Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Whilst comic book films aren’t necessarily my area of expertise, I have been known to enjoy a few of them over the years.
Most recently Captain Marvel and Shazam took me by surprise, so I was very keen to see Birds of Prey when it came out too.
Even if your knowledge of these films isn’t great, everyone is aware of Harley Quinn. And it was her role as the main character that really intrigued me, as we’ve had so much focus on The Joker but she’s quite often been pushed to one side.
Margot Robbie’s quirky, no-nonsense portrayal of Harley Quinn is an absolute crowd pleaser, and it’s difficult not to be immediately charmed by her.
In Birds of Prey, we see Harley Quinn following a break up from the Joker (Jared Leto, in this universe). She’s been taken in by Taiwanese restaurant owner Doc, where she lives in an apartment upstairs alongside her pet hyena Bruce (yes, like Batman).
Unsurprisingly, Harley soon finds herself in a very dangerous situation, after young pickpocket Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) steals a diamond from gangster Roman Sionis’ (Ewan McGregor).
Harley ends up promising Sionis that she’ll retrieve the diamond for him, after being kidnapped and threatened with death by ruthless gangster. But he doesn’t make it easy, as he sends other bounty hunters after Cassandra and the diamond.
One very impressive thing about Birds of Prey is the action sequences. I’ve been critical of some in the past due to the fact they go on a bit, but this film knew what it was doing when it came to kicking ass.
Not only did I find the choreography impressive, I also loved the soundtrack and have had it on repeat ever since I discovered it. This all-female, sassy as hell album is the perfect accompaniment to the film, my gym sessions, just about anything.
Of course, this film isn’t just about Harley, and the lives of other women end up intertwining with hers. It’s not just as simple as retrieving a diamond either, as further complications naturally ensue.
A double cross sees her teaming up with Dinah Lance / Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Helena Bertinelli / Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and vigilante cop Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) to save Cassandra and defeat Roman Sionis who soon becomes Black Mask.
Once this team reluctantly teams up, you get a seriously impressive action sequence which is equal parts badass and completely wacky. But that’s the beauty of Birds of Prey, you never quite know what it’s going to do next.
The costume design is just gorgeous, perfectly embodying the flamboyant, often completely nonsensical style of Harley, as well as the dark, mysterious style of Huntress. The kickass wardrobe definitely adds a lot to the film.
I personally loved Huntress the most, as she didn’t really fit in to the world around her and her brooding, awkward personality generated lots of laughs from me. I also kind of related to her in a way…
Whilst I wouldn’t consider this film the strongest comic book adaptation I’ve ever seen, it was definitely an entertaining ride and I had tons of fun watching it.
Birds of Prey is no masterpiece but it’s not trying to be either. It’s very self aware and taps into the wacky, colourful world of Harley Quinn following her split from The Joker.
This film won’t be for everyone but I know that plenty of fans will get a lot of joy out of it. More female-led comic book films please!