MOVIE REVIEW: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

#squad
  • GCPD Detective Renee Montoya, fellow transplant from Batman: The Animated Series who’s building a case against Roman Sionis
  • Mafia heiress and trained assassin Helena Bertinelli AKA “the Huntress”, sworn to kill the men responsible for killing her family, of which Mr. Zsasz is one of them
  • Dinah Lance, daughter of the original Black Canary, now a double-agent for Black Mask AND the GCPD. She is also a next-door neighbor to…
  • Cassandra Cain, a young pickpocket who nabs the Bertinelli Diamond and swallows it for safekeeping thus becoming the MacGuffin.
A moment of peace with Cassandra Cain (L, played by newcomer Ella Basco) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).
  • Watching the movie, I realized Joker put Harley out and she stayed out. If you go by who let go first, then Joker dumped Harley — she did not leave him. If you go by the decision to stay away as the definition of the end of the relationship, then Harley did leave him. Given Harley’s forgiving nature when concerning Mistah J, he probably expects her back sooner than later. Here’s hoping she stays away for good.
  • This movie went out of its way to poop on the Joker from Suicide Squad (aka Jared Leto), but did not include Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker.
  • Harley using her medical degree in psychology and medical expertise to break people down in dialogue. Most people forget she’s a doctor, and I LOVED these scenes.
  • Watching Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya reminded me how much time has passed since Do The Right Thing, but at the same time how much better she’s become. I nearly jumped from my seat when she quit the police force and became a vigilante.
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Huntress character came through perfectly. That is all.
  • Jurnee Smollett is built for this superhero stuff. But I already know this, because she was in WGN’s Underground — an unforgettable show so good it got cancelled. I’d go on about it but that’s another story for another time.
  • Ewan McGregor was a joy to watch, as he’s a psychotic weirdo encased in finery. His scenes were amazing due to the parade of cruelty he dishes out and how he carries himself during each scene. The direction and editing makes it clear we are not supposed to enjoy the action on screen in a positive way. We are not supposed to empathize with Roman Sionis.
  • That breakfast sandwich looks good AF; I want one.
  • Even though this is a Birds of Prey movie, no Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is mentioned. Cassandra Cain
  • So wait: you mean to tell me Harley’s broken a man’s knees for talking to her out of sorts, but the man that sold her out to Gotham’s criminal element for half a mil can escape with his life by saying “It’s just business”? GTFOH.
  • You and your team just had a melee with a collection of goons but you’re ready to celebrate when we all saw how many goons were outside in total. Why celebrate like nothing’s gonna happen if you didn’t get everybody?
  • There’s a scene near the end that is obviously shot for the trailer, because nobody behaves the way they did 5 minutes ago. It’s quite jarring.
  • There’s a comic-book call-out to Harley Quinn’s roller-derby costume from Amanda Conner’s run on the book and it’s awesome to see it implemented.
  • This movie is not as exciting as The Rise of Skywalker, but it is objectively better.

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