It’s hard not to notice, that the DC films are going through something of a renaissance. Not only are Aquaman and Shazam! critical darlings, Joker has been keeping the award season momentum going with its numerous high-profile wins. Naturally, we were pretty excited for DC Film’s next project, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.
While the premise seems like your standard superhero team-up film, Birds of Prey is really about the story of Harley Quinn above all else. Once again, Margot Robbie nails it as the Cupid of Crime. Whatever your grievance is with 2016’s Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn is undoubtedly the best part of that movie. By focusing on the character growth of Robbie’s Harley, Birds of Prey proves that Harley Quinn is one of DC’s most compelling characters, which is something Suicide Squad only managed to offer a glimpse of.
Much like the recent DC films, it’s apparent that the filmmakers behind Birds of Prey are distancing themselves from the initial batch of DCEU films. Instead of continuing Harley’s story in 2016’s Suicide Squad, the Cathy Yan directed flick opted for a narrative drift, cutting all ties with the aforementioned film as well as Jared Leto’s Joker. Upon reviewing the film, it’s hard not to commend the efforts of the filmmakers for starting fresh.
With candy-coloured visuals and ambitious set pieces, Birds of Prey is gorgeous to look at. On top its captivating aesthetics, the Margot Robbie film also benefits from its hyper-kinetic action sequences. The film also shines with its memorable soundtrack, which is something the DC films have always excelled at. (Except for Suicide Squad and Justice League)
While the film is incredibly entertaining, it does suffer for its poor characterisation towards its supporting characters. By having a sharp focus on Harley, fans of the source may have an issue as to how the other characters (Huntress, in particular) are being side-lined in a team-up film. Ewan McGregor’s Blackmask, though menacing and undeniably charismatic, could’ve benefited with more development.
With its stunning visuals, captivating action sequences and a formidable lead at its centre, Birds of Prey is another win for DC Films. Character development issues aside, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) succeeds in delivering a fun and gorgeous comic book movie.