Film Reviews

Birds Of Prey: And The Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn (2020)

Starring: Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor

Director: Cathy Yan

Harley Quinn (Robbie) and the Joker have broken up, and since she has pissed off a lot of people, everyone in Gotham wants a peice of her. To avoid getting killed by Roman Sionis (McGregor), she offers to get his diamond back from a little girl (Ella Jay Basco) pickpocket who has stolen it and swallowed it. But everyone else is after this girl too.

Suicide Squad was pretty dull fare. Margot Robbie really stole the show in that film, so Harley Quinn’s own spin off film makes a lot of sense, but I really wasn’t expecting much. However, a different director and more interesting characters, and perhaps being a film where women are the focus, as well as more humor all make or a better film.

There’s so much humour and fun in this film. Harley Quinn tells us the story, and the plot moves around on it’s timeline to suit the way she tells a story. This is used to good effect to create her as a madcap character and also to keep the film interesting and moving along. Harley is hilarious. She’s brilliant and bright and also a total train wreck, but always watchable and fun. I think she’s even better here than in Suicide Squad because she’s given more time, or really a whole film, so we really get to spend time with her, so to speak. I love her craziness, her outfits with glitter and caution tape fringing. She’s bombastic and adorable, and yet you can see why, in the films own words, everyone hates her.

She’s joined by a really great cast of women who are incredibly bad ass and also really funny. Rosie Perez is a cop who can’t get ahead, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is ice cold as a woman hell bent on revenge with her cross bow, and Jurnee Smollett is a tough nightclub singer with a killer voice… who can do amazing kicks that take out bad guys while wearing really tight pants. They make up what will become the Birds Of Prey crime fighters, and they are also after the girl, the diamond and taking down Sionis, for their own reasons. They’re all such strong performers and are great at delivering lines, being funny and beating the crap out of goons.

Apart from the shiny visuals and smooth shots, the film has the best fights and action sequences. I like seeing Harley do pretty much anything. I love that she gets a pet hyena. But I really love when she breaks into and out of a police station. It’s such a great sequence. The final “boss fight” in the empty fun park is so good. It’s fast and amazingly choreographed, and uses it’s location beautifully.

I think the relationships betweent the women in this as they slowly come together, eventually teaming up, are what makes this film. It gives the film it’s heart. I feel like action and costuming are super important in making an action film’s aesthetic, which are used well here, but having some real chemistry between characters and a sense of a bond betweent them makes a film memorable. It’s nice to see a film where women care about each other and are teaming up, and not just talking about guys or are the love interest for the guys in the film. This film is so much fun, so wild and colourful, but it’s also kind of about friendship and bonding, in some ways, which is really cool too.

Though I do usually like Ewan McGregor, I think he’s the weakest link in the film. He’s good, but he doesn’t quite manage to get that menacing, sinister thing down. He feels too friendly and not quite dangerous, and you can see that his character is meant to be more psychotic, more changable and frightening. He’s a bit miscast.

On the whole, I know some people felt this film was too chaotic, but I disagree. It’s good fun, wild, full of drama and humour as well as some really good action and fight sequences. It’s better than I thought, and I’m glad that I ended up seeing it. There was a sequel planned, which has since been cancelled, but it seems that we might see more of Harley Quinn and her friends in other films, which will be nice.

See It If: you like fight scenes, female led films, adventure and Margot Robbie. It’s great fun.

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