Last weekend finally saw the release of Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which sees Harley joining forces with Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya to protect the young Cassandra Cain from Gotham City crime boss Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask. Critically speaking, the movie’s been doing pretty well for itself, ranking at 79% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Commercially, it’s so far reportedly made around $150 million worldwide.
For a movie that was made on a much smaller budget compared to your average comic book blockbuster, that number is decent, but not great. Birds of Prey undershot the opening weekend predictions, and now some theater websites are displaying the title as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, perhaps to make it clearer who the star of this show is.
Whatever you want to call Birds of Prey, this is a movie that’s worth your time. So if you haven’t seen it yet, here are some reasons why you should should purchase a ticket for the latest DCEU movie this upcoming weekend.
Margot Robbie Shines Even Brighter As Harley Quinn
Look, Birds of Prey features an outstanding main cast, but there are two characters who stand tallest, so to speak. First, there’s Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, who we were introduced to in Suicide Squad. While the 2016 DC movie was met with critical derision, Robbie’s Harley performances was one of the few elements that was praised. So it’s no wonder Warner Bros decided to bring her back, and thankfully, Birds of Prey does an even better job with the character.
Now that she’s broken up with The Joker, Birds of Prey sees Harley getting herself into a mess of trouble around Gotham City, and she gets to narrate her latest round of shenanigans! Between pummeling fellow criminals to a pulp (more on that later) to becoming a mentor to Cassandra Cain, Birds of Prey does an excellent job of transforming Harley into an independent woman who’s ready to chart out her own legacy free from the Clown Prince of Crime.
Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask Is All Kinds Of Insane
Batman arguably has the greatest rogues gallery in comic book history, and Birds of Prey finally gave a platform for a baddie who hadn’t appeared on the big screen yet: Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask. A powerful crime lord desperate to be the proverbial top dog in Gotham City, Roman’s world is tossed upside down when a diamond belonging to him goes missing, resulting in him clashing with Harley and the Birds of Prey.
Considering that Ewan McGregor has primarily played cool and collected characters in his career, it’s nice to see him playing a scene-chewing bad guy who’s unpredictable. This is a guy who will be charming and welcoming one moment, then turn on a dime the next and shift into a brutal sociopath the next. Black Mask is one of the most narcissistic characters you’ll ever see in a movie, but because of the way McGregor performs him, he falls squarely into the villains you ‘love to hate’ corner.
The Action Sequences Are Astounding
Action comes with the territory in superhero movies, but Birds of Prey especially stands out in this regard. Thanks to its R-rating, the fight scenes are way more intense than what you’d get in with a PG-13 superhero movie. And since Birds of Prey is a street-level movie, outside of Black Canary unleashing her sonic scream, the action feels more realistic, albeit still exaggerated at times.
Director Cathy Yan recruited John Wick’s Chad Stahelski and his 87eleven team to work on Birds of Prey’s fight scenes, and it paid off big time! From Harley Quinn’s assault on the GCPD to Huntress taking out the people on her hit list, Birds of Prey knocks its action sequences out of the park, but you need to watch the movie for yourself to understand how truly wild things get when the punches are being thrown and the bullets are flying.
Its Vibrant Colors Make It Feel More Comic Book-y
Just like the comic books themselves, not every comic book movie is going to look the same. It’d be pretty boring if all Marvel movies and all DC movies had the same visual palette. That being said, oftentimes comic book movies that are filled with splashy colors end up feeling more like a comic book, and Birds of Prey delivers this in excess.
Between locations like Roman Sions’ club and the abandoned amusement park, and the various costumes the starring characters wear (especially what Harley Quinn numerous outfits), Birds of Prey has a vibrancy that feels like the colors were squeezed straight from a comic book page, akin to what we got in Thor: Ragnarok over in the MCU. While these spectacular hues will obviously be noticeable if you choose to watch Birds of Prey on home media, but it’s better to experience them in a theatrical setting first.
It’s The DCEU’s Funniest Movie Yet
Some superhero properties lend themselves to humor more than others. Harley Quinn definitely fits that bill, and not just because her super villain journey started about being closely tied to mirth-obsessed mountebank. Ever since she started leading her own solo books (especially following the New 52 reboot), Harley has become one of DC’s funniest characters, from her Deadpool-like fourth wall-breaking to her antics when playing roller derby. That’s the Harley we get in Birds of Prey.
There’s a lot of amusement packed into the movie, including a recurring gag involving Harley’s breakfast of choice. And while most of the punchlines come from or involve Harley Quinn, other characters have opportunities to shine in this regard; even Huntress, someone who’s usually depicted more seriously. The comedy in Birds of Prey also benefits from that R rating, with obscenities and more adult material being dropped left and right.
The Chances Of Getting Birds Of Prey 2 And/Or Gotham City Sirens Happening Will Increase
Home media sales are great and all, but it’s what a blockbuster makes during its time in theaters that usually determines whether or not it gets a sequel. As stated earlier, Birds of Prey’s box office pull is by no means terrible, but it could be better. Granted, Birds of Prey is targeting a different demographic than forthcoming movies like Sonic the Hedgehog and The Invisible Man, but with more highly anticipated offerings on the way, it’s possible the latest DC movie’s continued performance could be hindered.
Without spoiling anything, Birds of Prey definitely lays the groundwork for a sequel, and while we will see Harley Quinn again next year in The Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie is also still interested in making Gotham City Sirens happen, which would see her character hanging out with Poison Ivy and Catwoman. However, if Birds of Prey ends its time in theaters underperforming in Warner Bros’ eyes, it’s possible the studio won’t move forward with either Birds of Prey 2 or Gotham City Sirens. This is a movie that needs as as many eyes on it as possible, not just because of its content, but because of how it can be the first building block for a new corner of the DCEU.
Be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of Birds of Prey, and if you’ve already seen the movie, let us know what your favorite moments were in the comments below. Be sure to also look through our DC movies guide to learn what other superhero movies in this corner of the entertainment sphere are on the way.
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Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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