Birds of Prey: and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Quick Reviews/Worth a Watch

Directed by Cathy Yan

Written by Christina Hodson

Based on Birds of Prey by Jordan B. Gorfinkel & Chuck Dixon and Harley Quinn by Paul Dini & Bruce Timm

Starring Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, & Ewan McGregor

Release Date: February 7, 2020

Running Time: 1hr 49min

Rating: R

Harley Quinn (Robbie) has left Joker, and now faces the wrath of every lowlife in Gotham City that she’s wronged (which is a very long list!). This includes sadistic crime lord, Roman Sionis aka Black Mask (McGregor), who’s dealing with a vigilante called Huntress (Winstead), that’s taking out rival crime lords. Meanwhile, Gotham City police detective, Renee Montoya (Perez), is trying to gather evidence on Sionis, with inside information from Dina Lance aka Black Canary (Smollett-Bell) who works as a singer at one of his clubs. All parties collide when a diamond that can lead to a vast fortune is stolen by teenage pickpocket, Cassandra Cain (Basco), and Sionis puts a large bounty on her head.

The film received praise from critics for its visual style, humor, and the performances of Robbie and McGregor, but criticism for the perceived lack of depth. I wasn’t sure at first what to think of the film when I first heard it was coming out. DC movies have been very much a hit or miss for me (I’ve only enjoyed Wonder Woman and Shazam so far), plus I was worried this would be another case of Harley Quinn (one of my favorite characters) being simply used as a sex object and saying unfunny one liners.

Thankfully, those fears were unnecessary, as this film is genuinely funny and exciting! I’m glad that Robbie got to play the role with some semblance of depth and she wasn’t just there to look good. I also like how they not only include her psychiatrist background but also have her using it by occasionally pointing out the personality traits of certain characters. The rest of the cast is also solid, especially McGregor who’s clearly having tons of fun in the villain role, being both hilarious and menacing.

Rosie Perez is her usual badass self as Montoya, which can be also said about the other female costars, with Jurnee Smollett-Bell not only being tough as nails as Black Canary, but also showing off an impressive set of pipes (in more ways than one). Ella Jay Basco has a bright future in film, she’s only 13 but plays off well against the older, more experienced cast. The action scenes are well shot and staged, maybe there’s a bit overuse of slow motion here and there, but I’m still glad I can see what’s going on. Also color! It’s not all grey and gloomy! Should you see it? For sure!

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