This follows up from the somewhat fun if very uneven Suicide Squad (2016), where Margot Robbie in that film played a character at the least that really stole the show – Harley Quinn. Now with Birds Of Prey she kind of gets her own spin-off, on paper seeming like a cool idea to try and build off of the adult-themed momentum thanks to Joker eh?
What I’ll say then is Birds Of Prey’s definitely nothing short of entertaining, stimulated by Harley having broken up with the Joker shown in Suicide Squad and this is all about her life POV. There’s a price to this though. I’m saying this because although it’s going for some sort of Tarantino non-linear approach etc., for the first 30-40 minutes it feels like it’s trying too hard to imitate all of that and you’re just thrown off, and not in the best way. The story being about Roman Sionis/Black Mask (a great/creepy Ewan McGregor!) wanting back a rare diamond stolen by Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco making a very self-assured debut) ultimately then never finds enough momentum. In the end it’s not absolutely meant to, but it’s also a side-effect of the first 30-40 minutes not being as confident as they could have been.
All the same, Margot Robbie was a key producer behind this and you definitely feel her passion behind the project. Harley absolutely makes more of an impression here, directed as well by Cathy Yan with not so much an auteur perspective (and given Robbie’s sheer force behind BOP, could there be?) but something of a party-film vibe. Indeed, as the film goes on it gets more self-assured so even as the titular Birds Of Prey gang are a bit wasted (though the actresses are cool, hello Mary Elizabeth Winstead), it’s fairly awesome.
I recommend watching the movie then. It’s a pity it doesn’t start off fantastic, I’d have personally gone for some non-linear stream-of-consciousness throughout the whole narrative as you’d arguably forgive any WTF detours? But it’s quite a fun time at the cinema.