Birds of Prey is a great representation of Harley Quinn. It’s unfocused and takes a while to get to the point, falling into being entertaining every so often. So in that regard it’s a success!
It’s clearly got buy in from its cast, who are massively engaged. They just aren’t given much to do.
If the film is a 3/5, Robbie and especially McGregor are operating at a different level. Ewan in particular is great as the narcissistic Black Mask, even if the film doesn’t make the most of him. He struts around huffing and puffing like a frustrated child, demanding that he gets his way. I wish we had more of that.
Same could be said of Winstead, who barely shows up as The Huntress. All the while I was left wondering why they bothered to name a character Cassandra Cain. I’m all for different takes, but I saw nothing of the mute expert martial artist character I know here.
Much like in Joker, Gotham feels suitably vast, whilst dipping into the history of the aforementioned villain and Harley affords some creepily colourful locations.
Some of the set pieces feel a bit laboured, but Birds of Prey is at least trying to do something. It successfully moves Harley on from being Daddy’s Lil Monster whilst introducing characters who could be more interesting down the line. No cookie cutter superhero film here, so rather than decry its shortcomings, perhaps we should just be happy it wasn’t the same old.
This review has taken some time to write. More time, more thought, and more conversations around Joker have led me to a very different place than when I first stepped out of the cinema. Originally, I was left with questions. So it seems reasonable to look into each of them as you watch me…