Birds of Prey
AKA 'Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Immancipation of One Harley Quinn', or, by the time I'm writing this, is now on IMDb as 'Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey', which is probably the most accurate title for the film, since it's far more a Harley Quinn film than a story about the Birds of Prey. But I digress. To be perfectly honest, I didn't have very high hopes for this. But I'm happy to say that I was mostly pleasantly surprised... mostly.
This one takes place after Harley (Margot Robbie) and the Joker (Sir not-appearing-in-this-film) break up, no doubt an extra effort on DC's part to ditch the God awful Jared Leto Joker (and to make it clear, Jared Leto is a fine actor, but his Joker is among one of the most screwed up characters in superhero movie history). In a fit of rage, and wanting closure on the subject, Harley does anything from adopt a Hyena from a black market pet shop (and name it Bruce) to blow up the Ace Chemicals factory, where the Joker "made her". So they keep the continuity from 'Suicide Squad'.
Word spreads fast that the breakup has happened, and Harley no longer has the Clown Prince of Crime protecting her. A lot of the fun through the movie is being introduced to a variety of characters that she's wronged in the past who are now hunting her down. Meanwhile, Harley is looking for a girl named Cassandra Cane (Ella Jay Basco) who apparently has a diamond that can access the bank accounts of the Bertinelli crime family.
After meeting the girl, Harley soon finds herself reluctantly protecting her (more as in protecting the diamond) from the twisted criminal, Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor - who is having a great time with his role) and his right hand man, Victor Zsaz (Chris Messina), who definitely lends himself to the film's R-rating. These two are also keeping track of a mob killer who is only referred to as "The Crossbow Killer", but we all know her better as Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and she's out for revenge after Sionis killed her whole family - The Bertinellis.
The other Birds of Prey come into it as Officer Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) who is investigating the mob killings, and Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) who works for Sionis, but betrays him after she sees how far things can go in his club. I could deal with details all day, but yes, they eventually all cross paths and the title of the film does have some meaning - but it's definitely a Harley Quinn movie as opposed to a real team-up movie.
The whole thing is told from the perspective of Harley, and as you may have heard by this point, there is a bit of back and forth jumping. But I don't think it's enough to really confuse anyone. Speaking for myself, I was able to follow along pretty well. It's kinda fun having Harley tell the story, because it somewhat reflects her personality in all of its style. If I was to compare it to anything, I'd have to say that this is DC's answer to 'Deadpool'. It's R rated, can be brutally violent, but it's still more of a comedy than a superhero movie. In fact, I'd say this owes a lot to 'Deadpool' for paving the way. With the success of this and 'Joker', I daresay, DC might just be able to get something off the ground with R-rated films.
Anyway, for what this is, it's pretty cool. But I'm still not entirely loving it like so many others. I meet it halfway, enjoying the execution of the story and the film's overall style. But at the same time, there are some nitpicks that tend to irk me. The fight coreography was sometimes cool, but often strangely off. Pay attention to the fight scenes and watch how many people either wait their turn (prison scene) or just do nothing at all (car chase scene). It's not a first, but it's just something that makes no sense for what this is. Beyond that, I hate to say it, but Harley's narration can be a little bit grinding at times. But again, these are nitpicks. For the most part, the film is enjoyable. Just remember that it's not totally a Birds of Prey movie when you go check it out.
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