The first trip to the movies in 2020 was not ideal. Turns out the Birds of Prey doesn’t have much wind beneath their wings, as DC continues to find their footing.
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.
People will do drastic things to fit in with the popular crowd. Change their hair, wear different clothes, even adapt to a new speech. The same can be said for the movie industry. Dating all the way back to the beginning of the DCEU, and even at that time, WB didn’t really know what they were doing. It wasn’t until they decided to go ahead with BvS and I truly believe that was never their original plan before the release of Man of Steel. Since then it’s been a rollercoaster, to say the least. Sure, they’ve made plenty of money, but the reception from not only critics but fans has been divided. There were a few standouts, mostly surrounding the casting of key characters in this rich and diverse universe. One, in particular, was none other than Harley Quinn herself, with the casting of Margot Robbie. So after Suicide Squad came and went it was only a matter of time before she got her own solo flick, and I’m going to be perfectly honest, WB once again dropped the ball.
Birds of Prey. Say that to any random moviegoer, and they will shake their head with curiosity and slight confusion. Unless you are a major DC fan or know the deep lure of the comics, it’s hard to put people in seats, when the average ticket buyer doesn’t know who the Birds of Prey really are. Sure they were marketing the shit out of Harley Quinn, but the movie was about so much more, and I thought they did a poor job at executing a well-put-together game plan on how to market this film. Harley Quinn has big as she is, well, she’s not Batman, or Superman or even Wonder Woman, DC’s biggest star at the moment. So if you’re going to center a film around a team of female super-heroes, why not let us all know who exactly we will be rooting for when we go purchase our tickets.
I’ll admit, BOP can be a ton of fun in moments, and the chemistry between all of the ladies is terrific. Quinn (Margot Robbie) Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) Black Canary (Jurnee Smollet-Bell) Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). When they are all finally teaming up and kicking some butt, it’s entertaining, but it’s certainly not enough to save the entire film. One of the big issues I had with this film, is the lack of backstory we get for any of our characters. Mostly Black Mask (Ewen McGregor) and Black Canary. This movie just expects you to know who these people are and give us very little insight into how they arrived at their place in Gotham. For instance, Black Mask is a pretty great Batman villain, and McGregor is a terrific actor, but they give us no explanation to his name, or why he likes to wear masks, and most importantly, why he dawns his iconic “black mask.” That is a little scene they needed to shuffle into the film. Much like Black Canary, who does, in fact, have a superpower, and when she finally uses it, they don’t explain how or why she is able to do that. fans that know the character, sure, but for the people meeting her for the first time, might be a little confused. It’s just things like that, for me, that bogged down the film.
The film takes a while to get going. Slowly introducing our new female heroes. Huntress really steals the show, and she’s barely even in the thing, which shocked me, to be honest. It just feels all over the place, where random circumstances are leading all these ladies to finally meet up. This wanted to be Deadpool so badly, they decided to go with an R-Rating, which was a massive mistake in my mind. This is a film that wants to be hardcore but doesn’t need to be. That wants to drop ‘F-Bombs’ throughout and they didn’t have to. Harley is breaking the 4th wall, and that’s fine, but the cursing was so forced and just felt awkward at times. It could have benefited more with a lesser rating and kept the action pretty much the same. There is one sequence inside of Gotham Police Headquarters that was the highlight of the film, featuring a really cool fight in one of the cell blocks with Harley.
This just wasn’t the proper next movie for this important character and not having Joker involved was weird. I know Jared Leto might be done, but you got to slip him in for one scene. Because if he doesn’t exist anymore in the DCEU, then I’m not sure why this movie needed to be made? The whole concept and idea behind the film are based on the fact that she and Mr. J just broke up.
I’ll leave it with this. It’s fantastic that a movie like this gets to be made in 2020. An all-female lead comic book movie. Directed by a woman (Cathy Yan) who crafted a pretty unique experience and written by a woman (Christina Hodson). That doesn’t mean it gets a free pass and shouldn’t be criticized. I just didn’t really like the direction that they took Harley in. This for me isn’t the Harley I want to see in live-action. There’s no reason for her to be foul-mouthed the way she’s portrayed here. Again, I think WB thought the R-Rating would benefit this character, wherein all reality, I think it just dumbed her down. For me, go back and watch Batman The Animated Series, where it all began with this character. That’s the true Harley Quinn and the one we deserve on the big screen. Can we get her in the traditional Jester outfit already?
Birds of Prey = 60/100