DC’s latest film is Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) a film that was driven by Margot Robbie after first playing Harley Quinn on 2016’s Suicide Squad and directed by Cathy Yan. This film takes place in a few days following Harley and the Joker breaking up as Harley gets tangled up with a number of other women across Gotham City.
This film is an absolute blast. I would pitch it as the tone of Deadpool meets the crime caper story of Snatch with the heavily stylised violence of something like John Wick or Atomic Blonde. It all comes together to create a highly entertaining film that stands on its own just as well as Harley herself does. Sure the plot is a bit of a mess, when you’re having such a blast along the way that is quickly forgotten and you just enjoy the ride.
And at the heart of that ride is Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. She was one of the brightest spots from Suicide Squad, and is the standout once again in Birds of Prey. The insane and unpredictable ball of charisma at the heart of the film. She’s so funny and completely embodies Harley. Whilst also managing to bring a real heart to the character who is hitting one of her lowest points.
And all the supporting cast are great. Jurnee Smollett-Bell who plays Black Canary and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress are both fantastic, and I would happily see them develop these characters more in sequels. But it’s Ewan McGregor as the villainous Black Mask, a crime lord with a grudge against Harley and her associates. He’s so over the top, but in a way that completely matches the manic energy of the film.
What I really wasn’t expecting from Birds of Prey was just how good the action sequences would be. The action comes pretty thick and fast, and tends to be really interesting and varied. There’s a stunning three part action sequence in a police station that’s brilliantly choreographed and heavily stylised. They’re also incredibly violent, with plenty of moments that will make you wince. It’s fair to say that director Cathy Yan did a wonderful job.
This just feels so different from any other comic book movie out there, let alone other DC movies, and in an era where comic book films can start to feel more and more homogenized that’s great. It feels lower stakes, more personal, and just a bright and energetic ride with a great cast of characters.