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

birds_of_prey.jpg Harley Quinn is certainly the most interesting character in both Suicide Squad films (2016's Suicide Squad and 2021's THE Suicide Squad) with Margot Robbie the only actor appearing in all of them.

In “Birds of Prey” Quinn is no longer under the protection of the Joker as she has just broken up with him. This means that everyone she has annoyed in the past (and there are many) are out to get her. The story begins with Quinn telling her story in animated form, a child from a difficult home being dumped at a Catholic girls school where she was a difficult young woman that eventually got educated and became a psychologist working at Arkham Asylum. It is here she met Joker and fell in love…turning to extreme violence and mania. Helena Bertinelli/Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the sole survivor of the Bertinelli family massacre, is seeking her revenge. Meanwhile, detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) is investigating club owner Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) who is looking for a diamond in which is engraved the bank account details for the Bertinelli fortune. Just as Sionis has the diamond in his grasp it is stolen by the young pickpocket Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). Cass is freed from police custody by Quinn in a blaze of glory who is then forced to team up with both Bertinelli and Montoya as the whole world wants them all dead…

Confusing? Well, yes, a bit and it is particularly amusing as the story unfolds with Quinn, as the narrator, going backwards and forwards in time to explain what is going on “I am getting ahead of myself”. “Birds of Prey” is wonderfully irreverent and fun as it chews though the scenery. Margot Robbie is perfect as the maniac Quinn trying to survive in the world the only way she knows how: Through criminality yet with a touch of humanity that endears her to us. The film looks amazing with some incredible set pieces and absolutely stunning fight sequences. The violence is incredibly visceral yet works quite well for the character. We learn a lot about Harley and realise her violence comes from deep-rooted trauma though we are never asked to feel sympathy for what she has become – This is not a moral lesson, it just goes some way to explain why she is the way she is.

An amazing, fun anti-superhero film that captures the mania of one Harley Quinn.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2022-07-24

Directed by: Cathy Yan

Studio: Clubhouse Pictures (II)

Year: 2020

Length: 109 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure