‘Birds of Prey’ Review – An Action-Packed, Colorful, and Energetic Story of Emancipation

Last Wednesday, I and our lead film editor Ben Rolph arrived at the Birds of Prey World Premiere at the BFI IMAX in London. Despite being disappointed by Suicide Squad, I had been eagerly awaiting the return of my favorite character from the franchise, Harley Quinn, ever since test footage was released in early 2019. After walking the ‘fantabulous’ yellow carpet, we took our seats, keen to see what Harley’s new adventure had to offer.

From Left to Right: Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Margot Robbie, Ella Jay Basco and Jurnee Smolett-Bell in The Birds of Prey (2020)

Before the screening began, the cast was asked to describe the film in one word and unanimously agreed that badass was the perfect word and it truly is.

Every minute of Birds of Prey is extraordinarily entertaining. The story follows Harley after she parts ways with the Joker and is the ultimate chaotic story of finding your true individuality. However, it also does not take Harley long to realize that she is no longer under the protection of the Joker and his reputation, leaving many people out to get their revenge on her. As she does best, Harley gets herself caught in a sticky situation where she forms the greatest girl gang that the comic book movie scene has ever witnessed.

The dynamic between the leading women is gripping and empowering. The relationship that forms between Harley and young Cassandra Cain is especially interesting as you see Harley become increasingly fond of her new little sidekick. All of these characters are looking for redemption and that is what makes these particular character arcs so fascinating.

Margot Robbie and Director Cathy Yan

Director Cathy Yan’s vision successfully drives this movie that is packed full of immense talent. Margot Robbie is undeniably remarkable as Harley Quinn, a character that has become a fan favorite following Suicide Squad and somehow she plays her even better than before. She brings such a perfect balance of fearlessness and vulnerability in this film as the narrative delves deeper into how Harley functions as a person.

Alongside her is Mary Elizabeth Winstead who perfectly masters the dark but witty personality of Huntress as well as Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary who is an incredibly talented singer as well as being a ruthless badass. Detective Renee Montoya played by the legendary Rosie Perez who is the first openly gay character in the DCEU. Every single of one these women bring their own unique flair, including the small but mighty Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain whose sassy energy makes her an absolute scene-stealer.

Ewan McGregor is hilariously eccentric as the notorious crime lord Roman Sionis and is potentially the most entertaining villain that the DCEU has ever seen. He is accompanied by the ferocious Victor Zsasz played by Chris Messina. Sionis’s immaturity being juxtaposed with his psychotic nature leaves the audience never quite knowing what he will do next as well as also the basis of multiple comedic moments.

Costume Design by Erin Benach and Production Design by K. K Barrett

In terms of design and aesthetics, this film exceeds even the highest expectation. The film is packed full of color, unique set pieces, and extravagant costumes. Outfits worn by a character in this film is a testament of their personality. Harley’s outfits are a progressive that represents her new identity and a bubbly spirit. Many scenes in this film contain some of the most memorable, well-choreographed and exhilarating action sequences that I have ever seen. One specific set piece that is especially distinct is the funhouse sequence that retains its feistiness whilst still being vibrant. The overarching design directing really sets the tone for the story to flourish in.

Diamonds by Megan Thee Stalion and Normani

The soundtrack was executively produced by Margot Robbie, meaning that every song has her personal approval. The film’s soundtrack features 15 incredible songs by some of the most iconic women in the music industry. The music perfectly embodies the badass nature of the characters and amplifies every single action sequence leaving the audience feeling empowered and energized.

Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina as Roman Sionis and Victor Zsasz

Every moment in this film is intoxicatingly fun and amusing. It is so evident that the cast and crew had an amazing time crafting this film into the entertaining extravaganza it is. This film will continue paving the way for strong female-made blockbusters. Every character has so much personality and the film will leave you wanting more. This film epitomizes fun and is absolute brilliance in every way, I personally cannot wait to see where they choose to take these characters next.

This is without a doubt one of the must-see films of the year that is filled to the brim with stylish and superb filmmaking, thrilling action, engaging characters as well as a brilliantly catchy soundtrack.

 

Birds of Prey is in cinemas worldwide February 7th!

 

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