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I Can’t Believe I Love The Suicide Squad’s King Shark So Much Despite My Overwhelming Fear of Sharks

I hate sharks but I love you, Nanaue.

King Shark raising his hand and pointing at it in The Suicide Squad.

“King Shark” may be how we know him, but his real name is Nanaue, and I loved him in The Suicide Squad, a real shock to my shark-hating system. Going into movies that heavily feature sharks is hit or miss for me, but for whatever reason, King Shark became the love of my life. I didn’t care how afraid of him I’d be because he had fun little shorts on and I knew he’d so us all no harm. So, color me shocked when I maybe loved him most of all.

So what was it about Nanaue that made me care about a creature I’ve despised my entire life? Well, let’s get into James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.

**Spoilers for The Suicide Squad lie within.**

First of all, I want to start by saying that Nanaue is a cat. Sure, he looks like a shark and “nom nom”s like a shark, but then he hides like a cat does and is fiercely protective of his friends. Very cat-like behavior. The demigod is there to basically go into a feeding frenzy when the Squad needs him to, but he also has one of the most interesting arcs and relationships in the entire movie.

When we first meet Nanaue, it’s clear that he wants people to take him seriously. He’s reading a book upside down and wants to prove that he knows what his hand is, and the only one who doesn’t roll their eyes is Cleo Cazo. Ratcatcher 2 is charmed by Nanaue, even though he does try to eat her when he’s hungry. But Cleo realizes what Nanaue needs and asks if he would eat a friend.

He wouldn’t, because he’s a good boy, but he also doesn’t think he has friends, and as the movie goes on, he continues to learn that the Squad cares about him—granted, some just because they need him for the mission, but Cleo is constantly worried about his wellbeing to the point that when she thinks he’s dead and sees him walking up to the remaining team, she runs and hugs him.

By some miracle, Nanaue is a perfect look at loneliness and how we feel when we don’t think anyone cares about us, and Cleo is the reverse of that. She cares so much about his safety and, honestly, the safety of the Squad as a whole, and it’s oddly sweet to see this friendship blossom and grow throughout the movie.

Sure, those “dumb friends” that King Shark sees in the tank are no friends at all (they do try to eat him), but he learns that he, at least, has Cleo on his side. And somehow, I sat there and watched an entire movie where a demigod who is half-shark had character growth, and I didn’t have a panic attack. (Trust me, any other shark movie? I would have. Somehow, I survived this.)

Like, when you stop and think about it, King Shark is a character who thought that if they gave him a fake mustache, he could walk around a city and it’d be fine, and that’s incredibly sweet. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?

Nanaue, I probably can’t watch Jaws without crying or go into an aquarium for too long, but you did help me learn to love the beasts I’ve hated my entire life, and I love you oh so very much. Anyway, GIVE NANAUE HIS MUSTACHE! HE DESERVES IT.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.