Going into this film, I went in with an open mind. Sure, I wasn’t a huge fan of the trailer, or the posters, or the character depictions. Fact is, I had a LOT of problems with the way this film was being presented. A film titled “Birds of Prey” in my mind, should be focused ON said Birds of Prey. A badass female superhero team originally consisting of Oracle, Black Canary and (eventually) Huntress. The original run, written beautifully by longtime award-winning comic author Gail Simone is quite fondly remembered by many fans. However, none of that was being represented in this film.
Fans were ticked for a couple of valid reasons: 1. No Barbara Gordon, Oracle, Batgirl or otherwise; 2. Cassandra Cain a mouthy pickpocket???? 3. An old Renee Montoya? 4. and this is a big one…HARLEY WAS NEVER A BIRD. Okay so that’s more than a couple, but it was a new take, and new takes rarely go over well with comic fans. They are tied up in their fondness for what they remembered, so how in the heck did this movie have a chance. Well, it didn’t get off on the right foot with them, or me…yet despite that I always go in willing to judge it for what it is. Glad I did. Because I REALLY enjoyed myself. More than I ever expected to.
DO NOT DOUBT MARGOT ROBBIE. PERIOD.
Lets put something to rest here: Margot Robbie GETS Harley. You thought she was good in Suicide Squad? Nah…she’s EXCELLENT as Harley. You may as well pencil her in as right up there with Arlene Sorkin and Tara Strong (Harley’s original and successor VAs). She personifies Harley much like Christopher Reeve is Superman or RDJ is Tony Stark/Iron Man. She owns it. End of Story. This is the Harley leapt right from the pages of her monthly. She clearly did her research and she’s not playing a token version of Harley. She was everything any Harley fan could’ve hoped for. She’s worth the price of admission alone.
Which is good really when you think about it because that nagging thing about the film’s name will keep bugging you. Had they named it The Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn it would’ve been way more on the money. It’s Harley’s story to tell clearly, and she tells it so freaking well!
IF YOU WERE WORRIED ABOUT BLACK MASK…DON’T BE
Much has also been made of Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of Black Mask/Roman Sionis. Mostly because of the apparent homosexual overtones. While certainly some of the more insecure males in society will cringe at some moments, there’s absolutely nothing to be concerned for. McGregor nails it. Roman is, putting it bluntly, an unhinged individual. McGregor certainly plays that up, dynamically shifting from cultured mafia boss to raging mafia boss on the drop of a dime. The guy you loved seeing in Batman: Under The Red Hood? Yeah, he’s in there for sure.
Some may feel some kind of way about Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, the seasoned GCPD Detective. Despite her not being the age range many fans were hoping for, she definitely handles herself well. Huntress/Helena Bertinelli, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead features prominently in the story and I quite liked her take on Huntress, even if its not exactly what I expected. Jurnee Smollet-Bell as Black Canary? Yeah, she was great in the role. She was kickass when she definitely needed to be, and I have zero issue with her being cast. Some may get their panties twisted about her ethnicity, but it doesn’t bother me none. The writers did an overall great job weaving the story elements together but there’s still that one nagging thing about it.
Okay, many fans are most upset with Cassandra Cain, and with good reason. The character’s classic origin is that of a girl born from the genes of two of the deadliest assassin’s in the DC Universe’s Earth, David Cain and Lady Shiva. Lady Shiva, being THE mistress of martial arts. She could hand Batman his ass without little trouble at all. This was her daughter and boy did she earn her rep as the best martial artist in Batman’s related family. So one can emptathize with the dissapointment that you were not going to get that. Sorry to say, your fears are warranted. Unfortunately, even though her character moves things along and is certainly a central cog, she could’ve been named literally anyone other than Cassandra Cain and it would’ve mattered nothing at all.
Similar to my feelings on Joker, there is little point in bringing this character to the screen if you’re not making them in essence who the fans would recognize. So if there’s a flaw in the armor of this story, its certainly her. Taking nothing away from Ella Jay Basco, the young lady who played Cassandra, but I would’ve like to see her be anyone OTHER than a kid named Cassandra Cain. No, that’s not a small gripe either. There’s so much potential that could’ve been had, that is now absolutely squandered here.
So if you have any reservations about seeing this film, unless you’re just predisposed to hate it, you shouldn’t. This film is a TON of fun. It’s funny, its comically violent, and is easily one of the best DC films released recently. Oh, and if you’re wondering if this does take place in the DCEU, pay really close attention to Harley’s recounting of her history in the first act of the film. It’s all right there for you to interpret for yourself. My money is YES it does. By the end of the film, you’ll be satisfied with the end point both the Birds of Prey are established, and Harley is fully striking out on her own. You’re going to have a great time at the movies this weekend. Its definitely worth seeing in the theater.
Birds of Prey
Margot Robbie cements herself as the iconic Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey in a fun romp that gives DC their own Deadpool equivelant.
- Margot Robbie IS Harley
- Comically Violent
- Cassandra Cain is wasted for the future