If you have seen this DC Comics and WB (long-awaited) film, you know Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) established three irrefutable truths in the CBM community:
- No one expected that! Absolutely no one. And it is well worth the price of admission. (Pass it around to those sexist or bitter CBMers out there.)
- Anyone sitting at home and saving their money can take their assumptions and kiss all that Dr. Harleen Quinzel behind. You truly don’t know what you’re missing. It is a respectable and surprising movie for the nerd community.
- This movie may as well been taped in the middle of a chicken coop outside Springdale, Arkansas (home of Tyson Foods for those scoring at home).
Why the reference to the home of Foghorn Leghorn porn? Because there were oodles of fresh Easter Eggs.
Some were refrigerated, ready for omelettes. Others were organic, brown, and prime for poaching. And there were a few Cadburys bedazzled and laced in gold flake.
Here are the top 10 Easter Eggs you may have missed in Birds of Prey:
(And, in case you haven’t figured it out, it is close to impossible to draft an entertaining Easter Egg article without spoilers. Assume there are plenty of major ones ahead. Bookmark this, go see the film, and come back…please?)
10. Roller Derby
In the comics, Harley Quinn was a dazzling and ruthless, power jammin’ derby girl. She is all over the rink and any broads in the middle of the lane. DC and WB got her outfit and attitude right, but did you notice her number? 92… right up there on her sleeve.
Her first appearance for us all to behold Mr. J’s squeeze was actually on “Batman: The Animated Series.” When did that start broadcasting on TV? 19-92. Premium egg there.
(And yes, we know she didn’t start at the roller derby until she arrived at Coney Island in 2013 and joined a team. Move on.)
9. They Call Him ‘Bruce’
Speaking of “Batman: The Animated Series,” we meet Bruce, the laughing hyena. Nice call out by the nerds making this movie because Harley’s adoration for the crazed and gigantic feline dates back to 1992 as well. Back then on TV, she had two of them named after the Silver Screen comedy heroes, Bud (Abbott) and Lou (Costello).
The amount of hyena and the name is changed in the movie, but that creates a nice junior egg naming him after that “hunky Wayne guy.” (Pour some out Batfleck fans.)
8. A ‘Boomerang’ Cameo
Fans and trolls alike were wondering how much of the beleaguered Suicide Squad would be seen in Birds of Prey.
More than you may think, and rightly so considering how we met her on the big screen. In this movie, there was this one wanted posted in the Gotham City police station. Remember after she kicks all that ass, she walks out the door, looks at a picture, and notes, “I know that guy.”
Yeah, that is the one and only Captain Boomerang (played by Jai Courtney). Maybe they’ll reunite in James Gunn’s reboot/remake/re-whatever? And yes, dig the irony… he’s a boomerang. Of course he returns.
7. Masking the Pain
Once we finally got to see Black Mask in the trailer (and in the movie — third act), we noticed a few comic deep cuts from this. Cathy Yan did some homework. For instance:
Roman loves masks. See all those in his crib? According to canon, that was a collection thing of his even before he dawned that psychotic persona of his.
Remember all of his henchmen putting on masks at Amusement Mile? This is a particularly exceptional deep cut about a literal cult he established in his own honor called the “False Face Society.”
Lastly, look at the texture of his mask. See how it doesn’t look like something you would purchase at a Party City or one of those stupid pop-up Halloween joints?
No, this was made to look like wood. Roman wasn’t much of a family guy (note the “F@#k Family rant” at the club). In fact, based on comic lore, he crafted his mask from shards of wood taken from… his father’s coffin. Sweetheart, ain’t he?
6. Janus Corporation
There is a cornucopia of reference here for the movie, comic, and mythology lover. As we discover, Janus Corporation was Roman Sionis’ company, inherited from mommy and daddy. It is laced throughout the movie:
- Many signs in the movie have the ‘J’ crossed out. “Anus,” get it? That rascal Harley.
- In the comics, Janus was a cosmetics empire. Again, get it? Clowns? Makeup? Maybe it was too obvious, so it was made into a real-estate conglomerate.
- Remember the fight with Batfleck and a parademon in Justice League? That was on this building. Again, Cathy Yan could care less about the trolls.
