‘Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey’ Review: Don’t get Caught in this Trap

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Kyley Fishman, Head Editor/Chief

Somebody owes me $20 for seeing this.

Unlike the bad movies that become cult classics like Sharknado, Birds of Prey was just bad. Starring Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the R-rated movie is based off what happens after the 2016 film, Suicide Squad. However, introducing new female “icons” such as Huntress (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollet-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), this movie fails to bring that same enjoyable energy from the previous film and falls short of making these classic female superheroes enjoyable.

Following the stereotypical trope of bad guy vs good guy, this film decides to turn bad guy against even badder guy. However, neither the bad guy vs now supposedly badder guy was able to reinvent the trope into something else. Just as expected, the plot feels like it’s being thrown through the ringer and nothing tasty is coming out. The “baddest” guy, Roman Sionis, (Ewan McGregor) and his very loyal henchmen (Chris Messina) want a diamond that holds encrypted codes to a vault that holds billions and… well, that’s all we know about that. They are willing to go as far as to murder the innocent thief Cassandra Cain, forcing the rag-tag crew of females to get together, and surprise surprise, keep this from happening and punish Roman.

But wait, there’s more! Roman Sionas is also Black Mask, another very notorious villain in the DC Universe. But don’t get too excited, there’s very little action where Roman actually dons the mask. In fact, forget Black Mask is in this movie. The movie already did.

Disregarding the lack of fluent characters, screenwriter Christina Hodosn and director Cathy Yan threw a lot onto the big screen; scenes such as intense flashbacks, endless pop music, an illustrative narrator, and well choreographed, bone-crushing fight scenes were included. They even went down the same route as Marvel’s Deadpool– using a lead character to break the fourth wall. However, unlike Deadpool, they did it with a nice touch of cringe on the side. Ferris Bueller would not be proud.

Some were lucky to miss the hit and miss, scattered, comedy mess. When the movie was first released in early February, it barely made a dent in the box office due to the extravagant original name Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn). Not only is it a mouthful to say, but it’s a handful to type. Another issue that was raised was that many thought it was a movie about actual birds of prey, throwing some unfortunate souls off when they walked in expecting a documentary about Falcons, and instead getting a screaming Harley Quinn. Therefore, to get the viewings up a little, Warner Brothers changed the title to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, because who doesn’t like Harley Quinn?

Unsurprisingly, one of the few enjoyable aspects of the movie was Margot Robbie herself (who also helped produce the movie). Despite her character – and others for that matter- having virtually no character development, Robbie’s enthusiastic energy was one of the few things keeping the viewers slightly distracted from the plot holes. Along with her colorful costumes and lovable hyena named Bruce, it’s easy to enjoy her character. However, Robbie’s energy failed to bring the movie up the charts at the box office. The lack of Will Smith, Batman, and the Suicide Squad version of Joker made the movie plummet to a $35 million dollar earning on its opening weekend, an earning easily incomparable to the $93.5 million dollar opening week earnings another DC movie released earlier this year, Joker (2019), achieved.

Joker was able to be provocative and earn controversial thoughts. Birds of Prey does the exact opposite. Not only is it rated-R for its constant use of the f-bomb and multiple other swear words, but it constantly provides sexual harassment and even a scene of forced undressing. It even goes so far as to say one the reasons many people hate Harley is because she voted for Bernie. Tropes of female anger and sort-of-not-really feminism can also be seen within the girl squad. Misogyny is even thrown into the already confusing mix. However, despite being meant to bring people further into issues both women and men face daily, the try-hard movie only grazes over these actually controversial topics.

In all honesty, the best part of the movie was the popcorn and Sprite.