Birds Of Prey

This is the Harley Quinn that Margot Robbie deserves. That we all deserve, really, away from the male gaze and into the capable hands of director Cathy Yan, writer Christina Hodson, and with Robbie herself producing.

Harley to Black Canary: “Do you know what a harlequin is? A harlequin’s role is to serve. It’s nothing without a master. No one gives two shits who we are, beyond that.” Harley Quinn has broken up with her on-again-off-again longtime love, the Joker, this time for good. Without him as an anchor, she knows she’s vulnerable. Under his protection, no one could touch her, but it turns out she’s accumulated quite a few enemies, and now that she’s untethered, they’re gunning for her. Number one on her tail: a guy who calls himself the Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), who seems to think of himself as a rival to the Joker, though he styles himself more like a Miami Vice drug lord. He does have a bit of a fetish for peeling people’s faces off, though, so don’t go underestimating him. The only way Harley can keep her keister safe is to find the missing diamond he and literally every bad guy in Gotham would like to get their greedy paws on.

In Harley’s sparkly shoes, Robbie proves she can make this role her own, and without her emo boyfriend in tow, Harley Quinn is actually an interesting character in her own right. Her origin is glossed over with a couple of smartly and quickly tossed lines; the rest of the film is devoted to amped up action sequences. Yan doesn’t just have some tricks up her sleeve, she’s got entire confetti cannons up there, glitter bombs and rainbow grenades. Her violence is slick and beautiful, set to a perfect array of pop tunes you’ll be stomping your feet to even as someone one screen’s getting their skull caved in.

I’ve seen far too many reviews mention ‘female empowerment’ (of course in a derogatory manner, eye roll) and I can only assume those people are a) men and b) morons. Did anyone refer to the Avengers movies as ‘male empowerment”? No? Yeah, didn’t think so. Birds of Prey is better than 99% of the other DC movies released in the last decade, and if it happens to star women, well, so be it. This is not about female empowerment, it’s about empowered females, women with their own agency, women who can save themselves and best their male antagonists. The only thing being fetishized here is a breakfast sandwich. Feel threatened by that? Maybe you could do with a little male empowerment yourself. I believe the Batman franchise was built on the theory of overcompensation.

Meanwhile, Robbie has built herself a fearsome army: Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and even young Ella Jay Basco. And none of them are rolling around on the ground crying about mommy Martha.

Can’t get enough? We’ve got more thoughts on Birds of Prey here.

9 thoughts on “Birds Of Prey

  1. Orca Flotta

    Male Empowerment: Exactly what the world needs some more of :/

    But as long as my fellow bishies show neither agency nor any ambition to go their own way but rely on male help for every little shit, I can’t really feel much sympathy for most of ’em. Or when last did you clean your motorcyles’s carburetor, or at least changed your car’s tire, ladies?
    Oh, never?
    kthxbai

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  2. Jade

    I’m excited to see Birds of Prey! It has been quite divisive so far, but so has every other female-fronted film. Most of the negative reviews sound pretty unfair too, not to mention sexist. Some male audiences need to realise that not every film must be made for them and them alone.

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  3. Tom

    I love this line: “This is not about female empowerment, it’s about empowered females, women with their own agency, women who can save themselves and best their male antagonists.” A very important distinction to make, one that I would not have made (well I guess being male I don’t have any ground to stand on here anyway, but still).

    At first I was annoyed with the way Ewan McGregor played his role. But then after awhile — sometime after I left the theater — it kind of struck me as perfect to make this guy just the douchiest, scuzziest POS ever. Sometimes to make a point you have to go grand with it. Cathy Yan’s film is all the more fun for it’s loud and obnoxious style. I had a really good time.

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  4. boocklishreads📚

    I had high expectations from birds of prey as I love Harley Quinn so much but trailer dissapointed me and movie let me down.. why they have to push forward THE FAKE FEMINISM AND MEN ARE EVIL agendas to promote any movie .. that sucks ..I’m a woman and I don’t appreciate this type of FEMINISM.

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