Movie Review: Birds of Prey (2020)

Starring: Margot Robbie, Ewan McGregor and Jurnee Smollett-Bell

Directed by: Cathy Yan

My first trip to the cinema of 2020 and it was to see a movie that I wasn’t really excited for at all. I saw the trailers some time ago and thought it all looked rather meh despite Harley Quinn being one of the stand out characters in Suicide Squad back in 2016. Margot Robbie is one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities right now and it seemed like this movie was in the making forever but finally it had arrived and there was a lot of good but also quite a bit of bad so let’s jump in and dissect The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.

First of all Margot Robbie hasn’t missed a beat as Harley Quinn despite being a few years since she last played the character and it could’ve been quite easily to have played the character differently but she was so good throughout. She has such great versatility as she is able to play so many different roles with I considerable ease from a crazy and psychotic character such as Harley Quinn to portraying historical figureheads like she did in Mary Queen of Scots. Despite being considered as a stand alone mercenary once she’s away from Joker she has a few sidekicks to help become the anti-hero and one of them was Black Canary who was played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell. I’m not really familiar with her as an actress I was really impressed with everything she had to offer from her badass appearance, her ability to emit emotion when required and her quick whit too was also a joy. Her character was kind of ruined towards the end when she showed off her ridiculous super power but other than that she stood head and shoulders above the rest of the cast along with Margot Robbie.

Ewan McGregor played the evil villain in this movie and his role was strange as I simultaneously loved and hated him and by the end of it I was just a little bit too unsure about him. I’m just not sure what it was whether it was eccentric nature of his character or the fact that it’s Ewan McGregor playing the role of a supposed bad ass super villain and I feel that that combination of actor and character doesn’t really mesh very well. I would have loved to have seen somebody like Rhys Ifans play the eccentric villain as I feel he would be able to pull it off a lot more convincingly. I think he’s a very under appreciated actor and I know he was the villain in The Amazing Spider-Man but we are running out of quality actors who can feature in comic book movies as it seems almost everybody have appeared in at least one Marvel or DC project so a few repeat appearances will have to be over looked. I also really disliked the performance and character of Detective Montoya played by Rosie Perez as she was just very off putting throughout the entire flick and even when she tried to join in with the light hearted silliness towards the end she just didn’t seem to be able to do it naturally.

The soundtrack throughout the entire film was so perfect especially the use of Barracuda by Heart and It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World by James Brown. Both tracks are great in their own right but really complimented the scenes they were used for very well and really helped drive the emotion of the story. One final negative before wrapping up was the way in which the story was told was very off putting for me. I really disliked the way the film jumped from future to present to past constantly during the opening 30-40 minutes as it just made it all the more confusing to closely follow the story trying to be told. Sometimes this way of story telling works but it just wasn’t executed very well here.

Overall, Birds of Prey was entertaining for the most part despite some of the outrageousness during some of the fighting scenes. It was worth watching but I don’t think I’d want to revisit it for a long time if ever as it just didn’t stand out compared to other Comic book movies. Plus with 4 years of preparation since Suicide Squad I thought that the end product was a rather average affair which should’ve been a lot better.


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