Birds Of Prey is basically Kill Bill meets Deadpool
JOE's review of DC's latest comic book movie is here.
Harley Quinn finds herself in an unenviable position, and that is before we get into the actual plot of her new movie.
Somewhat still tied to the events of the much-derided Suicide Squad, which is itself set to get a rebootquel in 2021, the movie occupies the same space that Aquaman did after Justice League; forced to use a launchpad that Warner Brothers would rather you forget exists at all.
So, perhaps very cleverly, Birds Of Prey kicks off by severing all ties to what has come before. Quinn is dumped by the Joker (who we see glimpses of, but never enough to verify an actual actor playing the part), and in a relationship that dysfunctional, you know the break-up is going to monumental.
But by declaring herself newly single, Quinn places a bullseye on her own back, and is now the aim of every criminal she has wronged but were too afraid to retaliate while she was the Joker's arm candy. Top of that list is Roman Sionis aka Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), who is in the middle of making a power grab in Gotham. Quinn and Sionis both end up trying to track down pickpocket Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), who may have inadvertently stolen something incredibly valuable.
Also thrown in the mix are Dinah Lance aka Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Sionis' driver still suffering from the memory of her superpowered mother's death, Renee Montaya (Rosie Perez), a Gotham detective trying to make sense of the criss-crossing criminal behaviour, Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), an assassin with a mysterious past and a list of targets to take out, and Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), Sionis' incredibly violent right-hand-man.
If that all sounds like a lot, then good, because that is kind of the point. This whole movie is A LOT, but in a very intentional way. The visual style is akin to John Wick shot through a kaleidoscope, as the fight scenes play out with blood and guts and so many broken limbs, but also glitter bombs and dance numbers and, well, many more broken limbs.
It helps too that everyone involved is totally game, led by the fearless performance by Robbie herself. Having just as much fun here with the role as she did in Suicide Squad, she gets to actually give a little bit of nuance to the maelstrom surface. The rest of the Birds are all given surprisingly a lot to do, considering the vast cast list and relatively tight run-time (a good chunk under two hours), but special mention must go to McGregor and Messina for their co-dependent, bracingly homoerotic bad guy relationship.
The scope of the movie is necessarily much smaller than pretty much all of the DC movies to date (except for Joker), which means, for the most part, the action scenes are small, intimate, and intense. Really, the entertainment only really dips in the third act when we're given a prolonged sequence involving many faceless goons. Even then, the stunt folk behind Deadpool make sure that they still at least switch it up enough so as not to be entirely been-here, kicked-that.
Birds Of Prey does feel like a necessary rebound for Harley (and for Warners) after Suicide Squad, before she (and Robbie) are folded back into the mix for The Suicide Squad. Much like the movie isn't about saving the world, it isn't going to change it, either. But it is fun enough to definitely want a round two from these ladies.
Birds Of Prey is released in Irish cinemas on Friday 7 February.
Clip via Warner Bros. UK