Set four years after the events of 2016’s Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) kicks off with the Joker breaking up with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), throwing her out on the Gotham City streets.
As can be expected, the co-dependent manic Harley doesn’t take this well, and gets herself into all kinds of mayhem fueled by anger, depression, and a lot of alcohol.
This mayhem puts her in the cross-hairs of nightclub owner Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), who is also a ruthless crime lord named Black Mask, especially when a young girl (Cassandra Cain) lifts a diamond Sionis wants, and Harley takes it upon herself to protect the girl.
Also mixed up in the mayhem is the nightclub singer Dinah Lance, also known as Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett), Helena Bertinelli aka The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Quinn’s police nemesis Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez).
Harley’s motives for protecting the girl aren’t all that sweet though. She’s mostly using her as a bargaining chip to save herself, but grows to like having the young pickpocket around.
It all comes to a head when it’s the ladies versus the hordes of Sionis’ criminal underlings, and the women are forced to work together.
It’s not a perfect comic book movie, but it is a lot of fun, especially with all of the girl power. None of these women need a man to save them, and the fight scenes don’t hold back just because of gender.
I also found Harley Quinn’s personal life and interactions had a lot of humor to them, especially with Robbie giving her a IDGAF attitude. Harley eventually finds her own identity, one that doesn’t need the Joker (though she still pines for him). Plus I love she has a pet hyena she names after Bruce Wayne.
On the flipside, the characters of The Huntress and Montoya had horrible dialog, and McGregor was a bit cartoonish and smarmy in his portrayal.
I look at this as hopefully just the beginning of Harley’s solo adventures. A little rough around the edges, but a lot of fun to watch and with great potential.
I’m giving Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) a 4 out of 5.
BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN) (2020)
Directors: Cathy Yan
Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor
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