I am finally back and writing more movie reviews after nearly a year of hiatus. I am sorry if there were anyone who actually were hoping on hearing my opinions about the films from last year, but I hope I can begin to make it up to you. For the first film of 2020, I watched Birds of Prey, and it was pretty amazing.
Lately, DC films have been having a wonderful time. Despite the mess that is the DC expanded universe, the past few films have been successful crafting their own standalone stories. From Shazam! all the way to the Joker, DC is building its own amazing selection of films that encompass a large spectrum; and thanks to numerous other successes in the superhero genre, Birds of Prey emerges into the fray with a swagger that is unrivaled in DC’s line-up giving it one of the best set-pieces, the best cast, and the best direction towards any other superheroine films.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) comes after the breakup of Joker and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Harley does not realize immediately though how many people want to kill now that she has none of Joker’s protection. She now has to face one of the largest crime bosses of Gotham along with nearly every thug in the city itching to get her. However, with her newfound liberty, Harley’s story and character is able to be fleshed out as her own person with her own captivating story to tell.
For most people, Harley Quinn has always been just the girlfriend of Joker who has just been taking his abuse for so long. However, Harley Quinn has always been a brilliant woman on her woman with a PhD to boot: only driven mad working with the Joker in Arkham. In other mediums (e.g. animation and video games), Harley has already successfully become more independent and has effortlessly stood out from the crowd already. Director Cathy Yan clearly understands this as the film rushes to remove Joker from the picture in its first act. The only problem now is that Harley herself still doesn’t know this. The remaining acts of the film letting her discover that she deserves her own spotlight and that she is so much better on her lonesome—well, maybe with a little help from some friends does not hurt.
While clearly Harley Quinn still has the spotlight, the actual Birds of Prey also come into the limelight and have their lives entangled with the manic Harley. The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) getting into the mix as the story develops from all of Harley Quinn’s high jinx and the common hate towards a single enemy. Their chemistry with one another is undeniably amazing lacking only more time to explore their stories better with its fanatic pace. They prove themselves a capable team as they fight against the terrifying Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) and psychotic Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina) in few of the most entertaining fight scenes in a superhero film: that is more reminiscent with the John Wick films rather than other superhero films. Director Cathy Yan envisioning the John Wick franchise for her action sequences. Reaching out to the franchise director himself, Chad Stahelski, she crafted the same sense of both practicality and style in each fight scene: mixing the craft of practical stunt work with the long beautifully choreographed takes. The finale, in particular, showing off what each heroine offers is easily one of the film’s finest moments.
In conclusion, Birds of Prey is an absolute treat. The only shame is that there is not anymore of it. Definitely the better of the DC films. It does not do anything revolutionary towards the genre, yet it still provides it own fun with its energy from an amazing lead and its adrenaline-filled action. The film serves as another landmark for female-led superhero films. It is more proof any superhero or superheroine film can be fun and exciting when given to the right hands.