Film Review: Birds of Prey…

…and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

Birds of Prey

The Synopsis
After an explosive announcement Gotham City that she is no longer Mr J’s woman – every person with a personal vendetta and grievance with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) comes at her with everything they’ve got. At the top of the list, eager to make Harley his is crime lord, Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor).

Getting chased grows old for Harley fast, and so seeing a chance to gain back some protection from every Tom, Dick and Harry with an AK47 or stick of dynamite, she agrees to recover the missing Bertinelli Family Diamond for Sionis, which would see him at the head of criminal underground of Gotham.

Birds of Prey

What my cinema companion said:
That was so good! […] I think liked it better than Aquaman to be honest

The Good
I should just tell you now that I didn’t like this movie. Sure there were one or two good fight sequences that I didn’t feel like I could see the choreography. Yes I thought Chris Messina did a fantastic job, and was arguable the best actor in the movie for his embodiment of the creepy Victor Zsasz, I loved Harley’s Hyena, Bruce, and I admit the transition in the continuation of the events from Suicide Squad was done smoothly.

Crossbow Killer aka Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) was cool but we didn’t really get much time with her for me to say much more than that.

And that pretty much sums up what I liked about the movie. You’ll notice that what was missing was anything to do with story, character or structure.

Birds of Prey

The Bad
There is a lot to unpick for me about what I didn’t like about this movie, but I have a word limit so I’ll try and keep it brief.

I understand Harley is a bonkers, yet introspective and highly intelligent woman but these traits funnelled out in Birds of Prey as chaos for the sake of chaos, with a sprinkling of luck and coincidence. It was frustrating to watch as things happened to her instead of her being an instigator of the things that happened.

Also on Harley Quinn, I though she spoke way too much and honestly there was no reason for her voice over’s (I didn’t mind the breaking the forth wall parts as that seemed apt with her character) and in general there was a lot of unnecessary explaining. I literally cringed when she said ‘The only way is to work together’. Like – no shit.

Another character I just couldn’t warm to was Detective Rene Montoya (Rosie Perez). Her character only seemed to be half formed. She was building a case against Sionis, had a partner that for some reason didn’t respect her and was and alcoholic (which we only saw proof of twice). She also just didn’t sit right within the team because she was old enough to be everyone’s mother – and that’s not a bad thing. What I thought was irritating is that it wasn’t mentioned once even as a joke.

My goodness Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis was just terrible. His direction seemed to be: Just think; over the top wealthy gangster businessman with a little camp, but a dash of violence to over set that so no one thinks you’re gay and we’ll go from there. His ‘I want to be the big boss bad guy’ was cliche, without any attempt at originality to it, and was it me or did everyone already know he was Black Mask? And if so what was the point of the alter ego? The mask didn’t hide the fact Sionis was a terrible person. We already knew that.

Finally, Black Canary. Before you start on me, I actually really liked her character and Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Dinah Lance. My issue is with her power. I really didn’t think about this until I started writing this review but if you don’t know anything about the character then there was absolutely zero context given for her banshee screech. I felt like the writers relied on the majority of the audience knowing who she is from various adaptations (me being one of them) so skipped the explanation part.

Birds of Prey

The Conclusion
Birds of Prey wanted to be cooler than it actually was and it shows. However there are so many mixed reviews about this movie so I won’t tell you whether or not to go an see it.

All I will say is to just prepare yourself to either be delighted or disappointed.

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