Review | Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn)

 

In case you haven’t been paying attention: the star from Suicide Squad has her own movie. Essentially, it is open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her back. Unprotected and on the run, Quinn faces the wrath of narcissistic crime boss Black Mask, his right-hand man, Victor Zsasz, and every other thug in the city. Things soon even out for Harley when she becomes unexpected allies with three deadly women — Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya.

Budget: $84.5 million

Opening Weekend: $79.5 million


Birds of a Feather

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Source: DC Comics/Warner Bros

Cathy Yan (director), Christina Hodson (writer), Jay Cassidy and Evan Schoff (editors), Matthew Libatique (Cinematographer), and Daniel Pemberton (Composer) all worked together and made a great film along with the cast. None of them disappointed, including the cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ewan MacGregor, and Ella Jay Basco.

When I first heard about the direction they were going with Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), I was not a fan but while watching the movie I really enjoyed the character within the story that was given to us. Although I still would have preferred Cassandra as an assassin, but it is not the end of the world to make her into a master pickpocket.

What can I say that has not been said about Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn? It is clear Margot Robbie has a fun time playing the character in this film, but one of the most interesting dynamics is between Harley and Bruce the Hyena.

Let us talk about a criticism a lot of people had while coming into this Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).

The focal point of that criticism is: “Why is Harley Quinn in the Birds of Prey?” In the comics, Harley Quinn was in the Gotham City Sirens along with Poison Ivy and Catwoman.

Let me give you two reasons why you don’t have have to worry about that:

1. If you want to get comic book accurate, then it does not matter what team Harley Quinn is on. She has worked with several of them, including Sirens, BoP, Team Wisdom, and even Justice League.

2. In Birds of Prey, they do end the movie in a way you might like if you still are not convinced that Harley should not be a part of the Birds of Prey.

Free as a Bird

Many people will say their favorite characters in the film were Black Mask and Harley Quinn. For me? It was Huntress (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

batman huntressRead Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood if you want to get even deeper with Helena’s character. Learn about her hellbent journey for revenge, how she leans on Batman, and possibly getting sucked back into the vengeance world by the non-faced guy in the picture, known as ‘The Question.’

Christina Hodson and Cathy Yan did a great job adapting that story and several other tales from the comics involving Harley Quinn for the big screen. From the pure craziness mixed with the social awkwardness, Harley Quinn has become one of my favorite characters in the DCEU.

The one thing I feel like most fans will be annoyed with is that Harley Quinn gets the most screen time even though it is a “Birds of Prey” film and I do understand that criticism.

With that being said, I thought it was a strength of the movie to able to give three backstories all in one movie is pretty impressive, so now whoever does a Birds of Prey, a Huntress solo movie or a Black Canary solo do not have to focus on their origin as much.

My expectations for Roman Sionis as a villain were way too high. Much as I felt with General Zod in Man of Steel, so many people were raving about Ewan McGregor as Black Mask. He simply did not meet those expectations but he was still f#*kin’ great. Black Mask is my third favorite villain out of the DCEU, after General Zod and King Orm.

Changing characters, with Black Canary, it felt like she had the least development with her back story. The script talked about her mother, what happened to her, and how that affected Dinah Lance, but it should have been shown within the movie and it could have made the canary scream more impactful.

Other than that, Jurnee Smollett-Bell definitely gave a great performance. She needs a solo film with Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress. (Like a real ‘Birds of Prey’ film.)

Overall this was a strong addition to the DCEU! My question for you all is, what did think of Birds of Prey and what is your ranking of the DCEU films? Let me know in the comments below.

90/100 (A-)


All Images Courtesy of Warner Bros./DC Comics/Kroll Productions

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