It’s a shame that a DC Comics’ superhero film with so much potential just ends up being a glorified advertisement for Margot Robbie.
The movie should have just been called Harley Quinn (which ironically is the name it’s potentially being changed to after its lukewarm box-office opening) because the ‘Birds of Prey’ don’t even team up until the end.
And by then there’s been far tooooooo much Harley Quinn – the role Robbie reprises from 2016’s Suicide Squad.
After splitting up with The Joker (with Jared Leto’s iteration of the iconic super-villain seemingly dead in this universe) Quinn has to fend for herself, but with her not being ‘deemed’ as the clown prince of Gotham’s ‘girl’ anymore – it puts her in the cross-hairs of many people with grievances.
One such person is Batman-lore fan favourite Roman ‘Black Mask’ Sionis (Ewan McGregor) who is about to use Quinn’s face as a morbid decoration to add to his collection – when she claims she can retrieve a priceless diamond stolen by young thief Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco).
This then brings several of the city’s female elite out of the woodwork – including Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s crossbow-wielding Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s hypersonic-screaming Black Canary and fired police officer Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez of White Men Can’t Jump fame) – and they all come together for a finale in Gotham’s Amusement Mile with the kick-ass girls taking on Black Mask’s goons, including his iconic right-hand man Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina).
Along the way Robbie’s Quinn has a few standout ‘cool’ moments – including a couple of laugh-out-loud scenes (the ‘egg sandwich’ scene for one) – and McGregor’s over-zealous Black Mask provides some funny profanity-laden sequences, even though he doesn’t quite do the character justice with an almost ‘too campy’ take on the crime lord.
But sadly the action gets repetitive – and more and more ludicrous – and it does end up surprisingly running out of ideas, and well, a little bit underwhelming. And alienates a chunk of the younger teenage girl market with its arguably unnecessary R-rating, with copious amounts of swearing and over-the-top violence to boot.
Which after Robbie’s recent Hollywood golden run is a slight misfire considering she produces this too.
This won’t harm her though – and she does generally expand Quinn’s character in a positive way – but probably a little less of her, and more of the actual Birds of Prey would have made it fly better.
Which still makes this a noteworthy hors d’oeuvre to James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad sequel semi-reboot (which Robbie is a part of) for next year – but this probably hasn’t done enough for Quinn to find her wings and snag a sequel herself.
ESP Rating: 3/5
Cast: Margot Robbie, Ewan Mcgregor, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Steven Williams & Michael Masini
Running Time: 1 Hr 49 Mins
Director: Cathy Yan
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