This movie tears my feelings a little bit. On the one hand it is a fun, violent, r-rated, comic book film. On the other, it’s a weird, narratively jumbled mess of a pro-feminism message from the world’s worst feminist. And of course, being an r-rated comic book film, there’s a little kid that’s central to the plot and the main character’s growth (if you can call it that). Which is probably my new most hated trope.
The story starts with Harley Quinn’s breakup with the Joker. Since she was dating Jared Leto’s Joker we all completely understand. But once people find out she’s no longer under Joker’s protection, all the shitty things she’s done mean a lot of people want to kill her. Enter Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) a ruthless mob boss trying to get his hands on a diamond that will allow him to become the biggest power in the city’s underworld. Until a little kid pickpockets it. This little wrinkle sets off a very Kiss Kiss Bang Bang/any Guy Ritchie crime movie of varying perspectives coming together to make a coherent whole. Except without any good execution.
There are two things Birds of Prey does well. The first is Margot Robbie, she’s just awesome in this role and carries a lot of the film. The second is the action. There’s a lot of bad guys conveniently not using their guns until the last minute but the fights are well shot, and nicely gruesome at times. Plenty of snapped legs to cringe over.
But the film wants us to like Harley, and she is a bad person. She even admits it. Rooting for her doesn’t seem justified when her only motivation is getting over a breakup.I got vague whiffs of that scene in Endgame when all the female heroes gather together for no reason and we’re supposed to cheer.
Top that off with a confusing time jump first half with explainer-narration because the filmmakers couldn’t be asked to just make a coherent story keeps Birds of Prey from truly soaring.
But I’ll say this. It is the Eiffel Tower compared to Suicide Squad’s mound of horse shit.
2 1/2 out of 4 stars