“Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey” is DC’s newest movie, and hit the theaters recently in February. The movie follows none other than Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, a DC villain known for being the Joker’s girlfriend and sidekick. However, in this adaptation, Harley makes her debut as a single woman, ready to take on the world as an independent anti-hero.
As DC movies don’t exactly have the best track record among audiences (I’m looking at you, “Suicide Squad”) I was walking into the theater with low expectations. By the time the movie was over however, I was more satisfied than I had expected. Despite some glaring flaws, I enjoyed a good bit of the film.
The main grievances I had for the movie were with the fight scenes and the editing.
The fight scenes began to feel redundant and repetitive, and I would have preferred some of this screen time to be used to develop the characters more or show more character interaction.
The editing also fell victim to a similar problem that “Suicide Squad” faced. By using bright neon text to tell the audience who a person was, rather than visually explain something, it made the movie feel more like a music video. It isolated and removed me from the moviegoing experience.
The film spent so much time trying to dazzle the audience with flashy colors (which was aesthetically pleasing in some aspects) and jarring edits, that we didn’t have any time to get to know or understand the characters a lot. By the time our main group finally all gets together, the movie is practically over. So we hardly get any time to see how these characters interact and mesh with one another.
Despite this, I liked the incorporation of intersectional feminist themes and the representation of women from many backgrounds. It was nice to see a ragtag group of women ultimately work together to defeat Black Mask, a villain who brandished his misogynistic tendencies throughout the movie, and represented a lot of toxic male behavior.
The film’s comic relief was also a source of interest for me, especially with the character Huntress, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Rather than fall into the trap of being the perfect saint and a morally good hero, or an overly-rebellious anti-hero who has no qualities other than being able to kick people in the face, she was revealed to be a more down-to-earth, realistic person (albeit she still had anger issues). She was able to portray an awkward and funny, yet charming heroine, which is a role in superhero films that women rarely fill. I wish the movie gave her more screentime because her character was a highlight for me.
Now, was this movie worth the watch? It depends. On the one hand, there were quite a few issues; however, it did not take away from the overall enjoyment of the movie. If we’re looking at it in comparison to other DC films, I think this is definitely one of their better releases. In short, I would say yes, there are some overly-harsh reviews out there that make this movie sound worse than it really is, but I say you should still give it a chance.