The last time we saw Harley Quinn on the big screen, was via 2016’s Suicide Squad. It’s fair to say the film was a messy affair, yet Margot Robbie’s take on Dr. Quinn was a true beacon of light, which stopped the picture from being a complete disaster.
This weekend Robbie reprises the role of Harley for Birds of Prey – an action adventure movie set a short while after Suicide Squad. The film sees Harl join forces with a new cast of characters, including Black Canary, Huntress, Cassandra Cain, and Renee Montoya, and is a vast improvement on Suicide Squad.
Is it worth seeing? Yes. Yes, it is!
If you enjoyed what Robbie delivered in her previous performance, then you will love what is served up this time around. Not only does the actress continue to make the part of Harley Quinn her own, but in this film she is given a lot more breathing space to develop her character.
Yep, for those wondering, Birds of Prey is a Joker-less and Batman-less movie. There are a few references here and there, including a specific nod to Jared Leto’s Mr. J, but this is mostly Harley’s film and she is no longer standing in their shadow.
Oh, this is an ensemble piece, so Harley isn’t the only DC character to focus on, but she is the central figure. And let’s be honest, if you’re heading to the cinema this weekend it’s all because of Harley Quinn. You know it, I know it, and Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment know it – which is why the character is front and centre of all the promotional material.
Thank Zod then for director Cathy Yan, who understands Harley’s appeal, yet doesn’t short shaft the rest of the players in this tale. Pretty much all of the newcomers get their chance to shine, including chief bad guy, Roman Sionis, as played by Ewan Mcgregor.
Mcgregor provides the film with a menacing villain, who doesn’t try to compete for screen time, he merely ensures there is someone evil to watch while Harley and Co. do their thing. He’s a flesh and blood baddie, not some CGI-monstrosity, and this makes for a satisfying foe.
The only real casualty of the picture is Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Huntress who never feels as fully developed as her peers. The character is given less to do than everyone else, her costume is terrible, and she does fade into the background somewhat.
This is a misstep, but thankfully the only one when it comes to the cast. The rest of the cast are perfectly balanced, with Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Black Canary standing out as a true star of the film.
I want to see more from Black Canary and I have a feeling this is already on the cards. By movie’s end, it is clear this film is making way for more Birds of Prey adventures (with or without Harley) and I say, bring ’em on!
So, everything else works, right?
Well, I do need to mention a few early pacing issues, which make things a bit jarring to begin with. But this is largely to do with the way the narrative unfolds (borrowing heavily from 2016’s Deadpool) and thankfully the pacing doesn’t derail the story.
Birds of Prey is a strong movie which brings a great deal of charm to the big screen. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment continue to move in the right direction with a fun, frothy, high-kicking action film, which never takes itself too seriously, and delivers some big laughs.