Birds of Prey (I’m not going to use the full name of the film as it’s ridiculous, so much so that’s apparently been changed) is the first comic book movie to be released this year and sees the return of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn following on from Suicide Squad which finds her striking out on her own having ended her relationship with the Joker.
Tonally it’s opted to for self-referencing type comedy still akin to Deadpool. On the whole it’s very funny a lot of the time and it’s violent without ever being truly gratuitous. The main issue with the humour is that it occasionally takes a pretty scattergun approach and not everything lands. Having said that, there was enough to keep me laughing throughout so this wasn’t a huge problem.
Performance-wise the main cast are all excellent. Robbie is excellent as Quinn, as she was in Suicide Squad, and Ewan McGregor seems to be having the time of his life chewing scenery as Roman Sionis, the villain of the piece. Jurnee Smollett and Rosie Perez are excellent as Black Canary and Renee Montoya respectively but the breakout of the film for me is Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, who gets some very amusing lines to deliver.
In terms of the plot it’s pretty formulaic, someone gets something they shouldn’t and the bad guy wants it back in essence and a group of people come together to form an unlikely team. Definitely not original but it’s largely well-paced. It does lose some momentum around the middle but the last half hour or so is suitably ridiculous enough to make up for all that.
As a comic book geek, I have a couple of complaints about the way certain characters are portrayed – Sionis for example is played a bit too camp to be taken as a truly serious threat whereas in the comics he’s much more ruthless. Cassandra Cain is given an origin as a pickpocket where in the comics she’s a highly trained assassin, though I will say in the context of the film this origin works.
Overall I’d say this fits into what the last few DC films such as Aquaman and Shazam have been, fun standalone films that largely know they’re dumb entertainment and lean into it rather than trying to be something they’re not. It’s weird as the world-building of the previous films felt forced and a blatant attempt to copy the MCU so, in my opinion, it’s a definite plus that the focus just seems to be on making entertaining films.
TBG Score: 7/10