birds of prey
DIRECTOR: cathy yan (dead pigs)
STARRING: margot robbie, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, rosie perez and ewan mcgregor
REVIEWER: lyall carter
After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.
One of the most pleasant and biggest surprises of 2016’s Suicide Squad was Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn. It grabbed hold of the imagination and refused to let go so much so that Robbie’s Quinn got her own spin off. And it’s a bonkers, beautifully shot, entertaining ride.
It's open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her back. Unprotected and on the run, Quinn faces the wrath of narcissistic crime boss Black Mask, his right-hand man, Victor Zsasz, and every other thug in the city. But things soon even out for Harley when she becomes unexpected allies with three deadly women - Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya.
I can’t remember much of the plot of Suicide Squad which in a way helped me to critique this film purely standing on its own two feet. It does a really entertaining job of reminding us of what went on before in Suicide Squad and Quinn’s relationship with Joker.
The film then sets you smack bang in Quinn’s predicament as well as introducing us to the other women that this tale revolves around. Although the story is kinda your carbon copy superhero flick in a lot of ways it’s still a really entertaining story that draws you in and holds your attention throughout.
My slight criticism is that the set up (introducing the characters and the story’s dilemma) took the first two acts of the film with not much running time left for its conclusion and key themes to come through. That being said DC are the best at making women superhero movies. They show the audience what women can do instead of explaining it and not really showing us how they can kick butt.
Margot Robbie was brilliant as Harley Quinn but all the craziness and bonkers behaviour came really close to being too over the top. It’s easier to be over the top as the villain (like the superb Ewan McGregor did as Black Mask) because people don’t really want to connect with that character. But because all of this zany but brilliant stuff going on with Robbie’s Quinn I found it really hard to connect with her character and fully understand some of her motives. I think they probably needed to flesh her character out a little more.
However Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez and Cassandra Cain’s characters and their performances were sublime and really anchored a somewhat chaotic film into a bit of reality.
Birds of Prey and the and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn has a great ensemble cast and is bonkers, zany, wonderful to look at and a lot of fun.