Take a less funny Deadpool plus John Wick action and slap Harley Quinn-isms, and you got yourself Birds of Prey.
Score: 3 / 5
2016’s Suicide Squad wasn’t a good movie. Out of the mess that is was, there were two shining spots, Will Smith’s Deadshot, and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. That said I always felt like Harley Quinn was a character that shouldn’t be the center of attention. So when they announced a Birds of Prey movie, I thought, well that is smart. Another questionable hero/villain team up movie, where maybe they could learn from their mistakes. They did, but it is wrapped around Harley being more than just a side character, and that kind lessened the experience to me.
First to the good. The action in this movie is awesome. It’s the best thing about this movie. It has a John Wick feel to it, which the stunt experts from that franchise consulted on it, so that makes a lot of sense. In fact, the movie kind of feels like it was cut that way to really really emphasize that the action here is the star of the show. I thoroughly enjoyed a sequence where Harley breaks into a Police Station. It’s the real gem of this whole movie.
Along with the action quiet a few of the new cast members were a real blast. Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s The Huntress, Chris Messina’s Victor Zsasz, and Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask were all a lot of fun to watch. Where Suicide Squad had a villain problem, Birds of Prey did not. The real bummer of these new characters is that they felt like extras in a Harley story, and thus you don’t get nearly enough time with these characters as you would like.
This leads into the problem, the overall structure of the movie has Harley acting like a Deadpool of sorts and the rest of the Birds of Prey are her X-Force. And when I mean Deadpool I mean full on voiceover forth wall stuff, some vulgarity, and the main character seeming a bit off because that’s cool. It’s just Harley Quinn is not Deadpool. Margot Robbie who is an amazing actress, cannot match the Ryan Reynold’s mastery of Wade Wilson.
Also, the over reliance on the action really created a problem that Suicide Squad had. Every other seen felt like a music video for the soundtrack that Warner Bros was able to secure. It felt very noticeable, and had me wondering was a lot of this movie left on the cutting room floor? It wouldn’t shock me because the plot was very barebones, and it felt like things were just happening and less that it was a flow of character beats.
Take a less funny Deadpool plus John Wick action and slap Harley Quinn-isms, and you got yourself Birds of Prey. Its excellent action does the heavy lifting, as the Harley focus detracts from the fun new characters that feel like extras in a shallow Harley Quinn solo show.