Birds of Prey Brings The Action Without The Character

Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” doesn’t offer any real surprises. That’s not a bad thing considering DC’s rocky film past. The film doesn’t break new ground as last year’s “Joker” tried to do. Nor does it try to cram too much in leaving the plot in disarray like it’s predecessor ‘Suicide Squad’ did. It sets out to give Harley Quinn a somewhat more fleshed out character than we’ve seen before. It manages to accomplish that and be fun but forgettable at the same time.

The Heartbreak Of The Suicide Squad

“Birds of Prey” has been around for awhile in the DC Universe. The film isn’t the first time we’ve seen the characters on screen. That honor belongs to the 2002 WB series. The film introduces us to the lineup of said team or at least this version of the group. Tacking Harley’s breakup story onto the introduction of the rest of the team doesn’t leave a lot of room for the intro, though. Not as disappointing as ‘Suicide Squad,’ but still, we have mostly broad strokes for character development.

Harley Makes A Movie

The film might have fared somewhat better had this just been a Harley Quinn vehicle. That seems to be a common mistake in the DC universe of films. Outings like “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman” do well because they focus on their titular characters. “Birds of Prey” suffers in the same way because there are too many characters thrown in. It is stronger than “Suicide Squad” or “Batman V Superman” due to its focusing mostly on Harley. It could have been better still if she were the only Bird to watch.

The Rest Of The Birds

The draw of Harley is undeniable, and Margot Robbie embodies the character perfectly. It does play as though the animated version springs to life in Robbie’s take. Rosie Perez also brings a pretty deep back story to Detective Renee Montoya. Not the good cop from the animated Batman series, she now is perennially passed over for promotions and takes to a drinking problem as a result. Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress get their story out there. Both are compelling enough that you’ll wish the film would have spent more time with them, though.

A Cartoon Villain

Ewan McGregor’s Roman Sionis suffers a similar fate. He’s entertaining, albeit a bit cartoonish. A funny thing to say about a movie based on an animated character, but it can be a bit much here. Practically any of the mob boss characters from the Batman universe could fill in, and the story would play the same. The same is true of the rest of the characters in the movie, with Harley being the sole exception.

Birds Of Prey

All in all, “Birds of Prey” is a fun romp. Filled with action and laughs, but mostly forgettable. If it is, as it would seem, meant to set up a series of films, the other characters will need more origin time in the next movies. Otherwise, the audience will be left wondering where Harley is and that won’t make for a great film.