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Birds of Prey- Review

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” is the first time a minor DC character gets her own movie. I’m glad the character was a fun one like Harley Quinn, because Fun is the name of the game when it comes to this film. Don’t come expecting “Joker” and you won’t be disappointed. Harley herself is the fun, bubbly, crazy girl next door you always wanted and this film tries to keep in step with that Vibe.

***Potential Spoilers Ahead***

Harley breaks-up with Mr. J, it was not mutual, and she takes it a little hard. She sends a very public message about the break-up which gets her involved in her own little adventure. Little did Harley realize that a lot of her success in crime and life was because she was under the protection of The Joker. She got a little too big for her britches during her romance with the Clown Prince of Crime and made a lot of enemies. Every thug with a grudge is after her now and she’s got to figure out who her friends are and how to stay alive.
The story is fun and imaginative however the dialogue writing seemed a bit too cliché. Even though they try to bring attention to it in the film by referencing a character who speaks like they’re in bad 80s movie, it still seemed contrived and unsuccessful. A lot of the character motivations were predictable and shoulder shrug inducing.

The Birds of Prey are made up of a rag-tag group of lady misfits and outsiders, just like Harley. However, aside from the Huntress, who the plot of the movies surrounds, the other characters back story and motivations were lost. The Black Canary can sing and shatter glass, but when she finally lets out her “Canary Cry” it seems out of place and silly in a film where no one showed any kind of mutant or supernatural enhancement. Ewan McGregor, as the Black Mask got off to a good start with some gruesome torture scenes that were in line with the comic book characters fondness of torture, but then didn’t go anywhere beyond that. McGregor did a great job in portraying his spoiled human side but he is called the Black Mask and didn’t wear the thing until the very end, which did nothing for him. In the comic the mask was made from the remains of his fathers smashed onyx coffin, a potential cool on-screen moment lost that would have given Roman Sionis more menace. The mask in the film looked like a BDSM Mask. Sionis could have been any bad guy in a regular action movie. The imagery of the Black Mask was completely under utilized and was just flat out wasted. With being a slippery character as he was supposed to be in the comics, The Black Mask meets a very dramatic and permanent end. No cameos for that guy I’m guessing, unless, they pulled a switch in hopes of bringing him back in a later sequel? I guess we shall see.

The editing of this film was noticeable in a good way. Clever cuts, jumps, and on-screen graphics helped lend to the comic book feel of the film but also added a level of comedy to some of the shots.
The soundtrack is amazing! The music really fit the movie and added more adrenaline to the action sequences. It was hard, fast, and gritty like a lot of the fight scenes.

The fight choreography in this film is where a lot of the fun and excitement happens. I saw some first-time moves and sequences that got a “wow” from me and the audience. The scenes were well shot and choreographed so you can see the action. None of the moves were lost from the camera being too close or the dreaded shaky camera syndrome. I did find myself wondering why the goons weren’t using guns but I guess it would’ve ended the movie rather quickly if someone just shot Harley rather than try and beat her up. There are some pretty unbelievable moments, but hey, it’s a comic book movie so I guess that’s allowable.

Birds of Prey/Harley Quinn was an entertaining look into the life of a secondary character in the DC world and the “what if” scenario of what would happen if they lost their main protagonist or in this case antagonist? It really worked well for Harley. It’s a possibility we can be seeing other minors getting some big screen time like Quinn has, the box office, I’m sure, will be the final deciding factor in that one!

Directed by: Cathy Yan

Written by: Christina Hodson

Starring: Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead