Birds of Prey Attacks the Big Screen

The Stream: Too slow in the beginning and the comedy falls flat at times

The Big Screen: Excellent action sequences and cast chemistry

The Final Bill: DC’s female version of Deadpool will entertain you at a good price.

-S2S: Movie Review and Trip Fontaine

Director: Cathy Yan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Starring: Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor, Chris Messina
Runtime: 1 hour 41 minutes
Rating: R (Language, violence and a little gory)
Notable Trailers: Spiral, Fast & Furious 9, Tenet(Prologue), Wonder Woman 1984, The Woman in the Window, A Quiet Place: Part 2, No Time to Die

Welcome back to Stream to Big Screen! Now, it’s time for the DC Universe to expand on the big screen. Meet the Birds of Prey as introduced by the fantabulous Harley Quinn. Yes, that irrepressible, wild card and former paramour of the Joker is emancipated from the Suicide Squad and shepherding us through the origin story of that lady gang, featuring Renee Montoya, Black Canary and The Huntress. Margot Robbie reprises effervescent and sly portrayal of Harley. Here, she dominates. I don’t know what Birds of Prey would be without her.

Like most origin stories, Birds of Prey starts each character off in their own contained silo until they all come together in order to service the plot. As comic book movies go, this plot is not important. A bad guy wants a thing that will give him money to dominate the city. The “good” guys, or in this case the better girls, want to stop him because he’s a jerk trying to harm an innocent kid. Yada yada yada! Crash, bang, boom! The movie ends. Let’s be honest, you’re not going to see this movie because you want to be surprised by what happens.

Cathy Yan’s direction of the film can barely contain all of the energy Robbie brings to Harley Quinn, which makes the titular, Birds of Prey, take a bit of a backseat, and the screenplay by Christina Hodson is a little all over the place. I actually wish it had been funnier. There are funny quips here and there, but overall I wasn’t LOLing as much as I had hoped. There’s so much going on throughout the film. There are cartoon vignettes, explosions, and a lot of kicking butt. Also, Ewan McGregor, playing Roman Sionis, this movie’s mustache-twisting villain, and Chris Messina, the sinister henchman, are so outsized in their performances that they make more of an impact that the Birds of Prey as well – although McGregor, in particular, should have been reined in a bit. In fact, I wish there had been more to The Huntress. She just recedes in the background while both Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez, and Black Canary, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, get good moments and hold their own against the otherwise dominating Harley Quinn.

Nevertheless, there is a lot to like aside from just Margot Robbie. The film’s runtime is manageable and not bloated like some other comic book movies – I’m looking at you, Marvel Universe. In general, the movie moves at a good clip, not really wasting time. The fight scenes have a lot of pizzazz to them, which is interesting considering how dark films set in Gotham can be. Also, there are some really good and interesting music choices sprinkled throughout.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Birds of Prey is worth the price of a ticket in the theater. It was a fun night at the cinema. Sure, the plot isn’t important but you’re really just there to see Harley Quinn wreak havoc. And, havoc she wreaks!

I think we completely agree on this one. DC Comics has provided one of their more entertaining films with Birds of Prey. When the dust clears, DC has provided the theaters their female Deadpool-like protagonist. I do wish the movie were a bit funnier and the villain a bit more essential to the story but I’ll suffice with great fight scenes instead. This movie definitely is a good watch on the big screen but save yourself a few bucks with a matinee showing.