Birds of Prey: Film Review

I love Margot Robbie in general, but particularly as Harley Quinn, so I was excited to see her reprise the role in Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). And I’m happy to report that it’s a lot of fun.

The film begins with Harley wallowing over her break-up from the Joker (who we never actually see). Being with the Clown Prince of Crime meant Harley had immunity, but now it’s open season, so she has many people she has wronged coming for her, including Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). In exchange for her life, she offers to find Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young pickpocket in possession of a precious diamond. However, she ultimately decides to team up with Helena Bertinelli/Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Dinah Lance/Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) to take down Sionis and save the girl.

Birds of Prey is by no means perfect. It took a while for me to settle into it as the tone and style are a lot to take in at the beginning. The film also jumps around a lot in time, which was fine when the flashbacks served as asides to give a little background about the main characters, but there was a flashback that was so long that I almost forgot it was one. It ruined the pace of the main narrative a little so I feel like that could have been done in a less confusing way.

The film is also very uneven tonally. Robbie’s scenes are very funny, light-hearted and over the top, while the others are more straight and serious, though Winstead and Perez get the occasional laughs. McGregor was also quite funny as the deranged crime lord. The film made me smile pretty much all the time but it could have done with more laugh out loud moments. It’s also such a shame that these women are separate for most of the movie because I loved it when they started working together and that only happens towards the end. I can only hope we get more.

Now onto the positives. Birds of Prey is the most fun and different DC Comics movie so far. It is light, very entertaining and like a breath of fresh air, with fun visual flourishes, asides and an amazing soundtrack. The stunt choreography is absolutely terrific and there are some very creative fight scenes. The sequence of multiple fight scenes in the Gotham City Police Department was a standout, as was the fairground-based finale. The decision to go for an older rating was wise, although it isn’t as violent as Deadpool, for example. There is a lot of swearing and bone-crunching but only one genuinely grim moment.

Robbie is absolutely fantastic. She is clearly having so much fun playing Harley and it’s a delight to watch her as the character. Her voiceover, facial expressions, quirks and her look were just awesome. She is the star of the show, without a doubt. The film is less of an ensemble than Harley with some extra help towards the end, but I’m glad she got the most screentime because she is the most entertaining and interesting. I also thought McGregor was good fun as Sionis, Chris Messina was suitably creepy as his henchman Victor Zsasz, and Smollett-Bell got to showcase her beautiful voice and fighting skills. She was so cool and I loved her outfit.

Please go see Birds of Prey because I want more of these ladies. More DC movies like this, please!

In cinemas Friday 7th February 

Rating: 4/5

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