Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

Most reviews that I have seen of this film has been from a male perspective, and that’s fine. But, I think that it’s important to look at it from a female perspective and realize the importance of films like this one. 

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is an overall solid film with an awesome title. I had some issues with the story structure, but between the acting and the action sequences, this film is a good time. 

Let me begin with what is my real criticism of the film. I was not a fan of the story structure. One of my least favorite things about Suicide Squad was that backstory was told in long segments of expositional flashback. Birds of Prey does something similar. But, it’s just my personal opinion that the overuse of flashbacks is lazy writing. However, it did blend into the nonlinear storytelling fairly well. I do also wish that the aforementioned Birds of Prey would have gotten together sooner. But, there was a lot of ground that needed covered before they united. 

Birds of Prey was written, directed, and produced by women. And the difference between this and certain male directed, written, and produced comic book films was abundantly clear. The male gaze is minimized. The costumes are functional. The fight scenes are realistic within that realm. The biggest tell that women were behind this film has got to be a moment during the climactic fight scene where Harley Quinn stops to offer Black Canary a hair tie. I’m pretty sure I yelled out “yes!” during the film. 

The soundtrack is killer. The costumes are fun. The overall look of the film is perfect for the subject matter. Every actor did a wonderful job. Margot Robbie, however, completely embodies the character of Harley Quinn in a way that I don’t know that we’ve seen before. I’m excited to see where she goes with this. Just as I’m excited to see more of what her production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, does. Robbie and her company were all over this film right from the inception and I am so happy that she was. 

You know, it’s 2020, and we’ve still only had three women direct a comic book film for a major movie studio. I try not to get too angry about women not really being given the chance until recently, but it’s hard. I mean, for goodness’ sake, there’s still only ever been one woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director (not that the Academy Awards really matter anymore, anyway). That itself is frustrating. But, I guess I’ll take what I can get for now. In the meantime, everybody go out and see this film. Prove to the suits at the major studios that woman-led films, both in front of the camera and behind, can make money and be well received. Prove the suits wrong.

 

 

 

 

*All photos property of Warner Brothers

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