Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020)

Originally released on February 7th 2020

If you haven’t had the chance to watch this one, you may not want to read this one since it will be containing a plethora of spoilers.

Originally named Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emanicipation of One Harley Quinn), the title was changed to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. Taking place some time after the events of Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is narrating what has brought her to the present. The Joker kicked her out, which caused her to have a break down, cutting her hair and even adopting a spotted hyena. When she hears her friends talking about how Harley will get back with the Joker or anyone who comes along because she can’t stand on her own, she makes a dangerous statement. By blowing up Ace Chemicals, she tells all of Gotham that she and the Joker broke up, subsequently becoming fair game for anyone to try and settle scores.

One person who wants to kill her, ends up being Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) also known as Black Mask, a man with the affinity for peeling faces off of live victims. He is after the Bertinelli Diamond, a gem with account numbers embedded into it’s structure. Unfortunately, that gem ends up in the intestinal tract of Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a pick-pocket who Harley gets a soft spot for. They form a bond that is endearing, but when too many people with too many offers pay a visit to Doc (Dana Lee), the grandpa-like figure that took in Harley when she needed a place to stay, ends up selling her out, she is hurt and in turn–plans to betray Cassandra in order to save herself.

As all of this is happening, we learn about Helena Bertinelli (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the sole survivor of the Bertinelli massacre. She returns to Gotham, calling herself Huntress while everyone else calls her Crossbow Killer, and begins picking off the people responsible for the death of her entire family. Then there’s Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), a cop whose entire career has been overshadowed by the men in the force taking the credit for her achievements. This movie also featured one of my favorite characters in the DC universe, Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) also known as the Black Canary, is a singer at Sionis’ night club, until he realizes she can also fight, then she becomes his personal driver. However, she cannot stand by when they go after Cassandra.

In the end, the women all team up unwillingly because Sionis goes after all of them, and not just Cassandra. They end up being a really good team, with the fighting scenes being really well done, and entertaining to watch. It is a job well done when I cringe at the scenes because bones are breaking due to the usage of brutal force.

I’d like to highlight Margot Robbie’s performance in this film. There are scenes where we are able to see the nuances in her emotions–the first one coming to mind being the scene where she cuts her hair after her break up with the Joker. You’re able to see her go through the different emotions–from determination, to sadness, to anger. Another scene that comes to mind is when she realizes that Doc has sold her out. The changes in her facial expression are a lot more subtle, but we can still see her go from shock, to sadness, to resignation.

Overall, I love the expansion of the character Harley Quinn, into so much more than simply Joker’s girlfriend. We get more of her history, how she was raised by nuns that didn’t seem to have bedside manners, but despite this still became academically successful as she became a psychiatrist. We know this is how she ends up meeting the Joker.

With a majority female-only cast, this movie is important. Just as with Wonder Woman, these movies change the mold of comic book movies by not being centered on male characters. While I enjoyed this movie immensely, I know that there needs to be more movies like this one for the majority of fans to start to take them seriously. To show the audiences that women can star in movies without giving up dramatic stunts and action sequences.

Have you guys seen this one? What did you think of it?