- Mythology, what? Janus is the Roman god of beginnings and endings, otherwise called “transition.” See the statue? That is Janus. He is the reason we call people… yes, “two-faced.” Janus has been an inspiration across D.C. First, Harvey “Two-Face” Kent, who stresses the internal polarity between good and evil. Second, the face of Janus Corp is a community-first organization but at the helm is one evil dude, who by the way, hides his public face behind a mask.
5. The Creator
(Any Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth fans out here?)
Anywho, see this man pictured behind a well-drafted picture of the Harlequin of Hate? That is Jerry Robinson. He is the reason we have The Joker. Naturally, much like Jack Kirby’s presence will be felt throughout Eternals (and New Gods with D.C. Yes, he is credited for creating both), you can’t fully appreciate The Joker without giving respect to Jerry Robinson. Cathy Yan was no different.
If you blinked, you may have missed this egg but Black Mask captures Harley, she pleas to his senses by saying she is great at finding things. Among those cherished items found at a flea market is a “picture of a disrobed Eleanor Roosevelt” she found for Joker in Robinson Park.
Sure, it may be a stretch but if you are a comic fan, it fits. High-five for that one!
4. Feel the Bern
Before the 2016 election, there was another famous Bernie among hipsters, nerds, and other disenfranchised youth — Bernie the Taxidermy Beaver. He is actually rooted in comics. Yes, the beaver is legit canon.
First showing his cute face in Harley Quinn Volume 2, Bernie (in Harley’s twisted head) is still alive. He even eats cereal (nice homage there in the film).
He was named after Harleen’s first boyfriend, Bernie Bash. Actually, the beaver belonged to his family, but dude couldn’t stay out of the pokey, so Harley took a memory with her.
Her place above Doc’s is being destroyed and Bernie was one of the prized possessions she grabbed. Great respect here.
3. Suck It, Suicide Squad Haters
A red-shoed chick once said, “There’s no place like home.” Regardless of where you come from, you should never forget it. Harley didn’t, much to the chagrin of the self-righteous fandom out there. There were Suicide Squad eggs all over the place. We’re talking enough batter for French Toast.
- This shirt got a shout out when looking for clothes and Harley stops Renee when grabbing it, “Nuh-huh. This one has sentimental value.”
- The lover’s den of Harley Quinn and Joker was Ace Chemicals. It’s where the two would enjoy each other’s company, where she took a nosedive into a vat of acid to get that lovely alabaster skin (and him, if you’re a Tim Burton fan), and where she later causes a massive explosion signifying a very public break-up. Nice call back from the movie and the comics.
- Harley goes through an excellent, abbreviated origin story. In that flashback, we get actual Suicide Squad footage. No shame in Cathy Yan’s game. (Although what is interesting is any reference to “Mr. J” is all muted, blurred, or silhouette style. I’m afraid Jared Leto fans are going to have go off memories or go watch Morbius.
2. The O.G. Harley Quinn
Probably one of the best things about Easter Eggs is not the crafty placement of all of them for nerds like me to go on a mad egg hunt, but the homages they create — originators, historic references, shout outs, and even a few O.G.s to boot.
We find Renee Montoya getting ready to go to Amusement Mile. She is driven. She is pissed. She…is watching TV. Many people missed this. I did the first time I watched the film (yes, it’s worth seeing more than once). Off screen right, the TV showcases a clown, but she’s not just any clown.
That is Arleen Sorkin from “Days of Our Lives” fame. That scene was the inspiration for Harley Quinn. In fact, she was the original voice for Harley in “Batman: The Animated Series.” A Cadbury egg in all its regalia by Cathy Yan.
(And yes, I’m sure Arleen to ‘Harleen’ is not coincidental.)
1. “Batman’s”… what?!
If you were one of the smart ones that looked at everyone leaving, rolled your eyes, and stayed anyway, you were treated to a massive tease. Harley is cut off before she can finish her sentence, leaving people to hypothesize and pontificate everything. When in actuality, only the genius of Cathy Yan knows, “Did you know Batman’s f— …”
Try Googling it. Awesome. That is how you get fans involved in Twitter chats. What could it mean? Matt Reeves’ The Batman? James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad? Not for nothing, but it seems everyone is ignoring the not-so-kid-friendly end of the sentence that was cut off, but given Harley’s proclivity for eff bombs, we can only imagine.
Until 2021 Harley… can’t wait!