“Birds of Prey” Proves To Be Another Average DC Comics Movie
Jordan Gablaski, Staff Writer
Everyone had to know that this was going to be a weird one, right? With Harley Quinn as the main character/fourth-wall-breaking narrator, there was no other direction that this film could go in besides weirdsville. But, hey, that does not mean that you cannot have a little bit of fun while you’re there. Starring Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Rosie Perez and Ewan McGregor, “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” is entertaining and explosive, but not at all for the fainthearted.
Quinn introduces her audience to her current state of affairs following “Suicide Squad” (2016), which is not looking all that good. She broke up with the Clown Prince of Crime, her longtime BF the Joker, and is struggling to cope with a life where she is no longer in service to another (need I add: to a man). Quinn gets mixed up in the dirty dealings of Roman Sionis (a.k.a Black Mask) and his partner Victor Zsasz, and is being hunted by literally anyone she has ever wronged once the crime world of Gotham discovers that she is no longer under the protection of the Joker. And so, the stage is set for our other players to enter: disillusioned cop Renee Montoya, Sionis’ bar singer Dinah Lance, a mysterious new assassin known by reputation as the Crossbow Killer and a twelve-year-old orphan pickpocket named Kass. When Kass pickpockets the wrong person and ends up swallowing a priceless diamond that Sionis desperately needs, the characters scramble to be the first to find the girl and retrieve the diamond.
I will begin by saying that this movie took 100% advantage of its R rating. There was no shortage of blood and colorful language, but only two really gruesome scenes, which, all told, are not that bad. The redeeming quality was Quinn’s whimsical persona and scatterbrained narrative pattern, paired with her no-nonsense insanity. Quinn tells the audience that since this is
her story, she can tell it however she wants to, but actually she seems to act as a catalyst to the events of the movie more than an actual part of the group. So, despite the more grotesque and twisted aspects of the movie, the basic storyline of how Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya come together as allies, as told by Quinn, is satisfying and left me wanting to see more of the three new additions to the DC Universe.
The most enjoyable part of the movie was the final fight scene, in which the four women and Kass take refuge in a fun house and defend it against Sioinis’ hired army. This movie attempted to cash in on the tried and true ensemble sequence, one with a killer choreographed fight scene, and in that it does better than “Justice League” (2017), which let’s face it, is not super hard. The most uncomfortable performance was by far McGregor as Roman Sionis, but only because it was so well done. Sionis is always the true villain of the film, and his violent insanity is the harsh undertone of Quinn’s admittedly maniacal, but undeniably comical antihero.
Most importantly, though, it was really nice to see more diverse representation in this film, as it features not only a great cast of women, and LGBTQ relationships, but a cast that included multiple people of color. I hope to see more of this in the future, spreading to the point where a reviewer will not even have to comment on how great it is to see diversity in film because it will just be so utterly normal. But, it is a little interesting to me that loads of people took issue with a certain other female led film last year because said woman spent a lot of time beating up men (and nearly exclusively men), but did not seem to have a problem with this movie even though Quinn and these other women spend a lot of time beating up on dudes. Hmmm, okay… wonder why that is? Something to do with costumes, maybe? Guess we will never know. 😉 Seriously though, I am glad to see a female ensemble on the big screen.
At the end of the day, I had fun with “Birds of Prey.” It featured a solid plot, entertaining characters and unique cinematography. I am mostly looking forward to the possibility of a sequel where the focus is more on the newly established trio, though I cannot deny that Quinn brought life to this movie and Margot Robbie is the ultimate Harley Quinn. No one else could play that role half as well.
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