I want to start this by saying that I was entirely prepared to be disappointed in this movie, I was ready to tear it to shreds. That said I am happily surprised that Birds of Prey was actually phenomenal. It was witty, bold, and brilliantly executed. It was an amazing stand alone movie, yet also set up two different sequels. I really have nothing but positive things to say about this movie so let's get started.
The story centers around the chase for a diamond that holds a key to a fortune, this however is simply the plot, the real story is Harley Quinn finding strength within herself and learning how to stand on her own two feet without the Joker protecting and taking care of her. Her breakup with the Joker spurred what it would in any regular girl who is truly in love when she gets dumped; she cuts her hair, drinks excessively, and gets overly invested in an egg sandwich.
The first thing about the film that was a major YAY moment for me, was the fact that they included derby girl Harley. In more recent comics, when she branched out on her own she joined a roller derby team and I love that they included this. We are also reminded that Harley Quinn is an absolutely brilliant woman, not because she tells us that she has a PhD. but because they SHOWED us. Harley has Cassandra Cain who is claiming that she doesn’t have the diamond, Harley then analyzes her reaction to being interrogated and draws a different conclusion. Something along the lines of; “Well your voice inflection and inability to make eye contact tells a different story”. Harley’s brilliance is only matched by her badassness, Birds of Prey was absolutely a breakup movie but more than that it was an action movie, it was an action movie that contained some of the best fight choreography that I have ever seen.
It was Harley Quinn’s movie but it was also about the Birds of Prey so let's talk about the other wonderful women in this film. Black Canary starts as a singer in the main villain's club, they start early in setting up her powers in her first singing scene and she breaks a glass with a belt note. For most of the movie she was on the same level as the rest of the women, a skilled fighter but they didn't seem to give her any of her actual superpowers and to be completely honest in one of the last fight scenes when they were basically in a hall of mirrors and she didn’t use her powers I was getting very concerned and agitated that they weren’t going to use this character properly. But they did the best thing you can do in any hero movie, they alluded to success and followed it with another fight scene where the heroes are now overwhelmed and out matched, they waited till then to use Black Canary’s sonic vocal superpower and it was truly perfect timing. Huntress, they integrated her into the story seamlessly, for it is her family’s diamond that everyone is searching for. She simply wants revenge on behalf of the rest of her family, who were massacred when she was young. Now Rene Montoya was also never apart of the Birds of Prey, however as it doesn’t look like I am going to get Oracle anytime soon, if at all I think the role of a human with no supernatural abilities to ground these unbelievable women is important.
My two biggest issues going into this movie were 1) Doing a solo Harley movie without Poison Ivy is so so stupid. However as I watched, I love that they didn’t include Ivy, there will be so many opportunities to bring her in down the road, especially since I don’t believe that her and the Joker are done yet. I also think it's important that Harley saved herself, Ivy didn’t save her, no one saved her she did it herself and that was the point of the movie. 2) Harley Quinn was never ever, not once ever a member or even an acquaintance of the Birds of Prey. This was a non-issue, the title of the movie Birds of Prey; The Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, it's really two separate titles, presenting two separate ideas. The Birds of Prey really weren’t formed until the very end of the movie, and Harley did not include herself. This is really where they set up the two different sequels.
Overall I think the movie was beautiful, brilliant and so well executed I cannot wait for the next appearance of the Birds of Prey and of Harley Quinn.