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After an undeniably rocky start, Warner Bros.’ slate of DC films is finally on a roll. Aquaman was a global smash hit, Shazam! was a critically acclaimed delight and obliterating any and all expectations, Joker was a record-breaking smash that will compete for 11 Oscars at Sunday night’s Academy Awards. Warner Bros.’ is looking to keep that success going with this weekend’s Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
Birds of Prey hails from director Cathy Yan and centers on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, who audiences last saw in 2016’s Suicide Squad. This new, R-rated film will follow a Harley Quinn no longer bound to the Joker as tries to save the life of a young girl, which puts her in the crosshairs of the villainous Black Mask. Along the way she’ll team up with Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to form the Birds of Prey. So does Birds of Prey keep DC’s hot streak going?
The reviews are in for Birds of Prey and for the most part it sounds like the film is another solid DC entry. CinemaBlend's own Eric Eisenberg gave Birds of Prey 3.5 out of 5 stars in his review and summed up his thoughts saying:
DC Comics fans have been waiting years and years for a great Harley Quinn solo movie, and here they get it… albeit it’s packaged inside a more so-so Birds of Prey movie. It’s a mixed bag, with both its strengths and flaws showing clearly, but it’s definitely an enjoyable one.
The marketing for Birds of Prey has been fairly Harley Quinn-centric, which makes sense given that she is an established character onscreen, but it seems that that dynamic bears out in the film as well, with Harley taking center stage and the titular team of the film getting somewhat shortchanged. Nevertheless, despite this imbalance, it sounds like Birds of Prey and watching Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is a real blast.
Eric wasn't the only one who had a good time with Birds of Prey despite its flaws. IndieWire critic Kate Erbland gave Birds of Prey a grade of B- and said:
It’s a girl-powered, earnestly feminist superhero movie with big, implausible action sequences and outsized personalities, and while it never quite reaches that potential, it does begin to map out a fresh path to the world-worn arena of superhero narratives. It may not be the promised total emancipation (at least not yet), but it is fantabulous in its own way.
Birds of Prey might not live up to the scale of its ambition, but there is a lot to like. Kate highlighted the film's wild action sequences and she wasn't the only one. Variety's Owen Gleiberman noted how well director Cathy Yan delivered, writing:
Directing her first studio feature, Cathy Yan keeps it all hurtling along with impeccable ferocity. Her action scenes have a deftly detonating visual spaciousness, capped by crowd-pleasing moments.
Not everyone was completely taken with Birds of Prey though. While the film might outwardly appear as a bonkers movie that delivers something truly unique and refreshing in the genre, it may be safer than it appears. In his review, The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore wrote:
Those hoping for a Deadpool-like fusion of mayhem and wit should lower their expectations: Harley may be known for her unpredictability, but Birds plays by action-movie rules.
Back on the more positive side of things, many critics have highlighted Margot Robbie's magnetic performance as Harley Quinn and the way that she carries an at times messy film. IGN's Laura Prudom gave Birds of Prey an 8 out of 10 and wrote:
While its emphasis on Harley Quinn doesn’t leave much room for the Birds of Prey (though each scores a standout moment), the movie is a stunning showcase for Margot Robbie, who commands the screen and gives her damaged protagonist all the dimension she deserves.
Birds of Prey isn't perfect, but it sounds like it doesn't have to be because audiences will just be thrilled to be along for this zany ride. Slash Film's Hoai-Tran Bui gave Birds of Prey a solid 7.5 out of 10 and said:
A pulpy, kaleidoscopic funhouse ride that feels simultaneously high-stakes and low-stakes all at once, Birds of Prey is as cheeky, irreverent, and erratic as its central character, Harley Quinn — to both its benefit and its detriment.
Lastly, we have io9 critic James Whitbrook, who summed up his feelings and seemingly the feelings of many critics on Birds of Prey succinctly and thusly:
What Birds of Prey is, is loud, bright, and fun as all hell.
Based on 49 reviews so far, Birds of Prey sits at 92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating that this will be another big win for DC. It may not be a masterpiece but it sounds like Birds of Prey largely delivers on all the zaniness you would want from a Harley Quinn film and for fans of Margot Robbie's character in Suicide Squad, it's a must see.
The rest of the team might not get quite the love you would hope for, but the consensus seems to be that Birds of Prey is an absolute blast and imperfections or not, you'll have a great time with it.
Birds of Prey opens on February 7. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what else you can look forward to this year.