Birds of Prey

Sammie Thompson, Reporter

The pain of a breakup is something that millions of people can relate to. The combination of ice cream, sad music, and cheesy movies is renowned as a universal remedy to cure all of the symptoms a breakup might bring. Unless you’re Harley Quinn. Harley makes this fact well-known throughout Gotham City in the new DC movie: Birds of Prey, which takes place after Suicide Squad and Harley’s official split from The Joker. 

After Harley finds herself living independently on the streets of Gotham City, she realizes just how many people are out to get her, including crime boss Roman Sionis, otherwise known as Black Mask. Meanwhile, Sionis and his villainous sidekick, Victor Zsasz, are searching for a diamond, which is the key to a famous fortune. Harley teams up with an unexpected group of women- Black Canary, Huntress, Renee Montoya, and Cassandra Cain- to keep Sionis from getting this fortune and to save their own lives.

Birds of Prey first hit theaters February 7th, and it received mixed reviews. I went to see the movie over the long weekend, and boy was it an experience. Don’t get me wrong, Birds of Prey isn’t just the story of how some random girl gets over a messy breakup through seemingly extreme, and violent, ways. It also deals with themes of female empowerment, teamwork, and justice as the five main female leads band together to defeat a villain who is kind of the poster child for a misogynistic scumbag. Despite these positive messages, I definitely understood why the movie received an R rating within the first few minutes of watching it. There was an excessive amount of language and content that contained alcohol and other substances throughout the whole movie. It did get pretty chaotic at times, so I would definitely not recommend watching this to children. 

What set this movie apart from other superhero movies, and DC movies specifically, was the bold, colorful tone that it possessed, which shone especially through the character of Harley. I think it’s fair to say that Margot Robbie, who has played Harley in both Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey, carried this movie on her back. Her passion for Birds of Prey (both as an actress and producer) was evident through her superb acting, and the complex personality of her character was probably my favorite part of the movie. Another character that showed this complexity was Roman Sionis (or Black Mask), played by Ewan McGregor. McGregor played the “ultimate villain”, and he was not afraid to lean into the true raunchiness of his character. Despite a somewhat weak plot line, this acting combined with the carefully choreographed action scenes is what I believe was able to capture the audience. 

There has been some controversy about whether or not this movie is truly empowering to women. It was directed, produced, and for the most part, created by women. However, the revealing costumes of many of the female actors has caused some people to question if these characters are really being portrayed in the right way. Also, the group of women that ultimately bands together to try and save the day does not connect until near the end of the movie- something that I personally would’ve liked to see earlier. The plot is a little rough around the edges, however, I do think that the intention to empower women was there, unlike many traditional “superhero” movies.

Birds of Prey received a 78% score on Rotten Tomatoes, much higher than Suicide Squad’s score of a 59%. Overall, I would generally agree with this rating. I was thoroughly entertained through the vibrant fight scenes and special effects, however, I wish the plot was a little more developed. I am curious to see where DC will take Harley next, with her new transition into individuality and the formation of the new group in this movie.