Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn
review by Bobby Blakey
Despite the success of 2016s Suicide Squad there were some who felt let down in the overall film. I loved the movie and even more so Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn which is a character I am not overly fond of. Now she is back in the role for the film with the ridiculous long title Birds of Prey and The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn starring Ewan McGregor, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, and Chris Messina. Could this female empowered new addition to the DC Universe deliver or will it be an emancipation not worth fighting for?
Birds of Prey and The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn follows a twisted tale told by Harley Quinn herself, when Gotham's most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya's paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down. The film co-stars Ewan McGregor, Rosie Perez, Ali Wong, and Chris Messina.
I was not sold on most of the trailers when they started hitting, but my love for Robbie and the rest of the cast kept me optimistic. Not only did it work, it was a hell of a lot more fun than I expected. Thanks to the formula of Deadpool and the accepted R rating of recent successes like Joker this film was allowed to cut lose and not only carve its own niche in the genre, but perfectly capture the chaotic persona of Harley Quinn. While DC and Warner has seemingly ditched their cinematic connected universe they are still keeping the small elements intact reminding you of things that came before including numerous nods to Suicide Squad.
The beginning of the film wastes no time diving right in to get everyone up to
speed to what Quinn has been up to and the break up between her and Mr. J. This is so fast paced it might lose some, but for me worked great minus a couple of strange jumps in the editing that needed to be smoothed out. Once it gets past this the movie shines giving every character a set up through Quinn’s narration in her own words and bringing the story together with all the players. The cast are all great with Robbie once again killing it as Quinn. She clearly is having a blast with the role and hope we get to keep getting more of her in the future.
McGregor chews up every scene as Black Mask and looks like he is loving every minute of it. I wasn’t sure I would dig him in the role from the trailer, but he is one of the better cinematic comic villains in some time. The trio of Perez, Smollet-Bell and Winstead all do a great job with their roles and while the versions are a bit altered managed to work as a good origin to the team as well as the overall intro to them in the DC universe. My biggest gripe as been the visuals of Messina as Zsasz but I was wrong. He does great with the character and has one of the more brutal sequences of the film.
If I had any complaints outside of the editing issues early on it would probably be with Basco’s version of Cassandra Cain. Comic fans know the character as both Batgirl and Orphan, but here she is pretty much just a random kid. Make no mistake she is great in the role and it works great, but knowing the character she just felt off. I am hoping they are using this as a platform to grow her into more in the future which would then make way more sense. One of the biggest surprises was the action and there is plenty of it. The fight sequences are insanely good and keeps upping their game with each one.
I had a blast with this film and can’t wait to check it out again. Hopefully this is just the beginning of the Birds of Prey as I would love to see them kick more ass in the future.
In addition to the film this digital release offers up bonus content including a gag reel and featurettes on bringing the world of the DC Sirens to life. Step into the insane world of Birds of Prey and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is available now on Digital, 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.