DC has been getting better lately in the past few movies starting with Aqua Man.
Is this continuing their hot streak?
Birds of Prey Review
PLOT – Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) breaks up with the Joker (a thankfully unseen Jared Leto). Now not under his protection, Harley evades the police and other thugs as she just tries to survive. She contends with foes like Roman Sionis, the Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) and Victor ZsasZ (Chris Messina) while making allies with the likes of Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Caine (Ella Jay Basco).
They try to take the Deadpool route with the plot (fourth-wall breaking, non-chronologic plot, and narration), but it falls short of being truly great. This is my main problem with this film. It is JUST a hair away from being awesome. Every scene is missing the cherry on top to make this movie sundae perfect. There are your standard action sequences throughout, and a manhunt middle of the movie, but the plot keeps diverging as it tries to give enough time to each character’s story. There is also a “men are evil” theme running through the movie that doesn’t let up even the slightest.
My PLOT RATING is 2/5. The plot is serviceable at best, but barely holds up under scrutiny.
Harley Quinn is the star of the show here. Robbie plays her as this acting-out, basically insane woman with no morals or qualms. It makes it hard to root for her and not much humor comes from her in the film, it comes more from the situations and settings within. She is in this for 80% of the movie and the sole reason why this film is being retitled with her name. She does play the character excellently, I just personally don’t feel that much for the character.
Roman Sionis, Black Mask is the best character in the film. He’s unhinged, prone to outbursts, suave in places, and chews through the scenery like it’s popcorn. McGregor clearly had a lot of fun with this role and it shows. Several scenes with him and memorable and very uncomfortable.
Victor Zsasz is your standard villainous henchman of the creepy killer variety. He has scars all over his face and body, but what is more interesting is that Sionis and Zsasz were lovers in a previous cut of the film, and I kind of felt that in some scenes. It added a twist to both villains that was refreshing.
Huntress is a good character. Deadly killer assassin on one hand, but on the other, an awkward person with no social skills. She actually provides a lot of awkward humor during the film when it comes to humorous dialogue.
Black Canary fights the most out of the Birds of Prey team, and she also has a sonic scream ability that she uses only once. She is Black Mask’s driver for most of the film, and also his lounge singer.
Detective Montoya is a character that tries too hard. She is the stereotypical detective that will follow the leads and prove her point at any cost, but again, this is because of the oppressive male-female dichotomy that the film presents, and not because of her character.
Cassandra Caine is a plot device in the film. She steals and swallows a diamond and serves as a living macguffin.
My CHARACTERS RATING is a 3/5. There are too many of them to stand out, and 80% of the film focuses on Harley Quinn. The villains are luckily interesting enough to watch, but the other girls are stereotypical and serve to just make this team-up happen (about an hour and a half too late).
DIALOGUE – The dialogue is very straightforward and to-the-point, and serves to move the plot along. Not many lines were memorable, and the humor mostly came from the actions the characters took rather than their dialogue.
My SCRIPT RATING is 2/5. Unmemorable and served the plot.
EFFECTS – The effects are done with a lot of love. The police station fight is a key scene for this rating. The effects of pink and blue smoke, along with the slow motion confetti and fight choreography make this scene great. The sets and lighting are also top notch. Gritty and grimy – perfect for a city, contrasting with the dimly lit but expensive-looking club scenes. Some of sets also look small, as if this was a play rather than a film, and I appreciate that style. The costuming is also looking great, with Harley Quinn having around five costumes in the film.
My EFFECTS RATING is 5/5. The special effects artists clearly had a lot of fun with this film. Lighting and set design are top-notch, and feel like a smaller scale production, more cozy rather than sprawling and broad. Costumes look great and match the characters.
MUSIC – The music is as memorable as the script. Standard action music mixed with current pop songs. The only good moment is a cover of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” where Harley Quinn goes full-on Marilyn Monroe, but that’s about it.
My MUSIC RATING is 2/5. The music is memorable in one scene, but that’s all.
Birds of Prey
FINAL RATING: 70/100
FINAL THOUGHTS – Birds of Prey falls short of being great. Poor plot, dialogue, and music drag the film down, while there are too many characters to focus on. The effects are great, however, as is the set design, lighting, and costuming.
Nonetheless, coming out of the film for the first time, it was way better than I expected. Over time, however, my opinion has soured some, but hey, at least this isn’t Suicide Squad.