Author Topic: Birds of Prey *some minor spoilers*  (Read 238 times)

Offline perc2100

  • Volunteer HQ
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2012
  • Posts: 2614
  • Liked: 776
Birds of Prey *some minor spoilers*
« on: February 07, 2020, 03:34:10 PM »
Right off the bat, I feel the need to state that I'm not very familiar with the comics, so this film is the introduction to the property.
That being said, this movie has pretty much forced me to start reading Birds of Prey books this weekend.

BIRDS OF PREY (and the Fantabulously Long Sub-title of Harley Quinn) is an incredibly fun comic book film that has nearly all aspects clicking.  WB's R-rated film has a story that goes by at a fast clip, but also takes its time getting to the big team-up climax.  The film lets us spend time with the main ladies: Harley Quinn (the bundle-of-energy that is the amazing Margot Robbie), newly emancipated and broken off with The Joker to forge an identity and life (of crime) on her own terms; The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead who's low key but fun), out for revenge, with a crossbow, against those who murdered her family; Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a nightclub singer who can handle her own against any tough guy; and Detective Montoya (Rosie Perez), who has been marginalized by the Good Ol' Boys Club that is the Gotham City PD.
These ladies all intersect when Big Bad Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor having more fun in a role than he's had in awhile) is after pickpocket Cassandra (Ella Jay Basco) steals a diamond rom one of Roman's henchmen that has the secret code etched into it that unlocks the family fortune.

The plot of this film is hardly of much consequence, but the writer Christina Hodson (BUMBLEBEE, as well as upcoming DC films FLASH & BATGIRL) smartly constructs story details that smartly move the pieces on the board in order for them to all intersect for the big Act 3 team-up/battle royale.  The dialogue and narration (Harley narrates throughout, with 'subtitles' to ID main characters & nice animation to help make her point) do a great job of riding the balance between fun + with heart.  There's no soft-pedaling the fact that Harley is indeed a vicious villain, but she does have some scruples and a heart (along with a WONDERFUL sense of humor, but you likely already knew that).  Hodson seems to have seen both DEADPOOL films and taken copious notes as far as juxtaposing silly, comedy, cursing, and inventive action set pieces: I don't mean that in any negative way whatsoever, this just feels very much  in the vain of the Merc with a Mouth in all the ways that audiences have already adored.  I really enjoyed the pacing of this movie, and all of the beats are well played, with emotional impacts well earned.

Technically this movie looks great.  There are several fun camera shots, such as Harley & Cassandra about to shoplift/steal a shopping cart full of groceries and there is a shot that seems like a GoPro attached to the front of the cart aimed at Harley & Cassandra pushing/running with glee.  There's a fun tracking/dolly shot during the big climax that also brought a smile to my face, and the cinematographer does a great job making this film colorful and not drab or bathed in darkness like the first 'phase' of DC films (I'm looking at you BATMAN v SUPERMAN).  The soundtrack is, I think, all songs sung by women, often covers originally sang by men.  It's a nice touch, and is a subtle nod to female empowerment over the male industrial complex.

Which bring me to another joy of this film: it's a not-that-subtle middle finger to misogyny.  As mentioned earlier about Detective Montoya, her career has stalled because she made a brilliant bust but her partner took/received all the credit and was fast-tracked to promotion.  There are several scenes of male cops giving her crap, and they feel very much like a stereotypical female-in-the-male-dominated-workplace.  The Huntress is out for revenge against....you guessed it....male criminals who killed her family (including her mom, who shielded her from bullets at her own sacrifice).  Canary is trying to make it in the world with an incredible singing voice, only to be used as sexy muscle and as a "driver" for Black Mask.  And obviously, Harley making the bold decision to separate from Mr. J (who, it turns out, kinda threw her away one too many times) is the heart of the narrative.
Add to the fact that Margot Robbie signed on only after being guaranteed WB would hire:
* female director
* female writer
* female department heads of the crew

This is the kind of movie that I wish I had daughters to take them to see this movie.  And unfortunately, if I did, there may be one obstacle:
BIRDS OF PREY is rated R, and _only_ because of lots of cursing.
Now, I never in a trillion years thought I'd ever contemplate such an argument, but I sincerely wish this were rated PG-13 (even though Robbie insisted on an R-rating, as that is apparently the tone the books demand).  This is the type of movie teen & pre-teen girls should see: not only to see female-driven comic books, and be introduced to a popular female-led comic series, but to see strong (mostly) positive female role models.  Sure, most of said role models are some sort of criminal but their independence, confidence, and excellence is a great thing for girls to see.  I kind of wish WB would've released a PG-13 version of this in theaters, and then the R-rated cut on Blu-ray.  Don't get me wrong, this film works wonderfully as an R-rated movie: I just hope it doesn't impede girls from seeing.

