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Movie Review: Birds of Prey

Written by tha - bang from the blog Movies and Things with Thabang on 24 Feb 2020
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One of the biggest things to come out of the Suicide Squad (SS) movie was Margot Robbie's portrayal of Harley Quinn.

It was the first time the character had been translated onto a feature film and she did a great job. The film did okayish at the box office and not-so-good with the critics but it earned Margot Robbie a chance to produce her own movie.

So has Margot learned anything from her Suicide Squad days and does Birds of Prey (BOP) improve on SS?...well, let's dig in.

One thing Margot Robbie the producer did right was to get Warner Bros to back off and let her creative team have their way - something poor David Ayer was not able to do.

Suicide Squad reshoots were imposed by the studio and they even replaced Steppenwolf at the last minute as the main villain, hence the incoherent plot we got. In contrast, Robbie and team got to make the movie they wanted.

So we have Cathy Yan (the second female director in the DC stable) who took a very Guy Ritchie meets Quentin Tarantino take with the storytelling style.

The non-linear story, told by Margot Robbie, is very in-line with Guy Ritchie's crime classics like Snatch and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The main character narrates a crime story, filled with idiosyncratic characters and Guy Ritchie-like / QT- like structures, playing with the order of events.

Christina Hodson clearly enjoyed playing with audiences' expectations when it comes to the ordering of events, withholding certain information so as to come to the same event to see it differently from a perspective of a different character - it was an interesting device.

Cathy Yan has a great cinematic eye and the film looks cool and colourful - from the action sequences to frying an egg - it all looks great. The screen pops with colour. John Wick would approve of the colour and action sequences.

The other thing that pops is the cast from Margot Robbie's Harley to Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Huntress to Jurnee Smollet-Bell's Black Canary... there are no weak performances. Even Ewan McGregor's out there performance as Black Mask has its charms.

The only weakness is that outside from comic knows the difference between Birds of Prey and Gotham Sirens. The team-up is not so popular and the movie does not spend enough time with the ladies outside of Harley for us to truly know and understand them.

Especially Black Canary who's back story is inferred. Huntress is impacted too - it would been great to spend a little bit more time with her before the action plots kicks in. It's a minor quibble though. Overall the film is a very enjoyable popcorn film.

Even though the critics have been more favourable towards it than SS, it's a pity that there's a strong anti-sentiment towards the film. One can't put the finger on whether it's an anti-DC thing, or is it a lingering thing with fan boys not liking anything that centres round ladies who are not portrayed as the sex symbols they want?

Birds of Prey is at the same level as the Ant Man movies in the Marvel stable: better crafted than Shazaam but the Box Office results don't say that.

It's actually a better film than SS, although it builds on the foundation of SS... one hopes one day we shall get Gotham Sirens movie so we continue to see more Margot as Harley.

What It felt like:  a light-weight Pulp fiction with a bunch anti-heroes

* Trash ** Ja nee ***Good ****Almost Perfect *****Instant Classic 


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