dialogue as the character takes its final breath, before succumbing to its fitting and welcome demise.
This moment often signifies the end of tyranny; the victory for the heroes; the triumph of light over dark; the happy ending we, as the audience, yearn for in our escapist minds.
For the most part, in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, it would appear as if the aforementioned observation above rings true, but it is with the subtle inclusion of Starro’s final utterance that we are left with an uneasy feeling at the back of our minds, subverting our escapist expectations of the film as a whole.
“I was happy – floating, staring at the stars,” Starro exclaims, before succumbing to its wounds and dying.
Much like the members of Task Force X, Gunn ingeniously conveys to the audience that the gigantic villain of the film is, at its core, a victim of its circumstance as well.
If not for the meddling astronauts that captured Starro 30-years prior to the events that take place in the film, and not forgetting its subsequent torture while in captivity, the brightly colored, starfish-like, extra-terrestrial being would have been content with merely floating through the vacuum of space, assumedly living its life in peace.
To take it a step further, it can be argued that Starro’s final words possess a double meaning, symbolizing mankind’s inexorable need to tamper with and ultimately weaponize things that we are clearly unfit to comprehend, all for the sake of coming out on top in a show of strength among ourselves.
It is, therefore, difficult not to sympathize with Starro’s circumstance, despite the chaos it wreaked upon Corto Maltese after its escape. After all, like the members of the Suicide Squad themselves, Starro was merely a pawn in someone else’s scheme – an innocent being used as a means to a nefarious end.