Review: Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

Told you I’d keep the full title. I kinda like it, just like I actually really enjoyed the hype around this film. The trailers were excellent, well-cut and action-packed, and just knowing that the film would focus on the breakout star of a mediocre Suicide Squad was reason enough to at least buy a ticket. I realize that I’m late to the party on this one (having taken a long break and all), but I thought that I would at least let my voice be heard amidst the cacophony that Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey received. So this review won’t be standard, I will actually keep it relatively short. I did enjoy the movie, but it felt more like a popcorn flick than it did a building block, which I think is what they were intending for it to be (or at least be able to branch out in a couple different directions).
Margot Robbie (Bombshell, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) was fantastic, once again. She fits the role so well and really adds some layers to the character. In Suicide Squad, they mostly played her off as mentally unstable, but I really enjoyed the bar scene the characters shared when they allowed Harley to show some more of her counseling background. And I think that part they really explored more in this film, even if most of it was quick one-liners-blink-and-you-miss-it kind of thing. Her character was able to feel emotions, deal with trauma in a “healthy” way (for her), and make headway into moving forward. Which is really what any of us could hope for in similar life circumstances (again, I should know…I am a licensed counselor).
The remaining cast worked really well together, and I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing them at a later time in better focus, especially The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Gemini Man, 10 Cloverfield Lane). They did great with the little they had, but the real standout among the supporting cast was Ewan McGregor (Doctor Sleep, young Obi-Wan Kenobi), playing the Black Mask. His character was a great villain for this film, but probably wouldn’t have worked in many other plots. He resembles the Joker in a way…a little over-the-top and maniacal at times, but still has a plan in motion. However, this plan was pretty dumb, so maybe he’s not like the Joker at all. Whatever, his character was fun to watch pitted against Harley Quinn, and if there happens to be some sort of sequel to this film that involves Harley, hopefully they write a little more interesting plot. One factor working against a sequel is that Birds of Prey actually didn’t do very well in theatres, grossing around $200 million worldwide off a reported budget of around $85 million (general rule: double the budget to account for marketing and other costs, and then any leftover dollars is a closer representation of how much a film sincerely earns). I suppose only time will tell.
So that’s pretty much all I got for this one. Yes, I enjoyed it, but it’s not a must go see (if it’s even still in theatres…?). Check it out on Netflix or Redbox or whatever once it hits. I would say that “there will be many better films to hit theatres this year,” but now with the global pandemic of Covid-19, that is all up in the air. Many films are choosing to push back release dates, including No Time to Die (delayed until November 25), F9 (delayed until April 2, 2021), and A Quiet Place Part II, Mulan, New Mutants, and Antlers all with unknown new release dates. The two big tent-pole films now in the spotlight are Black Widow (set to release May 1) and Wonder Woman 1984 (set to release June 5). Hopefully the world governments and health organizations can get everything under control before there is irreversible damage to the film industry, but for now that too remains unknown. My prayers go out to anyone already impacted by the virus, and I wish you all good health. Keep your eyes open for upcoming posts, I will press on in my attempt to get caught up a little on the year so far. Thanks for reading, cheers!

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