Fast paced and high energy!
Best action film of 2020!
Eric Yanders reviews "Birds of Prey" as wicked romp through 'Harleymania'. It's foul language is only the wind beneath their wings - there's violence too!
Headlines regarding “Birds of Prey” have been filled with nothing but gloom and doom. Everything from its weak opening gross, to WB producers talking about changing the movie’s name, and even shifting focus away from “Harleymania” (Quinn’s tenure as DC’s most profitable character of the last few years may be, if WB is to be believed, waning from overexposure) does not bode well for ol Harley girl. Plus the burn that was Suicide Squad is still fresh in everyone’s memory.
As a person who went and saw this movie when it first came out, I felt I should add my own headline: “Best action film of 2020!”
You read that right, and I stand by it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how a year at the movies should start. A big, extravagant, anarchic bang. This is John Wick if it were a girls night out (now that’s a party nobody would say no to). From the opening scene of Harley’s self-destructive post breakup party, to the final showdown at Gotham’s legendary and infamous Amusement Mile, there is not a second wasted in this flick. That this is director Cathy Yan’s big budget debut is nothing short of revelatory and I can tell she has a big future ahead.
Our story begins with Harley announcing to the world that she and Mistah J have broken up by blowing up Ace Chemicals. Anyone familiar with the comics doesn’t need a refresher of the significance, and neither do the police or Gotham’s scum.
Realizing that Joker isn’t watching anymore, everyone with a grudge against Quinn decides it’s time to take her out.
During a fight with one of her would be assassins, Harley crosses paths with a young girl who, like her, is in the cross hairs of Roman Sionis aka Black Mask (played by Ewan McGregor in the character’s first big screen appearance). Their journey takes them through betrayal and triumph, and Gotham regulars such as Renee Montoya, Black Canary, and Huntress find their motives tangled up with them along the way.
And it is a vicious and bloody smack down from there on out. Bullets fly, kneecaps are shattered, people are broken and battered, yet I couldn’t help but smile. Seeing the Birds literally paint the town red was a treasure.
Yan’s insane, electrifying style kept the movie fresh and exciting even when it kind of missteped. A couple of the action sequences were long not because they were slow or boring, but because it felt as if they were meant to begin and end in sync with the background music. In these moments the movie was more like a music video, but these were only two scenes and the other action beats were pitch perfect. Acting across the board was top notch with Black Mask stealing the show anytime he showed up.
Margot Robbie could probably play this character in her sleep by now, but thankfully she has always embraced Quinn’s shattered psyche with energetic sincerity, and it can’t be denied that she was born to play her.