Kelly Takes Flight With Birds of Prey (2020)!

BOP 002Rating: B

Basically: Margot Robbie is [insert chef’s kiss here].

Summary: The story of Harley Quinn and the Joker’s break up, but the Joker has been replaced with Obi Wan Kenobi.

Yet another comic book-based flick. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to see this based on that alone, but then I figured if I’m going to support any of them, it might as well be the one with the ladies. I’m not mad I saw this, but I do have a lot of meh feelings about everything that doesn’t have action in it- which thankfully is not much.

This is pretty much a Margot Robbie vehicle and she is damn good in this. However, the overall feel is the story is shoehorned (exactly like those random name cards that DC insists on keeping around) and I can’t help but feel that this movie is manipulated into a girl power piece for the sake of being a girl power piece. Don’t get me wrong- I like that the villain shows lots of examples of toxic masculinity and red flag traits. I also like that the women recognize each other’s capabilities right off the bat. But apparently the only reason the Birds of Prey get together is because they rally around Harley Quinn and realize working together is fun! Like, ok, just say it’s a Harley Quinn movie and toss in the “I think we work well together” without the epilogue. That would have been so less on the nose about the whole Birds of Prey thing. I’d really like to have a movie featuring solid female leads that don’t feel so thrown together. As badass as she is, I’m not sure how Black Canary really fits into this other than she’s a singer who conveniently knows kung-fu. Huntress kind of fits in even if it is plot device-y, Rosie Perez mostly fits in, and Ewan McGregor- whoa.

I’d like to know who pulled the plug on Jared Leto as the Joker in this because the role for Black Mask is so clearly meant to be for the Joker. Was it Leto who didn’t want to play second fiddle to Robbie? Was he unsatisfied being a pretty uncomplicated villain and abusive boyfriend and not getting a dedicated character movie? Or did Robbie not like him and was able to pull strings once she became producer? Or did the producers look at the reviews for Suicide Squad and nope right out of that? Who the fuck is Black Mask and suddenly I’m supposed to believe he has ALL control over Gotham. Yeah, this was supposed to be Leto. Whatever the case- it works. Ewan McGregor (severely and somehow underrated even today) is batshit insane, appropriately power-hungry and arrogant with poor listening skills, and takes things way too personally. Like one of those people who on a first date will order for you and then explain how you should use your fork. Ew!

I liked McGregor in this so much that at some point, he wears a shirt with a pattern of his own face and I’m like, “Of course, I absolutely am okay with this. Where do I sign up?”

While using the actual Joker character would have tied this all together nicely- but I get it, we’ve had way too many of those- this was still a fairly entertaining piece. I ripped on it a little before, but I did have a good time with this. There is a good chemistry between the leading women, especially in the fight choreography. The action is really very good- it’s very thoughtfully conducted and practical which came as a relief after a lot of these pieces having CG. It also looks like Margot Robbie did 70% of her own stunts, which only increases my respect for her. If this is what she can do with a green director, I am extremely excited to see what James Gunn does with her.

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