Birds of Prey (And The Fabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn.) Review.

 I hated Suicide Squad. It’s one of the most embarrassingly try hard films in recent cinema whose only redeeming qualities are that (A) Batman v Superman was out earlier that summer which was one of the most miserable experiences I have ever had in a cinema (insert “Martha” gag here and (b) David Ayer  would go on to make Bright which suffers from many of the same problems only even worse. I was approaching Birds of Prey with extreme caution. Despite more positive critical reception this was still a semi sequel/in the same universe as a film that was genuinely atrocious. How did it turn out?

It’s mostly fun. Where Suicide Squad was desperate to emulate the style of James Gunn but fell flat on its face this film mostly achieved that exact goal. Margot Robbie shines in the central role and its helped along by a script that is generally pretty amusing (although never hilarious) and once the full team appear in the final act they have good banter with one another. Director Cathy Yan pulled off some seriously impressive action scenes and if anything, the film made me want to see what she would do with her own original action IP.

That said for as much as there’s a lot of good stuff in the film it’s severely kneecapped by a dime a dozen comic book movie plot. The action sequences deserved better than the simplest of macguffin hunts (in this case centred around a diamond) and the film could have been so much more if the plot was in any way engrossing beyond the most broad strokes. It’s a real shame. I came out of the film thinking a sequel has the potential to be better but given the films performance in the US that looks unlikely at this point.

Even as a self-confessed Suicide Squad hater I had a decent amount of fun with Birds Of Prey. Good performances and strong action sequences make up for a woefully dime a dozen plot.It slots in as my third best DCEU film (behind Shazam and Wonder Woman) and if this is the action filmmaking worlds introduction to Cathy Yang it is a solid start.


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