A Fantabulous Film
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is the latest in a long line of superhero team movies that have been prolific and frequent in this wave of modern cinema and has certainly hit the ground running. In a film that can only be described as an original adaptation of the source material while still, for the most part, keeping the tone of beloved DC Comics characters like Harley Quinn, Black Canary, Huntress, and lesser-knowns like Renee Montoya, Cassandra Cain, Victor Zsasz, and Black Mask. Cathy Yan, and the talented artists of staff and crew, come together to make what is assuredly one of the most fun and genuine comic book adaptations and certainly on the better side the recent DC Comics spectrum along with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam.
Welcome to the Circus
Every actor plays their role perfectly from Margot Robbie’s stellar take on Harley Quinn to Ewan McGregor’s flamboyant performance as Roman Sionis/Black Mask. The movie plays like an out of order heist movie for the most part, without a heist, but is also a fun chase movie with a lot of silly moments and awesome action. Every character has their moment in the film, but there are a few faults in our stars (Get it? Stars like celebrities?).
The main critiques I’d have is false advertisement. This is a Harley Quinn movie, a good Harley Quinn movie, but not a Birds of Prey film. Harleen Quinzel is the narrator of this film and truly the center of the whole movie. All other characters mostly spread that aspect. Rosie Perez’s awesome portrayal as Renee Montoya gritty 80’s movie cop archetype is clever, but is mainly backgrounded to move Harley’s plot, same with Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Dinah Lance/Black Canary lost club singer and legacy superhero, and again with Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Helena Bertinelli/Huntress who’s origin is part of the plot of the film, but is otherwise just another narrative device for Harley. That said they play their roles well to their source characters and have more than a few memorable moments, but are otherwise supporting cast. The villains: Black Mask and Chris Messina’s depiction of Victor Zsasz suffer from the same problem. They have little to no development other than crazy bad guys who do bad things because they are crazy bad guys. Then there’s Ella Jay Basco’s Cassandra Cain, a character who’s gotten a lot of flack from fans of the comic book version of the character who is very different than the one shown in this film. Nonetheless, Cassandra Cain is a fun character pickpocket artful dodger wanna be, and the main catalyst for the plot for a lot of the film, though she also falls into the background of Harley’s story like the others, though she is played well even if she’s a totally different character than the one she’s based on.
All that said this is a gorgeous film with awesome costumes and a completely original style. Add some super fun fight scenes and colorful explosions and you get the Birds of Prey film. It also builds the DC Cinematic Universe some more and I’m excited to see these characters be developed in future films by these awesome actors. The blockbuster does have its faults like lack of character development and a lot of assumed growth, but it’s a lot better than Quinn’s predecessor Suicide Squad and still a worthwhile film to go see as soon as possible.
Results: 3.5 out of 5