<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>

Directed by Cathy Yan. Starring Margot Robbie, Ewan McGregor, Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Steven Williams, 

Running time: 1 hour 50 mins

The only real stand out from the forgettable and chaotic Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) gets her own DC film in which to show off her crazy antics and while the girl power is laudable, the story is flat and muddled. 

The full title of this film is Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn in an attempt to make it sound cooler. Unfortunately, the title had to be shortened later on for obvious practical reasons. Just like the title, the film is equally muddled and unnecessarily overloaded with scenes that are thrown in for ‘whimsy’ that add nothing to the story. Also, it looks like they’re promoting the music of the movie (which is kick ass) a lot.

A scene from Birds of Prey

Harley Quinn breaks up with The Joker (no particular actor is showcased for this part) and she must learn how to go it alone. But once Gotham city finds out she’s single, she becomes the target of bounty hunters who she has wronged and now can’t hide behind the Joker’s protection. Ewan McGregor is the new bad guy Roman Sionis aka Black Mask who is looking for a diamond with a message encoded within it. It’s been stolen by Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young orphan girl and master pickpocket. So now everyone’s after her, including Harley Quinn who wants to get the diamond to save her own hide and maybe in the process help the little girl from keeping her intestine intact.

It’s mad, funny and outrageous at points, which is basically what it’s banking on to get you through it. The story is stupid and flat, and the constant back and forth in the time line with absolutely no reason just muddles things up.

‘Bruce’ and Harley in Birds of Prey

So is a group of girls beating up on bad men a symbol of emancipation? Is it just physical strength that puts women on top of the game and is that all that’s needed for women’s empowerment? Certainly is part of the story but I’d like to have seen more brain go into this endeavour. The fight scenes come quick and fast but they lack finesse; especially one scene at the amusement park which could’ve used the rides and attractions far better.

While Robbie stays true to her role, there’s not much depth there for you to really feel sympathetic towards her. Ewan McGregor’s character is bland on the face of it but he manages to elevate a boring role with his acting prowess. Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s character is interesting but never gets a chance to really fly.

While Birds of Prey is different, the whimsy never reaches a level of being truly wonderful.


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