Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Director: Cathy Yan
Running Time: 109 mins
Birds Of Prey: And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn is an American film about the frenzied chase across Gotham City that unfolds after a priceless diamond is stolen, with Harley Quinn, a young girl and a trio of other women caught in the middle.
An absolute riot from start to finish, Birds Of Prey is by far the best film in DC’s Extended Universe, thrilling with delirious eccentricity and fun-loving action throughout. Bolstered by a dynamite lead cast, striking and energetic direction and gorgeous visuals, it’s an enormously entertaining blockbuster.
From its quirky, almost underdog-style action and humour to its immense energy, I was smiling and laughing all the way through Birds Of Prey. It’s an enormous step in the right direction for DC, and feels light years away from the drab mess of Suicide Squad.
It pops off the screen with a kaleidoscopic colour palette, flies along at rapid pace over the course of a fairly short runtime, and packs a great comedic punch with its fourth wall breaks, charismatic performances and self-aware sense of humour.
The film definitely takes a lot of its cues from Deadpool, particuarly in its gleeful and still refreshing use of the freedom granted by its R rating. The action is spectacular and exciting, and with just enough violence to lend the movie genuine stakes – again a massive step up from the far more lifeless and sanitised Suicide Squad.
Birds Of Prey is an anarchic, no-holds-barred comic book blockbuster through and through, and it has a heap of fun in that knowledge. With the exception of the names on the poster and the DC logo, this is barely a superhero movie, but more of an unadulterated action-crime extravaganza with a handful of thoroughly entertaining characters.
The film’s ensemble cast is absolutely brilliant from beginning to end. Although the screenplay gets a bit muddled as it attempts to establish five or six different main characters simultaneously, the performances are so dynamic and energetic that you’re always eager to learn more about each character’s story.
Margot Robbie is dynamite as Harley Quinn, and leads the film with immense charisma – even more so than her standout turn in Suicide Squad.
Alongside, Ella Jay Basco, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (whose appearance is rather brief) and especially Rosie Perez and Ewan McGregor bring delirious energy to the table, making Birds Of Prey more than just the fantabulous emancipation of one Harley Quinn, but a well-rounded and dynamic ensemble throughout.
There’s so much going on in this film that there’s barely time to take a breath. While Suicide Squad attempted to use supposedly anarchic humour to mask an otherwise barebones plot, Birds Of Prey is filled to the brim with ideas, excitement and action, and director Cathy Yan brings it all together in spectacular fashion.
Although there are a couple of occasions where the film gets a little muddled between introductions of all its characters, Yan gives Birds Of Prey such energy and life that whatever you’re watching is an absolute delight. It doesn’t all gel perfectly well as a consistent narrative, but every little side story is filled with more fun and eccentricity than the last.
As a result, Birds Of Prey is an absolute blast no matter where you look. Its deliriously enjoyable visuals are backed up by an action-packed (albeit often muddled) plot, entertaining and likable characters, an eccentric and anarchic comedic vibe, big laughs throughout, a fantastic ensemble cast and directing that pulls it all together perfectly. So, that’s why I’m giving it an 8.2 overall.