CHICAGO – Comic book fatigue is real, and not just because there is an embarrassment of riches in screened content but because more than a few of them take the predictable approach. That’s what sank films like “Justice League” and “Suicide Squad”, and used to threaten the future of the DC cinematic universe, but no longer. I’m happy to report that “Birds of Prey” is no lame duck.
“Birds of Prey”, or if you’re feeling extra confident in your lung capacity, “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn”, almost feels like DC’s response to the success of Marvel’s R-rated “Deadpool”, but while similar to “Deadpool 2”, they are still each extremely different. The cotton candy color palette with the carnival funhouse narrative structure bombards our senses, leaving us adequately whelmed. In a story full of backstories and tangential tales, everything feels fully fleshed out and on-brand for the characters and aesthetic.
Any fan of “Suicide Squad” is automatically a fan of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) solely based on the fact that she was the only standout of that misfit(s) movie. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules, I just point them out. Following a similar irreverent attitude, “Birds of Prey” takes us on a torrid trip into the mind of madness. For better or worse, every aspect stays true to our main character’s psyche, distorting our sense of time and even what details we should be focusing on. It might sound a bit psychologically frustrating, but don’t worry, there are a couple of musical numbers in between to keep your spirits high. Director Cathy Yan hit the nail on the head with the pacing and tone, especially when our unreliable narrator has a screw loose.
“Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” available now on VOD. Featuring Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ewan McGregor, Ella Jay Basco, and Chris Messina. Directed by Cathy Yan. Written by Christina Hodson. Rated “R”
Photo credit: Warner Bros