Thomas checked out Birds Of Prey and went on a rollercoaster ride with Harley Quinn!
Birds Of Prey and The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn is the DCEU latest entry, it’s a spinoff of Suicide Squad. It’s quite a long title when you think about it but it actually makes a lot of sense once you’ve seen the movie. You have what will become the group called the Birds Of Prey and you also have Harley Quinn. Plus this story is told from Harley’s point of view so having a title like this feels very much like her!
Harley Quinn is this crazy broken mind so a movie told from her point of view obviously means CRAZINESS in style but also in the narration. Harley controls the story so at times you get something in media res then she rewinds and tells us how it started. That was actually quite funny. And it’s exactly who she is as a character, it reminded me a lot of the madness seen in the Harley Quinn animated series from DC Universe and her comics. It’s faithful to the character, that’s what I love about it! You could say it’s the Deadpool of the DC Universe but only better. Because it’s not as heavy and probably also because I grew up with DC Comics and with Batman: The Animated Series so I was a fan of the character.
Compared to how Harley was in Suicide Squad, I’d say they definitely leveled up the madness and they could because it’s an R-Rated movie so they can afford things that a PG13 movie couldn’t – like a hyena eating a human leg or more blood. That was my biggest fear with the R-rated, I was a bit afraid they’d focus too much on the violence like in Deadpool and it’d be too gory but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. It’s violent yes and at times very violent, there are a few gory scenes but it’s not too much, it’s just the right amount of blood, it’s not excessively gory so that wins a lot of points for me.
Margot Robbie really is dedicated to playing this character, she gives so much energy to this, she totally nails it! She is brilliant in this role and I wouldn’t see anyone else play Harley as good as she does. She is the real MVP of this movie. We’ll see her next in The Suicide Squad but I’d love to see her in more small stories like this. A ‘Gotham City Sirens’ movie would be something great to explore and would give us the chance to have a DCEU Poison Ivy or simply another team up with the Birds of Prey.
This movie also introduces new characters to the DCEU. Let’s start with the good guys – Dinah Lance aka Black Canary, Cassandra Cain, Renée Montoya, Helena Bertinelli aka The Huntress. First of all, it’s an excellent cast and a diverse one. Each character has their time to shine on the screen, no one is neglected, everyone gets some backstory whether it’s with flashbacks or with dialogue. Cain is obviously the center of attention as she is tied to the main plot so, among these characters, she seems to be the one with the most screen time then Dinah and Renée.
I really appreciate they kept Renée’s sexuality in line with the comics, she’s a lesbian, and we get to see her ex-girlfriend. It’s important to have LGBT representation on screen with main characters and not just some background characters. If you’ve read DC Comics, you know there’s wonderful LGBT representation there but in superhero movies, we had yet to see much representation and this is something major here with Renée Montoya and it’s something we should celebrate! Renée doesn’t get to kiss anyone in the movie but it is clearly stated she is a lesbian and it matters. I really like this character and Rosie Perez was a great pick for the character.
The Huntress is very faithful to the comics. She has a lot of rage in her due to her desire for revenge, she’s a real killer. With this character, a lot of fun comes from her a lack of social skills compared to what she can do with a crossbow. I’m a fan of Mary Elizabeth Winstead and I love Huntress so I was very looking forward to seeing her in the role and I’m happy to see she was excellent! Huntress is the one with the less screen time of the group but when she’s there, she is there! She has some really BADASS action scenes! Huntress modern costume also makes a small appearance, it resembles the Rebirth one, I’d really love to see it again in a sequel.
Now about the villains, there’s two – Roman Sionis aka Black Mask and Victor Zsasz. Let’s just say it right away, Ewan McGregor was simply perfect in this role, he’s crazy as ever. Ewan was definitely a scene-stealer. Black Mask is a real psychopath, sadist, jerk, misogynist, that’s a Gotham criminal! You have the recipe for memorable villains there especially with such a talented actor portraying him. Roman is a show-off and I think the visual style they went with for this character totally fits with his personality.
The relationship between Zsasz and Sionis is an interesting one. Zsasz is not just a henchman who simply does his master’s bidding. They do complete each other and Zsasz kind of acts like a calming presence for Sionis big tantrums. It’s heavily implied that he and Victor are together. Zsasz may be a secondary character but he’s fleshed out enough to be an interesting villain and not just a henchman.
Cathy Yan really delivers a great movie, I loved her vision of these characters and I hope the DCEU will continue to give women the chance to shine as directors. She’s so good with action sequences, it’s literally ‘John Wick‘ but instead, it’s set in a superhero universe. The choreography on the action sequences is quite stunning. Slow-motion is used in some action scenes and it’s just perfect! Between this and the visual style, it’s a deliciously explosive cocktail! The cinematography is vibrant and well contrasted. The scene at the police station and the third act have the best visuals in the movie in my opinion. The third act is spot on Gotham at night just as the first moments of the movie.
In terms of costume design, it’s in the vein of Suicide Squad, while also being its own style. I like it! Just like Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey has a set of songs, it’s the style they go with for these characters and I think it works. The songs chosen add to the atmosphere of the movie, it fits with its universe! Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Adona is a powerful built-up to the final act. Jurnee Smollett Bell’s rendition of It’s a Man’s Man’s World is absolutely beautiful too!
Birds of Prey is a great movie, totally crazy in its style as well as in its narration, it’s John Wick meets DC Comics, you’re in for a lot of fun and action with an excellent cast of characters! This definitely deserves a sequel!
Four stars and a half out of five stars.
Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) is playing in multiplexes NOW.
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Thomas Storai is the Senior Collectables Correspondent for Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and a wide range of movies. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasStorai where he uses the force frequently!