Thursday, February 6, 2020

Birds of Prey - Movie Review

The Movie: Birds of Prey

The Director: Cathy Yan

The Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Bojana Novakovic, Chris Messina, Greice Santo, Ali Wong, Ella Jay Basco, Charlene Amoia

The Story: After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.

The Review:
By now, we all know who Harley Quinn is and we all know who Margot Robbie is because they're both super awesome women, one fictional and one real. This movie has been a passion project for Margot since even before Suicide Squad was released in theaters so you know she's been pouring everything she has into getting the character, the story, and the movie to be just right. I love the fact that this movie features a bunch of really cool female characters from the DC Universe, was written by a woman, and was directed by a woman making this a truly unique comic book movie like we've never seen before.

If you don't know who director Cathy Yan is, you are about to get a crash course when you watch this movie and I would also highly recommend that you watch Dead Pigs, her directorial feature film debut. Dead Pigs is wild, crazy, colorful, and a super stylized comedy creation all of which applies perfectly to Birds of Prey's formula for success. Cathy Yan will now always be able to say she was the first Asian female to direct a super hero movie. The film's writer, Christina Hodson's previous work includes the recent Bumblebee movie which most consider to be one of the best of the blockbuster Transformers franchise so she's definitely up to the task when it comes to creating a story filled with high flying action and colorful characters.

Going into this movie, I had pretty high expectations mostly based on everything in the two paragraphs above, the energy just seemed really great and the trailers showed just enough of the sexy swagger and kick ass attitude that only deliciously villainous Harley Quinn can bring to the table. After watching the movie, I can safely say that it easily stepped up to those expectations, kicked them in the balls, and knocked them through a wall with a baseball bat and roller skates in full effect. The whole thing was just so much fun, I was laughing all the way through and cheering for Ms. Quinn as she found her way in and out of trouble at every turn.

Margot Robbie is becoming a bonafide Hollywood superstar and I firmly believe this character will be the most iconic role she ever takes on. She has spent years developing and researching every insanity filled nuance of who Harley Quinn is and does everything she can to get every moment right. The big payoff for those efforts is how she brilliantly brings to life one of the all time favorite DC comic book characters with all the style, the attitude, the devilishly cute facial expressions, and the violently explosive outbursts all coming from a mind that is half genius and half deranged criminal.

All of this and then surrounding Harley with talented ladies like Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ella Jay Basco, and Rosie Perez makes for a really fun variety of characters that was actually way more interesting to watch than the who's who of super villains that filled the Suicide Squad roster a few years back. Oh hey, I haven't even mentioned yet that Ewan McGregor is so good and so much fun as the villain to the villains in the story. He creates a uniquely psychopathic character that will do just about anything because really no one can stop him. It was great to see one of my favorite actors really dig into a character like this and absolutely nail it.

One of the most entertaining things about this movie for me was Harley's fighting style which relies on luck, timing, and some serious creativity to go along with a brutality that I might say is a bit unexpected yet it really fits her character perfectly. She takes full advantage of basically anything can find to use as a weapon and the things she does with a baseball bat are absolutely magical. Whoever choreographed her fight scenes needs some type of recognition because every single one of them are so perfectly Harley and so much fun to watch. Looking in the film's credits I just found the name John Valera listed as the fight coordinator so I'm going to roll with it. He has done work on so many different films including the John Wick movies and Black Panther. Do I really need to say anything else?

I almost forgot to mention the soundtrack for the movie is fantastic. I haven't had a chance to look up any of the songs so have no idea who any of the artists are, I just loved how the vibe and attitude of the songs fit the movie perfectly. Oh and one more thing I almost forgot. Ali Wong is in the movie, how cool is that?!

The Verdict:
Birds of Prey is a fun, stylish, and colorful movie that totally kicks ass. This is easily one of the best and most entertaining entries into the DC Cinematic Universe we have seen to date. Margot Robbie is amazing as Harley Quinn and Cathy Yan has proven without a doubt that she can hang with the heavyweights when it comes to directing a major franchise film. I can't wait to see what these ladies have in store for us next.

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