DC’s latest film in their extended universe delivers great performances and a unique feel to make it standout as a highlight.
“Birds of Prey” is a breakup movie with a giant coating of a comic book movie painted on top. The story follows Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, as she deals with her breakup with the Joker and becomes public enemy number one because of it.
The entire story is told through Harley’s colorful and psychotic eyes, and it shows with new small-time bad guys having name tags and what grievances they have with her. As the plot progresses, the film introduces the other characters that make up the rest of the ensemble cast.
The supporting characters include Renne Montoya, played by Rosie Perez, Black Mask, played by Ewan McGregor, Cassandra Cain, played by Ella Jay Basco, Black Canary, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Huntress, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Unlike each one of the small-time bad guys, Harley dedicates time to tell parts of their story before the movie fully takes over, which is shown in how they treated the character of Huntress. The story leaves her as this mysterious crossbow-wielding rebel, but when her backstory is revealed it feels like she should have gotten her own movie before this one was released.
The action that takes place in the film does a great job of highlighting each of the characters strengths and weaknesses.
Take Huntress, for example, she needs to take time reloading each one of her crossbow bolts. In the climactic fight scene, she ends up having to throw her crossbow at a bad guy’s face before reloading. Meanwhile, someone like Black Canary gets her own moment to highlight her powers.
The highlight of the action goes to Harley. Her best action set piece is when Harley is forced to fight off some goons in a police evidence lockup. But all in all, the action is what you would expect from a comic book movie: over the top and all around fun to watch.
The performances from the entire cast, even the no-name thugs, are great. The biggest standouts are Margot Robbie and Ewan McGregor. Robbie was the highlight of “Suicide Squad,” and she proves to be the highlight yet again here. She carries the film and it’s hard to see anyone else playing Harley except her.
McGregor, on the other hand, takes a character with no real motivations, except for the fact that his parents cut him off, and makes him as entertaining as Harley at some points. He takes the empty idea the writers had for Black Mask feel like the intimidating force he is supposed to be while having fun doing it. The only complaint I have is how his conflict with Harley is resolved.
The manic style of the film is what makes it great. There are the small details, such as the name tags depicting a name Harley makes up for the bad guy in front of her, and people’s grievances with Harley presented similarly to how “Zombieland” flashes a graphic for one of the many rules to follow.
There is also the over-the-top dance sequence to a redone version of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” while Harley is tortured by Black Mask and his henchman Victor Zsasz, played by Chris Messina. Ideas that may seem outlandish like those make this film have its own unique identity which helps elevate it to what DC should have done with “Suicide Squad.”
Is this film perfect and one of the best comic book movies of all time? No. Does it offer some fun action, funny one-liners and great performances? Yes.
“Birds of Prey” is one of DC’s better films and it is a fun time at the movies that can satisfy any comic book fan as well as general audiences alike.