Devon Campbell, News and Opinion Editor
Punchy and bombastic, DC Comics’ “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” appeared to be fun in all the right places.
Right off the bat, the movie gets to work making sure it is clear how nonsensical Harley’s psyche and thought processes are. The movie, however, fails in making sense because it does not present ideas in a cohesive way, making it an exercise for viewers to follow the characterization of Quinn.
The constant flashbacks and retroactive continuity being used to explain current events within the universe, as jarring as they are to the narrative flow, are meant to paint a picture of Harley’s sporadic nature. The film even drops into spontaneous musical/dance numbers in specifically dramatic scenes, creating an instant juxtaposition between the elegant, controlled performances on screen, and the gritty reality of the situations that the main characters are facing.
This movie has an immediate issue of being in the shadow of “Suicide Squad,” a movie that, while presenting new ideas and interesting characters, fell flat in nearly every other aspect. “Birds of Prey,” however, flawlessly manages to come into its own, and the only shared aspect between the two films is Harley herself. The gap between the depiction of Harley in the two films couldn’t be larger, as she no longer has to compete with other lesser characters, giving her space to develop her own character. She also does not have to fight for the spotlight with the Joker. The film starts off with the two of them breaking up, and Harley’s wardrobe choices more closely reflect her own personality traits and quirks.
One downside to the movie is that it tends to feel disconnected from the current DC cinematic universe. The fact that it stands alone as its own movie could be seen as a positive, but it begs the question, what was the point of creating a movie in the same universe if there were no callbacks or ties to the rest of that universe? The movie throws in a “Batman” here and there, but it does not feel like it’s part of anything.
Each character in this film is well introduced and understood. The motivations of each character translate well between people on screen and the moviegoers. It makes it more believable when the main characters all come together to fight off the main antagonist, Black Mask (played wonderfully by Ewan McGregor). All actors in the movie had great performances, and it is difficult to visualize anybody other than Margot Robbie playing the role of Harley Quinn.