Helmed by Cathy Yan, this movie is based on an amalgamation of a few DC Comics graphic novels, featuring beloved characters played by Margot Robbie, Jurnie Smollett-bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor, and Rosie Perez.
Premise: A twisted tale told by Harley Quinn herself, when Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.
Review: Birds of Prey is essentially an Harley Quinn movie with some sidekicks. It’s pretty good. The movie has some redeeming qualities, because the best things about it is sort of brought down by the bad ones to settles smack in the middle of that line, or the hedge of that cliff that would make it a bad movie.
The story is just ok, it’s nothing to write ad nauseam about, but it has enough little gems that with some “more” work, it could have been a stellar script. The fact the story is told out of order is not a problem but it’s actually one of the good things about it. It goes well with the tone of Harley. There are moments in the film that doesn’t make sense even if the action is amazing at times.
I’m not too familiar with the comic book counterparts of some of the characters featured in the film so maybe my impressions on the actor’s portrayal is skewed. Let’s talk start with the good ones, Jussie Smollett-bell as Dinah Lance / Black Canary is amazing, she’s likable, believable and very good in the rôle even if she’s a bit short-changed by the script. Chris Messina is so good as Victor Zsasz that you forget the lovable guy from The Mindy Project or whatever other role you’ve seen him in.
Ewan McGregor was good but cringy at times, he’s one of the ones where I’m asking myself if my lack of knowledge on his character, Black Mask, might be the problem. Besides, I thought the guy was suppose to be queer. There was some queer coding between him and Zsasz but that’s an outdated ploy to placate to the queer community with this semblance of representation that I’m going to pretend it wasn’t there in the first place.
As for Cassandra Cane the actress is nice and all but grossly miscast knowing what I know about the character. Rosie Perez is kind of wasted in this movie because her presence doesn’t bring much. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead is simply weird and awkward as Huntress and again maybe it’s me not knowing the character too well or it’s the way she chose to play the character? The story doesn’t help her, her weapon of chose, the crossbow, has no meaning behind and looked out of place. Margot Robbie is a good Harley Quinn but Kaley Cuoco is so good in the animated show that Robbie pales a bit in comparison.
The thing I liked the most in this movie was the action, there’s not enough of it but what’s there, is entertaining as hell. Now Harley Quinn makes sense in a fight; Black Canary is so badass that her ability becomes an afterthought. The fighting styles are effective and suits these two characters. The cinematography is pretty cool as well.
Birds of Prey leans into Suicide Squad in areas it should avoid it like the plague. There’s enough good for a somewhat satisfying one and done viewing.