Before we get started on this review, I have a confession to make.
Originally, I was pretty skeptical of this movie. Suicide Squad had my expectations high, and following the critics obliterating the David Ayer film, I was feeling pretty let down. Suffice to say, I had trust issues. Worrying about history repeating itself, I arrived into the movie with no expectations, fully unaware I was about to be completely blown away.
Here are five primary reasons why.
Harley and the Birds Steal the Show
From the very first minute, you are thrown straight into a whirling dervish of quirky and unique humor, which sets the pace throughout the whole movie. There is a hilarious animated scene catching us up with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn who narrates the story of her breakup from The Joker after the events of Suicide Squad.
Throughout the movie, Harley interrupts off-camera and narrates other hilarious scenes and disastrously funny results.
Fantastically holding her own as the lead, Margot’s love for the character really shows in her performance. She puts so much heart in Harley Quinn that she may just be your new favorite obsession (if she wasn’t already) by the time the credits roll.
The Man Behind the Mask
Every hero needs a villainous counterpart. For the Birds of Prey, that comes in the character Black Mask. Portrayed by the always great Ewan McGregor, Black Mask is as funny as he is terrifying.
Despite being, for the most part, a comedic movie, Black Mask is often described in the comics as a ruthless crime boss that gets pleasure from putting his enemies through torture. Doesn’t sound very funny, right?
Regardless, Ewan McGregor delivers a masterful performance. Within seconds, he has you laughing with his antics to being terrified as he threatens to peel off someone’s skin. Truly, a unique performance from McGregor, something with the potential to become fan favorite role.
Harley Quinn and Black Mask were not the only two characters that stood out. From the creepy and psychotic sidekick villain Victor Zsasz, played by Chris Messina, to the troubled alcoholic detective Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez.
Everyone played their roles exceptionally well. A personal favorite of mine was the character of Huntress played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Despite having less screen time than I would have liked, she portrayed the character wonderfully.
She is a character driven by revenge and left emotionless after her family was murdered in front of her. A great aspect of the film is watching the separate origins unfold, like with Huntress. She was forced to hide away in isolation from the outside world, training for years to hunt down the people responsible. Back stories like that make these characters more persuasive.
Fight Like a Girl
It wouldn’t be a superhero action movie without, yeah you guessed it, action scenes. During build up to the movie’s release, news broke out that John Wick director Chad Stahelski would be brought in for help on the action scenes.
For anyone unfamiliar with the John Wick movies, this was a big deal and evidently one investment that paid off remarkably. This movie is jam-packed with non-stop action that both was easy to follow and flowed smoothly, as if every fight scene were like an interpretive dance.
One scene in particular featured Harley Quinn on a drug-fueled, head-splitting, leg-breaking, rampage with a baseball bat. It was as brutal and exciting as it sounds. During the movie’s press junket circuit, Margot Robbie said “…[I] saw a space in the market for a kick-ass all female, team-up movie and wondered if men can do it then why can’t women?”
She was spot on. These women are nothing short of bad-ass and perfectly execute the brilliant fight scenes.
Following in the footsteps of Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey came out with its own originally crafted soundtrack, released with 15 songs and featuring a great selection of female artists. The soundtrack is just as important to the movie’s success as anything else.
In fact, one song in particular, “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (by James Brown) was covered and performed by Birds of Prey‘s own Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Black Canary) beautifully. The selection of songs not only helped tell the story of Harley and friends through the lyrics, but also had me head-bobbing and foot-tapping all throughout the movie. They are now a part of my gym playlist.
Birds of Prey is a wild ride. In fact, this roller coaster of pure fun plummets you into an explosion of color, violence, and humor, only to immediately wind you back up to the top and do it all over again.
This is of the best movies you will see this year and the most outrageous movie DC have ever done.
A movie that despite all its violence, gives so much heart to all of its characters that you will be fighting against yourself to pick a favorite (and yes, Bruce the Hyena should be the next cute internet obsession). Cathy Yan prides herself on a film with a strong, female-led and well-crafted story from start to finish. Its satisfying ending and strong vision of where they want to go with these characters can be seen with where we are all going in the future. Go see it, you won’t be disappointed!
Already seen Birds of Prey and wondering if you missed any Easter Eggs/Connections? Head over to this #ICYMI story and find out how many you spotted!