BY RICHARD SUPLEE GEEK SPACE CORRESPONDENT Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is just as fun as that title. And honesty, that is all the film needed to be. The last time we saw Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad (2016) proved how hard it can be to make a fun film. The similarities between these films go beyond the sexy killer clown. Both films star large superhero teams in content meant for an older audience. But Birds of Prey actually gives a damn about being a solid film.
Beyond Joker’s ex girlfriend Harley, the film stars down on her luck cop Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), teenage pickpocket orphan Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), singer who becomes a mobster’s driver Dinah Lance/Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), the survivor of a mafia massacre seeking revenge Helena Bertinelli/Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and the billionaire heir turned mob boss Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). The fact that I can describe each character easily in understandable tropes most moviegoers are familiar with is why the film works. It would be easy for all these plot lines to run together and confuse audiences. But somehow all those plot lines coalesce into a whole that is essentially a heist movie quest for a diamond. A diamond that Cassandra Cain steals and swallows which spurs all the other characters to go after her. And that simplicity is perfect.
This isn’t a movie about a bunch of supervillains and heroes who are thrown together to save the world and in the process become better people, Let Us Prey is too busy explaining a convoluted plot to give character development. And there is still plenty of time for crazy antics like Harley owning a pet hyena, kicking ass in a roller derby team, and Huntress shooting people in the neck assassination-style. We also see emotional scenes such as Huntress’s family being murdered, Dinah not wanting her boss to murder a little kid and Harley bonding with Cassandra Cain. All told, I do not think anyone will be calling Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) the movie of the year, but I can see it being people’s favorite.