First off, DC Comics is desperately trying to forge a path of its own with films that stray from the comic book norm. There was Joker, a film that garnered two Oscar wins and multiple nominations, including Best Picture which was followed closely by the Joker’s wacky girlfriend’s standalone film debut, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Yeah, the name is a bit long and it, like this movie, was a problem because it never tried to just be simple.
Harley Quinn, of course, is extra and because of that, her movie is destined to be a bit eccentric, and eccentric it was. There were some fun details like whenever Harley Quinn identified for the viewer a person she’s made really angry. The movie would pause, draw something funny around the guy’s (or lady’s) face, draw their name, and detail the reason why they were Quinn’s enemies. That was hilarious because it kept happening.
What wasn’t fun was how hard this movie was trying to be cool.
I get it. Female comic book characters don’t get a lot of standalone movies so when they do get one you want it to be awesome right? Of course, but so much attention was thrust into the idea for this film to feel like the next greatest thing for women since the Women’s March on Washington in 2017 that it wasn’t allowed time to just be a good comic book movie.
The only great thing about this movie is the bad*** broads that occupy its runtime.
I’m talking about Dinah Lance a.k.a the Black Canary who is this beautiful, uber-cool lady who can kick butt, wear cool outfits, and has a scream that can literally kill you. Woah.
You’ve got Huntress, a super-cool motorcycle-riding-crossbow-wielding assassin who hasn’t been given much of a personality yet but it doesn’t matter because she’s too cool not to like.
There’s Renee Montoya, a serious detective-turned-founder-of-the-all-female-vigilante-crew called the Birds of Prey. Wow, she’s cool.
And then we have Harley Quinn herself, the wacky, eccentric, Joker-girlfriend who just so happens to have some of the best action scenes that I’ve seen in any comic book movie and has quite the lovable wardrobe. She was pretty much the only thing I liked about Suicide Squad and once again, she proved to be an interesting character by holding her own with her own movie.
Like I said before, the women in this movie are awesome with a capital A and each of them totally deserves more of their story to be told but that’s not where this film’s weakness lies.
(Before I continue I would just like to give a shoutout to Ewan McGregor for another memorable performance as the villain, Black Mask. He could’ve been forgettable like Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy but there was something special about McGregor’s portrayal that’ll keep him in my mind.
I really wish we could’ve gotten more time with him as Black Mask but the movie just wouldn’t slow down to try to mold him as a complex or even really cool antagonist.)
It’s the terrible plot that leaves one pretty much uninvested as the story bounces from here to here without giving you much time to breathe or to care. Harley Quinn has to be the hero of this story so she’s turned into The Mandalorian of sorts as she takes care of a kid who’s being chased by bad guys. That’s kind of a shame because this is Harley Quinn we’re talking about here. Can’t she just be…unapologetically bad? Like Joker?
The action scenes were cool. I liked the fluidity as well as the idea that these are just plain women with decent fighting skills fighting dumb guys. Their movements feel a tad bit slow as they get more and more tired with each wave of baddies but they still manage to kick that you know what.
The music feels like it’s trying too hard to be cool. There’s even one song whose title I think was “Mother******” toward the end of the movie that left me feeling like, “Okay, we get it. Women are awesome and it’s nice to be independent. Just stop the cursing already.”
Oh…speaking of cursing. I think there are at least fifty F-bombs in this movie, some warranted but at least 85% of the F-bombs didn’t need to be used. I understand that the writer of this story was pushing for an adult film but sometimes excessive cursing takes away from the movie’s enjoyment.
All in all, I feel the film should’ve been PG-13. I have a feeling it would’ve been way more fun (it definitely would’ve made more money) and its message of girl power could’ve been more widespread. Besides, I’ve seen a lot of great superhero movies that are PG-13. Just look at The Dark Knight. The PG-13 rating didn’t stop that film from being disturbing or absolutely riveting now did it?
Ultimately, Birds of Prey is yet another female comic book movie that I’ve rated with 7 out of 10 stars on IMDb. Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, and now this film that I’ve just reviewed have each had their shining moments but they just weren’t great movies.
Wonder Woman put too much of the spotlight on Steve Trevor than Diana. Captain Marvel is a basic origin story with action scenes that are both memorable and forgettable at once. And Birds of Prey is simply trying too hard to be cool.
I’m giving this movie a dismal 3.5 out of 5 stars and 85 out of 100.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.