Film Review – Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

Man, I hope this movie does well. I WANT MORE!

This film was a ton of fun. A great time at the movies and another great outing in the so-called “DCEU”. This coupled with last years Shazam! has shown a more light-hearted side to these DC films and I am here for it. I’ve really gotta find a way to watch Dead Pigs (2018) because director Cathy Yan has completely won me over. I did not expect a studio movie, that’s a risk, with a lower than normal budget, directed by a relative unknown with little clout to get her vision on the screen to be so damn good. But fuck me, what an accomplished piece of filmmaking and story telling this was.

Margot Robbie is back as the one fantabulous Harley Quinn. Also with a producing credit this time around. Evidence enough that she really likes this character and that really translates to her performance. She was incredible and batshit crazy. Just fabulous, really. Margot Robbie and Harley Quinn are becoming one of those inseparable actor/character combinations.

To talk generally about the rest of the Birds of Prey would really be a disservice to them all so let’s avoid that.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is understated but badass. She’s playing the “geeky” character but as if that geek was a trained assassin. Jurnee Smollett-Bell is super cool and kicks some serious ass. She was as captivating as anyone in this film, which is saying a lot. Rosie Perez leaned into a lot of clichés but also avoided them too. Probably the most underwritten character but Rosie brought something to it. Ella Jay Basco is the MVP of the Birds. She was awesome and held her own against some big personalities.

It was such a cool group of actors and the chemistry was fantastic. This is why I want more! It feels like only the surface has been scratched on all these characters. This movie also provided a fantastic villain. The villain is usually the measuring stick for which a comic book movie is judged. Ewan McGregor, in that case, has done his all for this film. Recycling his Yankee accent from Doctor Sleep (2019) McGregor’s an eccentric, interesting, queen of a crime boss. He was so different and so fun. Also terrifying it should be noted.

This film was a risk in much the same way Deadpool was. It sucks to compare this to something else but I think it’s pretty apt. It has a Hollywood star championing a character for a movie that’s rated R (MA 15+ here). It has a lower than average budget and lower than average stakes when it comes to the plot. It’s DC’s Deadpool but Bird of Prey flies higher and further. The film felt huge whilst being a relatively contained story.

The use of music in this film is fantastic. The soundtrack is excellent and will definitely be on rotation for the foreseeable future. Pop songs were used a lot in lieu of score much like in Suicide Squad (2016). Unlike that film, however, the scenes with these tracks didn’t feel hampered by the music. They fit in really well with the world. This is thanks in part to a lot of the songs being reimagined covers of songs. This is a move Zack Snyder often makes and that influence did seem evident to me.

There’s not really a lot for me to fault here. Sure, I would have loved some more time with Ewan McGregor’s character. Heck with all the characters. The final act maybe could have been bigger. But these are gripes that a sequel will no doubt amend. It was a popcorn movie. A movies that’s meant to first and foremost entertain. And I was more than entertained. Worth the price of admission and then some.

Kick-ass, fun and full of humour:

★★★★

Written by Benjamin Boekelaar