Birds of Prey
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
A twisted tale told by Harley Quinn herself, 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.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Hilarious, fun, hyper-violent and a vibing soundtrack - Birds of Prey is everything that the dreadful Suicide Squad should have been. With an almost all-women cast, helmed by a female director and a female writer, it seems like women are the ones swooping in to save the DC Cinematic Extended Universe. While some cite that the film lacks ‘depth’, I would like to counter that with the fact that this is Harley Quinn - a chaotic tornado that destroys everything without any real concept of consequences - she’s never been the type to stop and analyse what her actions mean deep down. Just because she’s a woman does not mean she has to be constantly dealing with her inner emotional turmoil - sometimes girls just want to have fun.
Following her escape from prison at the end of Suicide Squad - busted out by Joker - Harley Quinn finds herself all alone in the world - one where everyone is trying to kill her. But she isn’t the only one looking for freedom from a man’s world.
While they are very different, Margot Robbie’s Harley is similar to that of Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool - you can’t really imagine anyone else playing the role, and both actors have an intense passion to bring these eccentric characters to life on the big screen. Robbie was also the producer for Birds of Prey and spent a few years working on the project until Warner Brothers finally gave the green light - a studio that so far is slowly one-upping Marvel/Disney when it comes to gender diversity among their superheroes/villains. Cathy Yan and Christina Hodson - the phenomenal director and writer that helmed it - crafted a brilliant action movie where women aren’t subjected to butt shots and a prolific male gaze. In one fight scene, Black Canary’s hair is all over the place, and Harley gives her a hair tie - in that one moment, every woman in the audience suddenly felt seen by Hollywood.
But Harley doesn’t carry the weight of this movie on her shoulders like Deadpool did in his. She is surrounded by other great women - all with a penchant for violence but motivated by various agendas - including the nuanced Black Canary, an angry cop with no apologies, The Huntress with a twinge of awkwardness and a young thief who suddenly finds herself surrounded by strong women to look up to - albeit dodgy role models. They begrudgingly work as a team without the idiotic ego that comes with superhero men, but still dominates all the action. This is probably the best fight choreography out of all the DCU movies - including Wonder Woman - amped up by the fact that the movie’s R-Rated. Expect to see legs breaking, balls getting busted and a lot of head injuries - all courtesy of the same team behind John Wick’s groundbreaking stuntwork.
And what’s a great superhero movie without a great villain - Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask might be one of his best roles yet - narcissistic, paranoid, possessive and every woman’s worst nightmare. One of DCEU’s biggest issues is that they haven’t properly cracked the villain code yet, and we finally have a nemesis that you can hate on a good level. McGregor continues to be one of my favourite actors - a chameleon that outperforms in every role he’s in.
But don’t worry men - Birds of Prey can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of their gender identity. Its everything you want out of an unorthodox superhero movie where madness is celebrated and unfettered violence helps you forget about the violence in real life - the perfect anti-Valentine’s Day movie.