“Birds of Prey” Review

Carson Zorn, Writer

Fun, Fast-Paced and Fantastic. Those words can all be used to describe the DCEU’s (DC Extended Universe) newest cinematic entry, “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn)”. Between the comedy, action and performances, “Birds of Prey” is a comic book movie I won’t soon forget.

First off, the cast. Margot Robbie kills it as Harley Quinn. She was one of the few bright spots of 2016’s “Suicide Squad” and she brings the same energy and craziness to the character in this movie. But, the character is more fleshed-out in this movie and Robbie does a great job capturing the more human aspects of the character. She also does a great job with her comedic timing and 90% of her jokes land perfectly. The other 10% that don’t land aren’t Robbie’s fault, it’s more the writer’s fault. However, the big shock and scene-stealer for me was Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary. She stole the show in almost every scene she was in, whether it was through her comedic timing, singing or awesome action scenes, I couldn’t help but love the character and Smollett-Bell’s performance. The icing on the cake of this already amazing duo of Harley Quinn and Black Canary is Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress. Unfortunately, she isn’t in too many scenes and isn’t given much to do, but every time she was on screen I wanted to see more of her character. I would definitely watch a Huntress movie, as long as it starred Winstead. But, every group of (Anti-)heroes needs their villain, and in this movie, it’s Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis/Black Mask. McGregor plays the zaniness of the character to the max for the whole movie. It’s fun to watch for about 75% of the movie, but then when the more serious stuff starts going down, he feels extremely out of place. 

The writing and direction is also fantastic for this movie. There were some scenes that made me feel like I was watching a Tarantino movie, which was awesome. The action scenes were amazing and the more heartfelt scenes were written and played out very well, and the final third act fight was just perfection.

Now for the cons, I hate to end with the cons on such a fun movie, but there are a couple of them that need to be addressed. One, the movie got a bit too formulaic and cliche at certain points. In a film that felt so fresh and original, it was disappointing to see it sink to very basic story points multiple times in the movie. Also, as already mentioned, Black Mask felt out of place for the last act because he was still acting zany and weird, but there was some serious stuff going down and he just felt out of place. Also at points in the movie, it felt like the film didn’t know what to do with some of its characters, especially Rosie Perez’s Renne Montoya. Finally, some scenes did remind me a bit of “Suicide Squad” but not the good parts of that movie.

Overall, “Birds of Prey” is a fun and enjoyable flick with some great characters, performances and action scenes. It’s another step in the right direction for the DCEU. 

Grade: B+