Birds of Prey review
When you consider movies like The Avengers, Justice League, and Guardians of the Galaxy, it shows that audiences love their group hero movies. They love watching their favorite characters interacting and trying to work with each other to take down whatever their facing. It's something that we've seen in comics for a while, but only now is it being embraced. Some of it was copyrights, but the real reason is because these movie are more popular now then ever. It doesn't even have to be superheroes; villains can have as much popularity. Especially when you consider how much controversy Joker got, but it still was a hit with audiences and critics.
Another villain who's had a lot of success is Harley Quinn. She's a fairly recent character, who made her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series and not the comics first. But she's been so well liked that she's become a vital part of the DC comics. She also happened to be a highlight of 2016's Suicide Squad. While the reception was mixed (and I agree), most people agreed that Margot Robbie captured the psychotic nature of the clown woman whose love-struck with the Joker (and we're talking about Jarred Leto's Joker). Let's see if she can carry things on her own with Birds of Prey.
Sometime after Suicide Squad, the Joker has officially dumped Harley Quinn (played by Margot Robbie) and cast her out. She makes it official for Gotham (and it's underbelly crime families) by blowing up Ace Chemicals. Without her "Puddin", she tries to move forward including taking up roller derby and spending her nights partying at clubs. But she also finds herself a constant target of people she wronged. Some are simple injuries, and others are crime lords who take advantage of that Joker is no longer protecting her.
At the same time, a young girl Cassandra (played by Ella Jay Basco) ends up pickpocketing a diamond that has a large bank account number imprinted. She too becomes a target from a lot of people, not no one more then local crime lord Roman Sionis/Black Mas (played by Ewan McGregor). He succeeds in capturing Harley Quinn, but she makes a deal for him to spar her if she can find Cassandra. When she does locate Cassandra, she has already swallowed the diamond. Harley not only takes the position to protect her, but she also gets help from other women, Huntress (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and detective. Renee Montoya (played by Rosie Perez).
For a movie called Birds of Prey, it sure does focus a lot on Harley Quinn. To be fair, Margot Robbie is still pulling in all the right punches to play this character. The movie does go into her background as a former psychologist and uses it to her advantage when dealing with Cassandra or Black Mask. That might explain why most of the marketing has been on her and not on the other women.
Because of this, the movie takes a while to get going as some of the other Birds of Prey don't come in for at least twenty-five minutes. They don't even get together as a team until towards the final act. But because the movie puts most of the focus on Harley Quinn, you don't much of a chance to know a lot of the other heroes. I would have loved to know more about Huntress or Black Canary. They're played by phenomenal actresses and could have potential. One of the bigger highlights is Ewan McGregor who is having a blast as this gangster who seems more like an evil fashion critic.
I have to give Birds of Prey credit for at least having a nice looking production. Director Cathy Yan knows how to set up a world that's just as colorful as Harley Quinn's attitude. The sets from Black Mask's lair to the funhouse where a major fight happens, does leave a bigger impression then I expected. I'd say the film is still entertaining if your willing to except it's more of a Harley Quinn movie then a Birds of Prey movie. I think most audiences will be more forgiving of that then anything.
I'll give this three Harley Quinns out of five. If the movie did make a mistake, was that it went for the R rating, despite Suicide Squad being a PG-13. I can't say there's a lot to justify the R rating other then more language, the movie is worth a rental or stream. I just can't go crazy enough to recommend it for a theatrical release.