BRIDS OF PREY is a lot of fun, and definitely sets up a franchise.  There are even some fun easter eggs, as well as a substantial role of one of my favorite lower-tier Batman villains: Victor Zsasz (who is not as creepy as I'd like, but is still good).  If we had to slag through the original SUICIDE SQUAD (which I liked parts of, though upon a second watch recently there is far more concerning than entertaining; my original thoughts must've been centered on the positive, which is, again, largely Harley Quinn/Margot Robbie) in order to get BIRDS OF PREY, we got a more-than-fair deal.  I can't wait to see more of Harley Quinn in James Gunn's upcoming THE SUICIDE SQUAD, and if everyone comes back for a sequel I'll be there.

Offline NCDS

  • Supporter
  • Volunteer HQ
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2014
  • Posts: 5313
  • Liked: 2880
Re: Birds of Prey *some minor spoilers*
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2020, 03:43:41 PM »
I enjoyed the film
2018 Punk Rock Bowling Champion

Friends of Comic Cons

  • Guest
Re: Birds of Prey *some minor spoilers*
« Reply #2 on: Today at 08:07:24 AM »

Offline rabbitwarren

  • Ballroom 20
  • ****
  • Join Date: Apr 2012
  • Posts: 736
  • Liked: 328
Re: Birds of Prey *some minor spoilers*
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2020, 04:46:45 PM »
I really want an egg sandwich now. Sadly my office is no longer near a bodega where you can get $3 egg sandwiches.

Offline TardisMom

  • Supporter
  • Volunteer HQ
  • ******
  • Join Date: Aug 2012
  • Posts: 2803
  • Liked: 1412
Re: Birds of Prey *some minor spoilers*
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2020, 09:03:38 PM »
I really enjoyed BoP!!  Sad the opening weekend box office wasn't better but hopefully word of mouth will keep the attendance up over the next few weeks.

Offline WonderTwin93

  • Exhibit Hall
  • **
  • Join Date: Mar 2019
  • Posts: 60
  • Liked: 22
Re: Birds of Prey *some minor spoilers*
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2020, 07:43:06 AM »
Apparently they are renaming the film in theatres "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey" in an attempt to draw in more viewers. For me it was already pretty clear it was her film despite the name, but I guess WB thinks some people were confused by the title.

I personally am a big Birds of Prey fan and went for Black Canary and Huntress and found myself pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Harley Quinn in this. I had skipped Suicide Squad completely so wasn't sure what to expect though I do like Margot Robbie. Really hoping we get a sequel despite it slightly underperforming. I don't think we'll see Oracle as long as the Batgirl film is in development but I still would love to see more of these characters.

I do agree it really didn't need to be R rated. They could have trimmed out just enough to make it PG-13 that way it could have pulled in a younger audience.

Link: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

Offline perc2100

  • Volunteer HQ
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2012
  • Posts: 2614
  • Liked: 776
Re: Birds of Prey *some minor spoilers*
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2020, 08:25:53 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I really enjoyed BoP!!  Sad the opening weekend box office wasn't better but hopefully word of mouth will keep the attendance up over the next few weeks.
Yeah feels like marketing really failed this one.  I had no idea this film was going to be the love child of John Wick & Deadpool!

Offline perc2100

  • Volunteer HQ
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2012
  • Posts: 2614
  • Liked: 776
Re: Birds of Prey *some minor spoilers*
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2020, 08:26:38 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I really want an egg sandwich now. Sadly my office is no longer near a bodega where you can get $3 egg sandwiches.
Right?!  I saw this early afternoon, and even though I wasn't hungry at all I was craving a good egg sandwich the rest of the weekend (settled on doughnuts because I'm both lazy and cheap sometimes)