The Magnificent Seven, Ocean's Eleven and other super teams in the movies

The Magnificent Seven rounds up a super team of seven outlaws, with each member displaying his own distinct personality and skill.

Having a super team in a film makes for fun viewing because you get not only a big group of stars all at once, but you also have the dynamics among the different members, which can be interesting and unpredictable.

But it can be challenging to assemble the right people for the team.

Director Jack Neo, 57, who had to cast a bunch of new faces for his central team of army boys in his hit Ah Boys To Men movies, says: "When you have a big cast like this, it's only natural that some will have bigger roles than others. But we hope to write supporting characters that are memorable on their own.

"Tosh Zhang's character of Sergeant Ong is actually quite a small role, but he ended up becoming a huge fan favourite.

 

"The point is that each member of the team has to be strong enough to stand on his own."

Movie buff Justin Uy, 33, who works as a marketing specialist, says film-makers also have to be careful not to have too many people in the super team "or else some will have nothing to do".

The Straits Times looks at some of the more memorable super teams in recent movie history.


OCEAN'S ELEVEN (2001)

A remake of a 1960 film of the same name, this comedy heist film by Steven Soderbergh follows charismatic ex-con Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and how he gathers a team of men to pull off the massive heist of a Las Vegas casino.

Although there are 11 men in the team, all audiences really cared about were the dynamics among the three played by Clooney and fellow A-listers Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, who are also best friends in real life.

Some of the other characters played by lesser-known stars such as Don Cheadle and Bernie Mac were overshadowed. But all of them were still uniquely skilled enough to feel necessary for the storyline.

In the works is an all-female version, titled Ocean's Eight, which is set to star Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett and Rihanna, among others.

INCEPTION (2010)

In this sci-fi flick directed by Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a thief who steals information by infiltrating people's dreams.

In exchange for the chance to erase his criminal record and start afresh on a clean slate, he has to pull off the seemingly impossible task of "inception" - or the implanting of an idea into another person's subsconscious - with the help of highly skilled teammates.

All the focus here is on DiCaprio's character Dom, of course. But he could not have pulled off the job without the rest of his team, which includes architect Ariadne (Ellen Page) and identity forger Eames (Tom Hardy), who cover up his tracks when he messes up.

In Nolan's hands, each member of the team is distinctly memorable and gets his time to shine.

THE AVENGERS (2012)

This brought together some of Marvel Comics' most popular superheroes and made them all fight the baddies together as one unit.

The playful competition among the different superheroes was fun to watch - how useful is Hawkeye's (Jeremy Renner) bow and arrow compared with Iron Man's (Robert Downey Jr) fancy gadgets and high-tech suit?

Things got even more exciting in the follow-up film Captain America: Civil War (2016), where the Avengers splintered over clashing values (should they accept government supervision or not?).


PHOTOS: WARNER BROTHERS, STARHUB

SUICIDE SQUAD (2016)

Suicide Squad is DC Comics' gathering of anti-heroes, put together to execute dangerous missions in exchange for shorter prison sentences. Despite the edgy premise, it was panned for David Ayer's choppy direction and the script's thinly written characters.

Suicide Squad failed where The Avengers succeeded because many of the Marvel superheroes already had standalone movies of their own beforehand, so the Marvel characters' backstories were that much stronger by the time The Avengers came out. Suicide Squad, on the other hand, barely had enough time to flesh out each character.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2016, with the headline 'Super teams on screen'. Print Edition | Subscribe