Tue. Nov 30th, 2021

Squid Game and the DC Extended Universe have attained such universal acclaim that the former’s creator, Hwang Dong-hyuck, has officially confirmed a second season while Henry Cavil, according to THR, is stating that “the cape is still in his closet.” These immensely popular properties, both unafraid of embracing their dark side, are showing no signs of leaving the cultural zeitgeist. So it should come as no surprise that these two phenomenons have a few interesting parallels between them.

Audiences are drawn to how both series explore characters within life-or-death situations, and not just in a “good versus evil” manner, but in ways that seek to understand the morally grey areas in between. It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine the ethically ambiguous characters of The Suicide Squad playing a children’s game for their lives. While the DCEU’s growing multiverse may not extend its reach to incorporate Squid Game, contestants from the South Korean survival thriller happen to have commonalities with members of the Justice League and Task Force X.

Abdul Ali and Diana Prince are both outsiders driven by compassion. Ali is an immigrant from Pakistan who accepts the harsh consequences of the game to help his family. Diana Prince leaves her home on Themiyscira and vows to protect humanity after the loss of her friends and loved ones. They are kind-hearted, selfless, and emanate a warmth that is both welcoming and trustworthy. However, their altruistic natures are susceptible to being taken advantage of. Ali is eventually tricked in a game of marbles by his supposed ally, Cho Sang-woo, resulting in his tragic demise, while Diana’s well-intended wish in WW84 causes her to lose power among other things. Their strong level of trust is met with naivety.

Impulsive, boisterous, and unpredictable, Harley Quinn and Han Mi-nyeo are the lovably unhinged anti-heroes of the DC Extended Universe and the Squid-verse, respectively. However, their particular traits tend to overcompensate for insecurity deeply rooted in being alone. This leads to both characters forming unhealthy relationships with abusive partners (who just happen to be crime bosses). Han Mi-nyeo initially sides with the aggressive bully, Jang Deok-su, and begins to develop intimate feelings for him. Harley Quinn has a seemingly perfect relationship with Joker predicated on delusion. However, Mi-nyeo and Harley are not to be crossed and eventually see through the toxic masculinity, taking matters into their own hands.

There is a clear distinction in class when comparing Jang Deok-su and Roman Sioris, with the latter’s aesthetic more closely resembling that of the mysterious Front Man from Squid Game. However, at their core, they are both sadistic crime lords who use violence and intimidation to manipulate others. Their cold, heartless demeanors are masked by an egotistical facade as they flourish in high-risk situations, leading their pack with a cruel sense of gusto. Solidifying their villainhood, Jang Deok-su and Roman Sioris are raging misogynists who are shown constantly mistreating women. It only makes sense that this pair of nasty misanthropes get their due comeuppance from women they shouldn’t have crossed.

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