Cathy Yan helms the latest entry in the DCEU – wait is it still DCEU with Batfleck gone and Joaquin becoming the second Oscar-winning version of the Joker – and is WW1984 still set in the same timeline or? It’s confusing now.
But Birds of Prey is a wicked pleasure in the form of an all-female team up that picks up where Suicide Squad left off. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is dumped by the Joker (the tattooed Leto version, not Phoenix, mind you) and loses the immunity she had under his wing. As a result, underworld members from Harley’s past with a bone (or multiple) to grind, end up pursuing her all around Gotham city.
Enter Roman Sionis or the Black Mask played by Ewan McGregor who slips effortlessly into a role that could have done much better with more character-building. The misogynist mob boss hunts Harley while he also pursues the elusive Bertinelli diamond which falls into the hands of Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). Cassandra ends up in custody and swallows the diamond much to the disdain of Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smolett-Bell) aka the Black Canary who is sent by Sionis to retrieve the diamond. Lance previously a singer at Sionis’ club, has the most character development throughout the entire movie, which isn’t saying much given that this is a by-the-numbers movie. But it is done quite well.
Once Harley falls into Sionis’ hands, she strikes a deal with him – she will retrieve the diamond in exchange for her life, to which Sionis agrees but places a half-million bounty on Cassandra’s head thus triggering the entire Gotham underworld to take a shot at Cain and Harley. What ensues is a gleeful and crazy mess that the ladies can only get through by banding up together.
Margot Robbie shines as Quinn, with her role expanded massively and with more depth than the previous Suicide Squad, we manage to see what life turns out like for the Joker’s crazy ex. However, I found the entire film to be unevenly paced despite the intentionally erratic yet vivid color palette and amazing action sequences.
Smolett-Bell’s Black Canary was quite interesting, being the metahuman in the group and the use of her sonic scream came only towards the end, which coincided quite well with her character arc.
McGregor was clearly having fun playing Black Mask who, while being an equally crazy character, made you actually fear the guy for what he does to people who don’t bow to his will.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead was criminally underused but I guess her role will, hopefully, be expanded in a sequel. Which still seems likely despite a disappointing opening weekend. While not the best entry in the DCEU, it certainly was the most R-rated so be mindful before taking your kids to see this coz there’s literally an F-bomb every other sentence. The action sequences are definitely the standout point of the entire movie, with its third act being the most delightful.
Courtesy of Akash SK