Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) has a better movie in it somewhere, but its well executed aesthetic, riotous action scenes, and solid cast elevate it enough to be a disposable yet enjoyable popcorn flick.
When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.
While its easy to dismiss BOP as a typical blockbuster flick, its self aware enough to know what its selling and does it well.
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is a fast-paced gleefully destructive movie that doesn’t dwell on weighty moral lessons. It is an unruly and propulsive effort with a comic energy that mirrors the anarchic force of its lead character.
The action-driven script is elevated by creative long takes and details – Harley breaks into GCPD with a fireworks-inspired gun, Huntress repeatedly stabs a goon while sliding in a tunnel, and Black Canary ties her hair mid-fight. It doesn’t give much in terms of characterization, but none of its female cast are as asininely used as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad.
It’s almost okay that the movie is clunky because of its aesthetic. Birds of Prey shines when Margot Robbie is onscreen. Unfortunately, Harley Quinn’s story keeps getting derailed by a contrived subplot that should’ve had its own origins story. There’s a better movie in here, where she is let loose and justifies its R-rating. There’s no problem with the supporting cast in terms of performance, they just keep getting thrown in by a timeline-hopping narration that prevents Harley from being more than just crazy.
Still, there’s some fun to be had and potential to explore. Tying BOP to Harley Quinn can set the stage for more movies. And having more diverse voices in the superhero genre is not only hilarious in Twitter for the drama, but also prevents it from turning into a complete homogeneous bore.
PS In case someone’s still arguing, BOP is neither a flop nor a hit.
My Rating: 6.5/10