Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’ll star right at the top and admit that this is a film I’ve been waiting to watch for a long time… BUT not enough to pay a lot for, so when I saw it come out on DVD, I passed it by. When it came to Sky Box Office, I passed it by. However I saw it arrive on Sky Cinema today so I had no reason not to watch it.

I was pretty glad that I didn’t pay £9.99 for it – I can’t lie about that one.

I think that Margot Robbie plays Harley incredibly well and this incarnation of the character which we first saw like this in Suicide Squad is just an absolute joy to watch. She is everything you want from a live action Harley – Sassy, badass, rude, cute, sexy, athletic and batshit crazy! In Suicide Squad (which by the way is a film I thoroughly enjoyed), she’s surrounded by other badasses and you get little sections of Harley – Now that works so damn well!

A stand alone film – which on paper looks like it would tick all the right boxes – doesn’t work quite as well for me!

The sassy rude cuteness turns from a nice break from machismo or a social commentary on badass women are often pushed in to the background by blokes, turns in to a parody of itself and suddenly comes across as… Well to put it nicely – annoying.

You almost want her to either get a male sidekick so that she can keep him on a leash or be the sidekick of a male character for whom she be awesome and then let him take the credit until she has enough and puts him in his place. She’s awesome at putting guys in their place and putting them on their butts but it just doesn’t seem to ever blossom in to the female empowerment movie it should be… It doesn’t help how much of a focus they put on her breakup with the Joker. She should have blown up that damn factory and been done with it right there.

Just let her kick ass! That’s what we want to see!

Speaking of ass kicking’s, there are a lot of fight scenes and they’re all really well choreographed but again I always got left wanting a little more violence and for them to feel a little less like a sketch show. Especially the big climatic scene just feels a bit like Tom & Jerry meets Scooby Doo.

On the other hand I must applaud the number of and execution of broken legs in this film – that’s a real thing of cringe inducing beauty!

As I mentioned right at the top of the review, Margot Robbie is absolutely perfect for the role and the supporting cast is also pretty good for the most part. Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary is an absolute diamond, shining throughout the whole film – you never stop rooting for her, and if anything you want to see more from her! Then Ella Jay Basco for a 14 year old really holds her own throughout, while the due of king pin Black Mask played by Ewan McGregor and Victor Zsasz played by Chris Messina are the perfect mix of crazy and creepy. For me Messina actually stole the show with an absolutely insane performance and incredible makeup.

In contrast I didn’t think Mary Winstead and Rosie Perez necessarily brought their a games to their roles. I do get that Winstead was playing a character who was supposed to be awkward, but she just felt too much like a side-line joke… Which is weird considering how much time they spent on developing her backstory.

I’ll admit that the film as a whole was entertaining. It’s certainly not got many breaks from the action which is always great to see and it’s not short of comedy – which let’s face it is something DC don’t always do well… Usually I’d recommend that they leave the comic relief to Marvel. I did enjoy the film which is certainly very fantabulous – the wardrobe and some of the locations are just incredible. I do really think that considering Margot Robbie pitched an R-rated girl gang movie, it was still a standalone Harley movie where she had a little company and it just felt like the girls could have kicked so much more ass – by doing more than literally just kicking ass.

I want to see them do a sequel but I want to see it get darker, lay off a little bit of the silly and just give Harley a bit of anger! Let her smash faces as well as glass ceilings!

Oh yeah… the hyena called Bruce… Now that’s a nice touch!

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