Birds Of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn – or Birds Of Prey, for short, doesn’t count 2019’s Joker movie which is a standalone affair (albeit one which will be getting a sequel), but technically follows on from 2016’s Suicide Squad, here, with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) having broken up from said clown – because a lot of audiences didn’t seem to like Jared Leto’s Joker, even though I was seemingly one of the few who really enjoyed that film. I also enjoyed Justice League, but wasn’t a fan of Wonder Woman. Sue me.
In fact, when it comes to superhero movies, I’ve mostly become tired of them because they’ve tended to become rehashes of one another, so I’m just sticking to a handful that intrigue or have had past success in entertaining me, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy series, the potential Joker sequel, the eventual Suicide Squad reboot, and the film I’m reviewing now.
Ewan McGregor plays weirdo psychotic American madman Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, even though we start off not seeing him in a mask, and even when we eventually do, it just seems academic as is proved when someone just punches it off him, later.
Birds Of Prey passes a couple of hours, but it’s very much a plotless mess. Okay, so there’s a stack of cash and a diamond that’s the key to it all, but… it still feels rather devoid of story.
In fact, it’s just a series of disparate set pieces, mostly centered around people either wanting to kill Harley Quinn, or to kill young Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), who has a bounty on her head in relation to the diamond, for reasons you’ll discover, but won’t particularly care about. Similar goes to Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who’s constantly annoyed that people don’t call her Huntress, but instead, The Crossbow Killer, because she kills people with a crossbow. Yep, way ahead of you…
The really dumb thing is that so often, lots of people get a good chance to blow Harley and/or Cassandra away, but don’t, and just talk about it beforehand in that typical Hollywood movie way… which always leads to it NOT happening.
Overall, Birds Of Prey probably seemed like a great idea on paper, and a way to follow-up Wonder Woman by having a movie which was also female-centric and with a female director, but while it had some mild amusement early on, if you haven’t got a plot, you’re going to have issues.
Will there be a sequel? Well, the budget on this was $84.5m, and while most films will need to recoup 2-3 times their budget to break even, Warner would be looking for around $800 for a really successful film in such a franchise. Before the cinemas closed, it took just $201m worldwide. Okay, so it had a truncated release schedule and could’ve made more, but even when the cinemas were open, in the US, it was No.1 in its first week, then dropped to No.2, then No.3, then No.6, then No.8 and then No.11, so it was pretty much all done on the big screen.
For those who missed it, there is a post-credit bit… of sorts.
Also, now you can buy an Official DC Birds of Prey Harley Quinn Poster T-Shirt
Film score: 1/10
Running time: 109 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros
Released: April 24th 2020
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Format: 2.39:1 (Anamorphic /i Scope, ARRIRAW (3.4K), Dolby Vision)
Director: Cathy Yan
Producers: Sue Kroll, Margot Robbie, Bryan Unkeless
Harley Quinn created by: Paul Dini, Bruce Timm
Screenplay: Christina Hodson
Music: Daniel Pemberton
Harley Quinn: Margot Robbie
Renee Montoya: Rosie Perez
Helena Bertinelli / The Huntress: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Dinah Lance / Black Canary: Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Roman Sionis: Ewan McGregor
Cassandra Cain: Ella Jay Basco
Victor Zsasz: Chris Messina
Ellen Yee: Ali Wong
Sleazy Breeder: David Ury
Shallow Friend #1 / Kathrine: Sara Montez
Shallow Friend #2: Isabel Pakzad
Sionis’ Chauffeur: Daniel Bernhardt
Naïve Teammate: Kc Strubbe
Skeptical Teammate: Jacky Shu
Bitchy Teammate: Paloma Rabinov
Tim Evans: Derek Wilson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.