Movie Review: Birds of Prey (2020)

Synopsis: After breaking up with the Joker for good, Harley Quinn believes she will enjoy her new independence. However, once everyone finds out she is no longer under his protection, every person she ever wronged decides to seek revenge. Her only chance is to help another criminal kingpin retrieve a special diamond that was stolen and swallowed by a young pickpocket. This results in her crossing paths with three other women with their own unique gifts and stories.

Who's in it? The movie stars Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett and Ewan McGregor.

Review: My wife has been on a bit of a Harley Quinn kick lately and, because of that, we ended up re-watching the 2016 version of Suicide Squad before seeing this film yesterday afternoon. My opinion of both movies was pretty much the same - Harley Quinn (Robbie) is a badass who should have just gotten her own film.

While I thought the concept was entertaining and am always a big fan of strong, female characters, I feel like this film tried to accomplish too much for its 109-minute runtime. This is primarily because there were just too many strong, female characters.

Unless you are an avid comic book reader, chances are you aren't going to know a whole lot about characters like the Huntress (Winstead) or Black Canary (Smollett). The writers, to their credit, seemed to recognize this and made sure to give each character their own introduction (though Black Canary's was a bit on the sparse side). However, that was a big part of the problem.

Instead of a movie that shows the Birds of Prey go through the ups and downs of forming a team, the film mostly consists of a lot of Harley Quinn, plenty of exposition and doesn't even have the women really meet until just before the final battle. As a result of that, I feel like this movie would have been just as good, if not better, had Harley Quinn been the only protagonist, especially since the other women felt a bit more like secondary characters anyway.

I think this film would have been better off had DC copied what Marvel did and introduce the Huntress, Black Canary in their own stand-alone films first before having the team up with Harley and Renee Montoya (Perez). That way the film wouldn't need to be bogged down with the character introductions and could have focused solely on the main plot.

Final Opinion: I didn't hate it. I just think it could have been better had the non-Harley characters been left out or if there had been more of an effort to establish the others prior to this film.

My Grade: B-


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