To the delight of many comic fans, it’s Harley Quinn, the Joker’s popular sidekick, who is getting the latest solo film treatment, and “Birds of Prey” entertains due to an ultra charismatic Margot Robbie in the lead role, and an over the top comic book antagonists, and some sharp directions that sets it all off nicely.
When Harleen Quinzell, breaks up with her “Clown Prince of Crime” boyfriend, she takes the fast tracked downward spiral into the gutter. What’s worse is that she’s also lost her protection against Gotham’s criminal underworld as well. When diamond robbery job offers her a fresh start, she’s thrown into a wild adventure with a bunch of other crime fighting misfits who are all looking for their own definition of freedom.
It works, and it’s what DC’s “Sucide Squad” misstep should have been.
The reason is works is because Robbie is there to really allow us to get to know this fun and serious flawed anti-hero. Harley Quinn is a remarkably entertaining character when put into this kind of film with strong supporting players like Rosie Perez and Elizabeth Winstead, who co-star as her reluctant allies. Ewan McGregor is just a blast as “Black Mask”, an essentially spoiled rich kid of a villain that provides some of the film’s biggest laughs. Director Cathy Yan ties it all together with a vivid film that is crisp and fast moving, all while still capturing the colorful story these characters deserve.
If there are some drawbacks here, it’s that the film does go off on some unnecessary detours and let’s not dress it up, some of the laughs are just plain goofy. There will be some eyerolls. If you’re looking for a darker, dramatic “Joker” experience then this film isn’t for you.
But if you love Robbie in the role, and want a zany but action packed feature that really packages Harley Quinn as an action hero, you’ll be just fine here.
No need to stay after the credits for this one.
“Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn)
Running time: 1 hour 53 minutes.