BIRDS OF PREY (2020) SPOILER FREE REVIEW

“Birds of Prey” made history becoming the first R-rated superhero film to be written and directed by women, and feature an all-female cast. Director Cathy Yan, writer Christina Hodson, and Margot Robbie created a hilarious action flick with badass women, some of the best stars seen in recent comic book film history, mixed in with some crude character-based comedy. Two of its characters are revolutionary. Jurnee Smollett-Bell is the best onscreen version of Black Canary that DC and Warner Bros. have ever created.

Her singing, fighting, and emotional backstory create a perfect take of Dinah Lance. Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Huntress steals the show, with her dire outlook — inspired by childhood trauma, combining gritty heroism and comedy.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is no doubt the movie’s star. Focusing Harley on a “Birds of Prey,” movie might rub some fans the wrong way, it’s impossible to deny how great and funny Robbie is as Harley Quinn, and how easier of a time it was to greenlit the movie with her as the star.

“Birds of Prey,” finds Harley stuck in a crossroads in her life; breaking up with the Joker, leaves her exposed to a countless supply of goons, bad dudes, assassins, and enemies hunting her around every corner. Yan turns Gotham into a grimy colorful dreamworld with drops of cute cartoons and filled with an attitude that reflects the women who call it home. While Harley tries to find herself without Joker, she ends up butting heads with Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) and his henchman Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina).

Roman and Victor are entertaining enough, while also not distracting from the ladies at the centers of this entry into the DCEU. Aside from the A-list cast, the best part of “Birds of Prey,” is the action. Yan brought in “John Wick” Chad Stahelski to serve as Second Unit Director, giving the movie more impressive action and stunt sequences that Marvel could only dream of.

Yan creates amazing set pieces and sequences that feel fun while still creating an impact deserving of the R rating. Yan’s eye added to Hodson’s story means these action-driven moments offer up some character beats authentic to the way these characters fight, live and talk.

“Birds of Prey,” is one of the funniest films I’ve ever experienced at the cinema for a very long time. While the film has taken some notes from “Deadpool,” and “Pulp Fiction,” the cast and crew deliver a fresh and entertaining story. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the crazy world of “Birds of Prey,” and excited to see what comes after the events of the film.

Author: Lawrence Lease

Lawrence Lease is a freelance writer and screenwriter. His work can be seen on Blasting News, Cinema Gold and The Washington Ledger.

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