A great feminist anarchic movie without Jared Leto (good riddance)

Directed by: Cathy Yan

Written by: Christina Hodson, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm (Harley Quinn created by)

Starring: Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ella Jay Basco, Ewan McGregor, Chris Messina, Ali Wong

Synopsis (IMDB): After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.

Julian’s review:

Mild spoilers

Hello, I am back from college life for another movie review in which thankfully it does not involve that…abomination of what they call a “Joker” from Suicide Squad. In all honesty, Jared Leto’s Joker was truly a “Joker” in all of the wrong ways possible.

Birds of Prey is a great, unapologetically feminist movie involving one of Batman’s arch-foe’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn. After watching this movie it gave me a bit of time to reflect back on Harley Quinn at this day in age. Even though, she was unhinged throughout all of her history, she is kind of a tragic character considering her being not even noticed or being abused by The Joker in some areas in comic history.

The movie begins with a recap of Harleen Quinzel’s (Robbie) life and retelling the events of her fall from grace from Suicide Squad (quite literally) up to the mutual breakup between Harley and The Joker in the present day. Director Cathy Yan and Margot Robbie (who produced and stared in this movie as you-know-who) decided to do everybody a solid and kill Jared Leto’s Joker’s ties to the DCEU by having Quinn driving an semi-truck filled with oil into Ace Chemicals (Joker’s main base of operations and the same place where Harleen Quinzel pledged her allegiance to The Joker in Suicide Squad by falling into a pit of chemicals) and blows it up. The explosion permanently kills Harley and the Joker’s relationship (and some even believe that the explosion might have killed the Joker). After that affair, every criminal syndicate in Gotham who either has ties with the Joker or anyone who was a grudge comes after Harley with a vengeance, along the way has to protect a McGuffin from the insidious Roman Sionis aka Black Mask (McGregor) and his serial killer assistant Victor Zsasz (Messina).

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The cast in this movie were great, especially Robbie who actually sold me of Harley Quinn. She even gives a line of dialogue to Smollett Bell’s Black Canary at Sionis’ club and talks about what a harlequin which means–that “they are a servant to a master”. That made me think, “Huh, I do not think Harley Quinn is the legitimate villain that we were all led to believe all these years”.

Smollet-Bell was also good as Black Canary, a woman who, like Harley Quinn, was forced to perform at Sionis’ club as a singer just to please Sionis and eventually joins with Harley and the crew. Winstead as Huntress was also serviceable in the movie, though I would like just a tiny bit more character development to be fleshed out. Perez as Renee Montoya was also great and along with Wong who plays Montoya’s ex-girlfriend was good for the small role that she was in. Basco as Cassandra Cain (who in the comics was one of several characters who have assumed the role of Batgirl) was also serviceable in the movie and sometimes quite funny.

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McGregor’s Sionis was unhinged in a good way in the movie. He is a very brutal crime lord who enjoys his club a little too much unless something does not goes his way. Then, becomes a very enraged sadist. Speaking of sadists, Victor Zsasz, played by Messina, made me worried that he might come out of the screen and just kill anybody who looks at him wrong. All-in-all, the cast in this movie did well as per the material they were given and it is nice to see a very diversified cast. In fact, we need more of that in Hollywood.

In conclusion, I think Birds of Prey is really fun and good date night movie with your soulmate in which you’ll watch a story about how a break-up turns into a very dangerous game of Life and Death. The action is well-thought out, even though the dialogue, while funny, is sometimes clunky in certain areas. The cast did a great job throughout and Yan did a really awesome job at making a great, fun movie for people who would want to have a good time at the theater.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Julian Jones is a sociology student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. When he’s not studying or watching films, he’s practicing for his next performance with the UAB Chamber Singers. Let him know what you thought of his review by leaving him a comment below!

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