Harley Quinn is back on the big screen today! Thanks to my very good friend TestedByRebecca, I got to see an early screening of the movie. To see it or not to see it?
One of the only thing Suicide Squad had for itself was a wonderful squad of a cast. Although Jared Leto as the Joker turned out to be a bit of a let down for everyone and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress was underwhelming, everybody fell for the rest of the cast. One that shined more than the others was Margot Robbie as the most excentrique villain, Harley Quinn. It only seemed fair that she would be the first one of the whole cast to get her own movie: Birds of Prey! I’ve never doubted Margot Robbie’s talent but the storyline Suicide Squad scarred me enough to ask myself this question: is this movie worth the trailer?
Little intro for those who don’t know
In my humble opinion, DC comics shine better through its villains compared to heroes. At least, on screen, they are the ones people that people respond to the most. We can see it with the Joker, especially with Heath Ledger’s interpretation of him or more recently, Joaquin Phoenix’s who’s been collecting every awards this season. There’s this eternal fascination of Catwoman ever since Michelle Pfeiffer made us fall in love with her in the 90’s (I know she’s not exactly a villain but she’s not a hero either). But lately, what’s been interesting in every “superhero” movies, Marvel and DC combined, is how every good villain has that grey area in which we can see the reason they are the way they are (Joker), the part of truth in their battle (Thanos in Avengers) . And that’s how a movie were the protagonist is a known antagonist is amazing.
In the beginning of the movie, we have a little recap of everything we learned about Harley Quinn in that 4 minutes introduction scene in Suicide Squad. Before being the psychotique colorful criminal, she was Harleen Quinzel, one of the most skilled psychiatrist in Arkham asylum. Her talent lead her to have the Joker himself as her patient. But sadly, he outsmarted her and made her fall madly in love with him. She helped him escape the facility and, completely devoted to him, she proved her loyalty by having a swim in a toxic chemical tank that should’ve killed her but ended up turning her into a murderous psychopath like her new lover. Together they were the deadliest couple of Gotham until she was arrested by Batman himself (sigh).
After that, Suicide Squad happened. And now, in Birds of Prey, Harley Quinn breaks up with the clown to finally be independent from his abusive ways. Sadly, she founds out that without the Joker’s protection, every person she wronged finally felt free to come after her. And, as you can guess, that’s a lot of people.
The real review
When Suicide Squad’s trailer came out, I was so excited until I remember one thing a lot of producers tend to do that kills me from the inside every time: put every good bits of a movie in the trailer. You must have experienced this before being that it is one of DC comics speciality, and the result of this mess is that it makes the entire movie hallow. Is it the case with Birds of Prey? Yes, but not exactly.
The synopsis of the movie was set to be very vague so that no one knows what the true plot is. That way, we feel like there’s a bigger scheme behind it, and a true storyline that you don’t want anyone to spoil for you. But, alas, the storyline it hid is one of the most UNDERWHELMING one I’ve ever seen: everybody wants a diamond leading to a lot of money. That’s pretty much it. Every scenes were constructed around what was seen in the trailer, but nothing more interesting happened in terms of actions or depths whatsoever.
However, that didn’t stop the movie to have good things going on. First and foremost, the cinematography is beautiful: Gotham City has never been this colorful. We were so used to the cold scenery of Batman’s city because it matches his cloak and his soul but now, Gotham shines in the color of the Arlequin. After many years of darkness and depression and rain (ugh), it finally looks like a city one chooses to live in, despite all the crimes it has.
Second thing that marks the movie is the sense of girl power it teaches. Harley Quinn is not the only badass in the movies. We have four other DC originals in the mix, all of which we met in Arrow or other DC shows: Dinah Laurel Lance aka Black Canary, Helena Bertinelli aka Huntress, Lt. Renee Montoya and a young Cassandra Cain who, for those who know, grow up to be the first Batgirl (absolutely not addressed in the movie). Those characters have no type of friendship in the whole movie but they prove that once they get together, they are more badass than an army of men. In the storyline, those scenes did nothing, but there isn’t much things as pleasant as seeing women from different races kicking ass to protect another woman.
Last but not least, oscar nominee Margot Robbie’s interpretation of Harley Quinn is one of the most satisfying thing in the world. During her Variety’s Actors to Actors interview with Jake Gyllenhaal, she talked about how fun it is to play that character and the way her eyes light up when she talked about it, it felt like it was as fun as it is to watch her be Harley Quinn. Thanks to the wonderful script, you can see how the crazy doesn’t lesser her skills as a psychiatrist. The combination of the two makes her the funniest character ever and probably the smartest of the DC universe.
Conclusion, should you watch Birds of Prey? Yes, at least once in your live. But if you’re going to make it to cinema, make your date pay the pop-corn at least. You don’t want to waste that much money on that movie.