What's going on, you guys! Kaesen and I saw Birds of Prey The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn or I mean, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey recently. We have a review posted on YouTube and wherever you get your podcasts, but this is a nice spoiler free piece to start with if you haven't seen the movie yet.
To put it simply, this is a very colorful, faithful, and pretty well made adaptation of Harley Quinn. The film is vibrant and energetic enough (most of the time) that it feels like a comic book on screen. Warner Brothers may have found their winning formula with more separated, but still related, adventures. It is risky overall in terms of continuity and world building, but it is nice because you get films such as Joker, Aquaman, Shazam, and this newest one here. All different, but all well done in their own way. Each feels like part of DC, but they have their own unique visions, styles, stories, and themes.
I'm going to stick to a few bullet points in terms of what I liked and didn't like, to make this brief and easy to read, but still conveys my feelings. I will start with the bad and finish up with the good. Gives you all a little... Happy ending ;)
This is definitely a personal thing, but I found the beginning of the film just a little awkward. I'm not sure why, but it took me time to warm up to the world a little. Ewan McGregor's performance felt a little forced in certain early scenes. After about 10 minutes it really started to feel right though. The only Bird of Prey that didn't stand out was Huntress. Now, the performance stood out, but the character did not have much time in this story, so she was ultimately the hardest one to care about. Sure, they give her a backstory, but their wasn't time to dwell on it and really get to know her at all. The film felt as if it was on the verge of being boring. I will elaborate on this a tiny bit more when I praise the film, but it utilized a different structure than usual. I will elaborate on that a tiny bit more when I praise the film, but between flashbacks, I would feel myself falling out of the film, but the splash of energy in these scenes helped me out. Still, the main story should be the scenes I am more interested in, you know? Then again, I'm not sure exactly what about the film that was boring me at times, so that is (once again) more of a personal problem.
Now the positive vibes; I loved Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie IS Harley Quinn. She is really good in the role, has some good ideas for who she is, how she thinks acts and feels, and how to prop her up in a movie. She will appear again in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad and I am excited see her in it! Black Mask, played by Ewan McGregor, is a blast as well! McGregor really seems to relish in a flamboyant and funny, yet somehow still menacing role. I loved the colors and style of the film and it's design. I basically hate Suicide Squad, but I do like that this film just picks right up off of it. Warner Brothers can't run from it's canon and it isn't at the moment, which is respectable. It does some similar things to it's predecessors, but does them better. I thought the soundtrack was inspired. There were a lot of great choices and covers of classic songs that had me cheering internally. I think the film did a nice job of being, rather overtly, feminist and it had a message (louder than a theme), but it wasn't obnoxious. It came across well, so it achieves it's goals while still being welcoming entertainment. The most interesting aspect might be that the film wasn't quite the classic three act structure. Or if it was, it remixed through the placement of certain sequences. Harley Quinn narrated (as she did most of the film) her backstory. She recapped who she and the Joker are and her journey since Suicide Squad and then the film hops in on things. Then throughout the film, we don't get first act character introductions, Harley's story unfolds with flashbacks (narrated by Harley) as needed. I think it was pretty well done and a nice break from the basic superhero or antihero arc.
So, the movie is another solid step for Warner Brothers. It is an overall well done film. I think there is heart and effort behind it with Christina Hodson, Cathy Yan, and Margot Robbie. It doesn't sully up The World's of DC mythology in service of its own success, but it doesn't spend every few seconds trying to build spin-offs or tease the future movies. It is a solid stand alone adventure that gives Harley Quinn her first chance to shine.
Thank you for reading! Go out and see Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey and then check out the full spoiler review on our YouTube channel or wherever you get your podcasts! If you have seen it, drop a comment below (spoiler free please) or start a topic on the forums!