Margot Robbie and her league of female anti-heroes face off against an exuberant Ewan McGregor in the incredibly fun Birds of Prey.
Margot Robbie returns to once again embody her most famous character and bring us a new round of Harley Quinn mayhem. It’s only natural that Harley’s emancipation movie would be 100% bananas. That much was a given, but I did not think that it would be as enjoyable as it was. In a nutshell, Birds of Prey is what Suicide Squad wanted to be in terms of style, action, unpredictability, and character dynamic.
It’s also the perfect film to re-introduce Harley Quinn to those who might have grown tired of her. The extremely long title, Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), says it all.
The film isn’t about Harley, it is Harley. She almost doesn’t feel like a character but rather an unstoppable force that the world of Gotham revolves around. The way she occasionally breaks the fourth wall to narrate what’s happening makes this notion even more concrete.
I can’t get over how surprised I was by this movie. I honestly thought it would be ridiculous, but it wasn’t and the parts that were ridiculous, were so on purpose. Much like the thoughts in Harley’s head, its wild, colorful and completely chaotic. As if someone grounded up a roll of sweet tarts and blew it in your face while you were doing rainbow shooters in a disco.
It’d be nothing, however, without Black Mask, played magnificently by Ewan McGregor who is now my most favorite DCEU villain. A flamboyant drama queen with plans to rule Gotham. He’s as much a riddled contradiction as Harley but in a very different way. She’s fun, he’s twisted. I could get behind a whole franchise of Black Mask spin-offs.
Birds of Prey’s beginning is the perfect way to start a “get over your ex” story. Every woman who’s ever had a bad breakup will see themselves somewhere within the first 15 minutes or so when Harley is mourning the end of her romance with the Joker. We’ve all been there.
Crying ourselves red in the face whilst stuffing ourselves with ice cream and cheese wiz, telling ourselves that we’re better off without him. You can tell a woman wrote this. Christina Hodson to be exact, and she did a great job.
The breakup is just the beginning of Harley’s problems though. Without Joker, she no longer has protection, and it seems that nearly everyone in Gotham wants her dead including the sadistic crime lord Roman Sionis a.k.a. Black Mask and his henchmen/best friend Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina).
Sionis’s dreams of being the king of crime lords are put to the test when a valuable diamond he needs is stolen by the pick-pocketing orphan Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). His desire to get it back leads him to Harley, who offers to retrieve it in exchange for protection against the people who want her dead.
Also on Cain’s trail is Dinah Lance a.k.a Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) a singer at Sionis’s club and struggling detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). Meanwhile, somewhere in the city is Helena Bertinelli a.k.a. Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) a vigilante hunting down the men who murdered her family. Together, the five women will team up to stop Sionis for good, only it takes a while to get there.
A large chunk of Birds of Prey is told out of sequence thanks to a narrator that backtracks multiple times. It’s like Deadpool taking over a Tarantino movie. This is meant to keep the action going at all times, but an unfortunate side effect is sticky character introductions.
We meet every one of the “Birds” early in the beginning, but they don’t team up until near the very end, leaving half of the group to aimlessly wander around until the third act. Poor Huntress spends most of the movie on her own and Black Canary is forcefully pushed aside to make more room for Harley, but keep in mind that the film isn’t really about the Birds of Prey team. It’s about how they were formed.
Overall, Birds of Prey is a delightful story about female empowerment swimming in a heavy load of fun violence.
Birds of Prey is now playing in theaters nationwide.