Movie Point Of Lou – Birds Of Prey
Hey remember Suicide Squad?? yeah neither do I, it was a crap fest, but the one bright spot to come out of it was Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn, and while the best parts of her performance never made it onto the screen (seriously, go on YouTube and watch the deleted scenes they are great, and I have NO idea why they cut them) she still did justice to the character, which is more than I can say about anyone else in that turd. So OF COURSE Warner Brothers / DC was going to strike while the proverbial iron was hot and put her front and center of her own movie, and make no mistake while the movie was titled “Birds of Prey and the blah blah blah….” it was for all intents and purposes a Harley Quinn movie.
Before we begin I think it’s important to note that this is NOT the classic Batman The Animated Series Harley, or even the Arkham series Harley, this is squarely the post New 52 Harley, and they draw MASSIVE inspiration from the framework laid down by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner. Now doing justice to her level of lunacy and brilliance is no easy task, as too far in either direction can unbalance the character, but director Cathy Yan does a pretty darn good job of illustrating (through the use of fun cartoon graphics, inner monologue, and time jumps) how her broken mind works. She at times seems almost “normal” and completely sane, but in the next moment she is completely off the reservation. Yan also does a great job of balancing the mix of humor and extreme violence that the character has become synonymous for, and no better scene illustrates this than her assault on the GCPD with a grenade launcher shooting glitter, colored gas, and beanbags.
As far as Yan’s treatment of the actual Birds of Prey I have to say I am mixed, it’s not that they were poorly done, it’s just that they almost seemed like an afterthought in the grand scheme of things and were pretty “Tropey” (is that even a word?) Renee Montoya was a heavy drinking, street weary detective passed over for too many promotions, Dinah was a metahuman scared of using her powers and living under the radar, and Helena was the orphan out for revenge, as a matter of fact it was Helena who’s origin was actually closest to their comic’s counterpart, (post Crisis On Infinite Earth’s) and while I don’t necessarily agree on Yan’s take on her personality, Mary Elizabeth Winsted did such a fine job with her limited time, that I actually came to enjoy her take on the character by the end. I would have hoped that in a movie entitled “Birds Of Prey” that they would have spent more time fleshing them out, but hopefully IF there is a sequel (and with the movie under performing it isn’t a sure thing) they can actually spend more time with them.
And do I really have to mention Ewan McGregor? I mean by this point in his career can we not all agree that he was fantastic as always?? Honestly if you find fault in this movie I dare you to try an explain to me how in any way it was related to his portrayal of Roman Sionis, as it was damn near flawless for what he was asked to do.
Oh quick sidebar: it may fly under the radar, but Chris Messina’s Victor Zsasz was low key great. Kind of like how everyone overlooked Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent in “The Dark Knight” because… Heath Ledger, Messina was absolutely on point, and I hope more people give him the appreciation he deserves.
All in All I have to give Warner / DC credit for at least trying something different, while Marvel (rightfully so) gets a rep for having very formulaic and vanilla movies, Birds Of Prey is most certainly not that. Leaning HARD into it’s R rating, the movie has plenty of swearing, over the top violence, a killer soundtrack, and some beautifully choreographed fight scenes. It’s nice to see that DC Warner is at least attempting to learn from their past mistakes and trying to put the right people in the best possible situation to succeed, and NOT interfering like they did so many times before, and lo and behold it appears to be working, as with the addition of “Birds Of Prey and blah blah blah” (seriously that name is too long) the DCEU seems to finally be hitting it’s stride, hell some might say that they are even on a win streak as of late.
Do I recommend the movie? hell I don’t see why not, DC basically copied Deadpool’s tone and ripped off the plot from “Snatch” and everyone LOVED those, so I don’t see why people wouldn’t appreciate this. It’s fun, irreverent, violent, and it moves at a breakneck pace, the 1:49 run time melted away, and at no point did I feel that the movie dragged. Honestly I can say it was a good time, and if you don’t feel like plunking down the $$$ to see it in the theater, maybe check it out on video when it comes out, as it’s at the very least, worthy of a viewing.
Until Next Time Everyone,
Be Good To Your Fellow Nerd,
Update: Within hours of me posting this review, WB announced that they are changing the name of the movie to “Harley Quinn: Birds Of Prey” first of all that SHOULD have been the name to begin with, secondly I guess I spoke too soon about them not bungling the damn movie.