Birds of Prey – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Birds of Prey – Fantabulous in Flight: Anarchy is Queen

In the world of comic books, DC has a plethora of adventures that can take you away, but not always strike the right note of excellence.  For every Dark Knight, there is a Justice League.  The next in line is a story that takes one of its popular characters and moves them in a new direction.  Birds of Prey provides a colorful journey, creating an escape that is indifferent to the norm.  With a simplistic story and some obvious comic book tropes, Birds of Prey is another twist to the genre that puts the fun in anarchy.    

The story begins with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) splitting from the Joker.  This new lease on life comes with a price, leading down a path of self-discovery.  The premise pushes forward an ideal setting of characterization that mixes general coming of age tropes with comic book elements from the DC lore.  This helps create a central focal point and provide background for the situation and additional character interactions.  The ‘trigger event’ of the split-up builds towards the main plot: Quinn teaming up with other Gotham femme fatales to stop the crime lord, Black Mask (Ewan McGregor).  The outline is built on the simple ‘teaming up to stop the bad guy’ trope, but it is the unusual nature of the direction and oddities of individuals that gives a genuine feel to the journey.  As you watch Quinn and gang work through the messiness of Gotham’s criminal underground, it is given through the chopped-up direction technique that mixes in witty/darkly dialogue, bombastic action set pieces and subtle exposition.  Everything (at first) feels convoluted, but the nature of the direction trivializes comic book tropes within the art of the visuals.  You’re enraptured by the anarchy, which is pushed forward through the characterization of Harley Quinn.  Robbie provides the crux to all the characters, situations and overall mood.  This gives an ingenious feeling to obvious gags and archetypes that are generally tired and boring. 

As the story moves along, Quinn ends at a spot where she finally teams up with the rest (Black Canary, The Huntress and Renee Montoya) to finish the job.  This brings the generalizations of the outline to the forefront, slowing down the colorful nature of the journey.  The predictable aspects begin to weight down the enjoyment factor, revealing some of the faults of relying on visual gags and stylized appeal.  This is only a momentary thing, as the final act levies out the faults within an intuitive display of one colorful action set pieces.  This leads to a full circle climax that ends in an epilogue of redemption for Gotham’s femme fatales.  Birds of Prey is a comic book film that provides a fun, colorful adventure that goes against the grain.  Even when the stylistic approach starts to feel lackluster, it finds a way to stay strong and enjoyable.  If you’re a fan of the character or DC comics, this is one for you.  Worth seeing at the theater as a matinee.

Full Score – 3.5 out of 5 (Matinee)

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