Birds of Prey Review: Margot Robbie's film sees Harley Quinn emancipated from Joker in 'fantabulous' fashion

Birds of Prey Movie Review: Cathy Yan's ambitious, eccentric homage to Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey has a clear cut message - Why should boys have all the fun?! Read the full review of Birds of Prey below.
Birds of Prey Review: Margot Robbie's film sees Harley Quinn emancipated from Joker in 'fantabulous' fashionBirds of Prey Review: Margot Robbie's film sees Harley Quinn emancipated from Joker in 'fantabulous' fashion
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Movie: Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey Cast: Margot Robbie, Ewan McGregor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell

Birds of Prey Director: Cathy Yan

Birds of Prey Stars: 3.5/5

The old Harley Quinn can't come to the phone right now. Why? 'Coz she broke up with Joker. ...and so the story goes, as the rambunctious Harley Quinn emancipates herself from the clutches of the beloved DC supervillain and becomes her own bad self; still terrible, but just as delightful! Birds of Prey reels you in for an hour and 50-minute pop music video vibe that could give Taylor Swift a run for her money! It's narrative style and editing are deeply experimental that thrills at parts but also frills in between.

At the core of this eccentric DCEU (DC Extended Universe) film is just a deeply disturbed woman getting through a breakup with a psychotic clown face and how it takes an orphaned teenager to help Ms. Quinn get her groove back on. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) frees herself as Joker's girl in Birds of Prey but that comes at an expensive cost. With no protection from the most feared man in Gotham City, numerous people are on the prowl for Quinn, who has made quite a name for herself in the name of being... Joker's girl. Forward at the list is the sleazy, misogynistic douchebag, who just happens to be Gotham's billionaire crime lord Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), with an affinity for slicing people's face off of, well, their face.

In order to save herself from being massacred with clinical finesse, Harley partakes in Roman's quest to find the teen pickpocket thief Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), who is holding on to the Bertinelli diamond. While on the prowl to kidnap Cassandra and offer her to the wolves as payback for her life, she's in a predicament when the entire city wants her dead. Whether it be voting for Bernie or breaking someone's leg, everyone's got a bone to pick with Harley. Along with Harley, Birds of Prey brings forward intense female power, as seen through The Crossbow Killer aka Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who seeks vengeance for a past crime and also wants to get her killer phrase right, Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), whose voice could break Martini glasses while imprisoned as a caged bird for Sionis and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), a detective inspired by 80's cop dramas and shunned by her department for being a 'smart' woman.

While Cathy Yan's ambitious project is jam-packed with star power, you can't take your eyes off of Margot freakin' Robbie! From the very beginning, we see the larger than life and bombastic antics that made her character, the saving grace of Suicide Squad. Margot is a literal freak of nature as Quinn and has no qualms to go over the top, just like her screen persona craves and demands! For once we see her as someone other than Joker's mere puppet doll and Robbie does a fantabulous job. She makes naming a hyena Bruce (after Batman, ofcourse!) and having a Marilyn Monroe fever pitch dream while getting punched like human nature. Ewan McGregor is snarky as one can get and makes Black Mask such a cartoonish yet delectable villain, that you can't wait to have his face all wrecked up in pieces. Blame it on Ewan's versatility for switching between the giddy, stereotypical Roman and the determined, vicious Black Mask.

When it comes to the other main players, it's Mary Elizabeth Winstead who shines the brightest inspite of the limited screen time. Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez and Ella Jay Basco give terrific performances as well but their backstories aren't drawn out in spectacular fashion like one would have hoped for. The best moments in Birds of Prey is when the women band together and the vigilante up a playhouse fighting the bad guys while making sure their hair is on point. Oh, did I mention rollerblades and a merry-go-round were also involved? It makes you wonder why Cathy only got these badass women together at the very end. Going back to the action sequences (we have John Wick director Chad Stahelski's stunt group 87eleven members Jon Valera and Jonathan Eusebio to thank), it's been a long time coming where superhero films would be more about hand-to-hand combat rather than relying heavily on VFX. In some brilliantly choreographed action pieces, which mostly centers around the women characters, we see the bones actually break and we don't just have normal guns and grenade but ones that shoot out colour bombs and glitter. Oh, there is so much glitter and it's a hot mess but a needed one too!

ALSO READ | EXCLUSIVE: Birds of Prey star Margot Robbie REVEALS why she thinks Ewan McGregor is a great villain as Roman

When it comes to Christina Hodson's script, the ambitious narrative travels back and forth between past (with a four minutes ago comic gag) and present while Jay Cassidy and Evan Schiff have their work cut out for them in the editing table. There's also the inclusion of Harley's voiceover with constant breaking of the fourth wall (Deadpool, is that you?!) that's exciting at times, but can also be drab. It may be hard to keep up with Quinn and co. but Birds of Prey had it's excellent key points as well. Matthew Libatique's insane 'pop music video' cinematography, at every nook and corner, could rival even the main muse of Birds of Prey while Daniel Pemberton's music is tantalising and just the right tone for the craziness that is Birds of Prey. Even the costumes by Erin Benach pay homage to the larger than life comic book characters.

In finality, Birds of Prey is the type of crazy Suicide Squad tried to achieve but failed. It's not the typical women empowerment film like Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel. Instead, it's about Harley Quinn, being a boss b***h in her own might and not giving a f**k, while telling her story, in her own god damn way. I mean really, why should boys have all the fun?!

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