Ever wondered what it would be like to watch a movie that’s part “Deadpool,” “John Wick,” Hot Topic fanfiction and just a pinch of feminism while taking acid? Then this is the movie for you!
“Birds of Prey (and Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” is the newest film by the DC Comics Expanded Universe and follows Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, after her break up with Joker. She eventually gets in the crosshairs of a kingpin named Black Mask and has to team up with a group of unlikely heroes to take him down.
Like “Suicide Squad,” Margot Robbie is the best part of the movie by far. She is honestly one of the best casting decisions for a comic book movie I’ve ever seen. She completely embodies the essence of the Harley Quinn character, and she’s a blast to watch.
The action in the movie is brutal and bloody. They make sure the audience knows what they’re in for in the first 10 minutes. They never shy away from the violence. There was one scene, in particular, that takes place in a police evidence locker. That was probably the best fight scene in the movie. You could feel every hit, kick and punch that was taken and it was a blast to watch.
The other performances were pretty good, as well. Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask, was delightfully over the top. Where his character could fall flat as a big bad guy, he is able to bring enough charisma as well as his added quirks as an actor to sell it. Mary Elizabeth Weinsted was also good in the role of Huntress and Jurnee Smollett-Bell was good as Black Canary. However, these characters do lead to my biggest problem with the movie.
The movie should have never been called “Birds of Prey.” The entire movie is all from Harley Quinn’s perspective, and the team doesn’t even become a team until the very end. The film also suffers the same problems many had with “Suicide Squad,” which was a case of style over substance.
Whenever the film needs a scene to be engaging, they feel the need to add little animated drawings or a pop song every couple of minutes. The first act, in particular, felt as if it was all over the place; we’re constantly jumping from character to character. There is a scene about 20 minutes into the movie that comes out of left field and it goes back in time to explain how the character got in this situation. It takes at least a good 10 to 15 minutes to get back where we were and it felt unnecessary. This could have been done at the beginning and would have been better from a narrative perspective. The problems are not as blatant as “Suicide Squad’s” but they are still there.
The side characters also suffer from the same problems as “Suicide Squad,” where they show the characters past through voice-over and that is really all we get for their character. The only other traits we get for them are some quick one-liners here and there.
This is also more of a plot-driven movie than it is a character-driven one. Since Harley Quinn is really the only on who feels three-dimensional, the plot should be very engaging to make up for the lack of characterization but it doesn’t. So with a fairly safe plot and undeveloped characters, it can take a while for some viewers to get invested in what’s happening on screen.
Overall, if anyone’s a fan of the Harley Quinn character or wants to watch a fun movie with good action, you’ll get it with this movie. Just don’t go in expecting a masterpiece.