Harley Quinn: Birds Of Prey

Took some time before writing this after watching Birds Of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) in hopes that something would change.  Nothing has.  It is what it is; not good.  And we all had such high hopes.

It seems like ages ago that the DC movie featuring Harley Quinn (played by Margot Robbie) was announced and would be starting production soon.  Everyone was happy, birds were chirping, all was right.  Sadly, this is what they came up with.

The movie is a jumbled mess.  A half-hearted mix of Deadpool-esque humor (though not as good), Suicide Squad storyline, and outdated special effects not seen since, well, there isn’t anything to compare it to.

The first part of the movie rehashes the Suicide Squad/Harley love-hate story with Joker and literally uses cuts from the film to do so.  Harley (Robbie) is hesitant to let the Gotham underworld in on the fact the she’s no longer with Joker because, if she did, it would spell her doom by the hands of everyone she’s done wrong.  Not long after this setup she ditches a truck, driving it straight into a building (the site of she and Mr. J’s coupling in the last movie) in an attempt to tell Gotham publicly that she’s no longer with him.  And this type of nonsense continues for the rest of the film.

A diamond is stolen by a pickpocket, a madman in a mask (Black Mask played by the usually awesome Ewan McGregor), and Harley cuts a deal to find said diamond by teaming up with the most unlikely of superheroes.  All very typical and cliche.  To top it off, the reason Black Mask wears his mask is never explained and the film is full of references to old 80’s police shows letting everyone know that the horrible acting is intentional, or so I’ll assume.

The action is so-so with most of it coming off as laughable (Harley uses a firearm loaded with beanbags.  Seriously).  Some of the timeline of events are presented creatively;  not with flashbacks but actual, real time movie sequences played in reverse.  However, Huntress and Black Canary come across as awkward and, again, laughable.  Even the attempts at genuine Brooklyn accents are simply not good.

The soundtrack is decent and helps out some but even this is filled with remakes of old classics.  Just stick to the classics, please.

Speaking of classics, the Joker (and Catwoman) is celebrating 80 years of pop culture fandom this year.  Having both been introduced in 1940 you’d think DC would have given this a better shot on all fronts.  Most recently Aquaman, who could hardly have been considered a major character, was given the proper treatment in a world all his own, in a better than average movie, with a great cast, and now look; major player.  The DCU movies are a mess, often with no middle ground.  They’re either great (Joker, Aquaman) or horrible (Justice League, etc.) and unfortunately this one falls in the latter category.  And believe me, I wanted to like this one.  The rich character of Arkham psychiatrist turned Joker accomplice is so full of potential that we all probably thought they’d have to try to mess this one up.  Well, they certainly did.

Harley was out of her element without Joker and a world of her very own, there wasn’t a (official) Bird Of Prey in most of the movie, and Black Mask was turned into a whiney, laughable, joke.  All in all, this is bad because of what it could have been.  Maybe next time DC.

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