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05th Feb 2020

REVIEW: Birds of Prey gives Harley Quinn the break she deserves

Jade Hayden

Behind every successful man, there’s a badass broad.

Or at the very least, there’s a bat-wielding Margot Robbie in a crop top trying to take her life back.

Such is the premise of DC’s latest superhero offering, Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). 

Released just in time for Valentine’s Day, the movie kicks off exactly where you’d expect any romance and obsessive love story to begin: in the midst of a pretty bad breakup.

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), fresh out of her relationship with the elusive and abusive Joker, finds herself in a predicament: how does she achieve strong, independent woman status now that she’s alone in the world?

This issue is one that unfortunately can’t simply be solved with drinking or, as the movie’s opening scene would suggest, by blowing up a chemical plant.

Rather, Harley needs to discover her own purpose in life, gain her independence, and glitter bomb a load of bad guys along the way. Which, unsurprisingly, she does – a lot.

Along for the ride are Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) – a group of women haphazardly thrown together, bonded by their shared experience of being consistently underestimated and repeatedly overlooked.

Directed by Cathy Yan, Birds of Prey provides audiences with a female led superhero movie that doesn’t lean solely on its characters simply being women to tell a story.

Each member of Harley’s squad might not get ample time to flesh out their grievances in the movie’s almost two hour runtime – and the plot itself doesn’t exactly add anything new to the superhero sphere – but Bird’s of Prey‘s message is distinct and accessible:

Maybe a badass broad doesn’t have to stand behind a successful man. Maybe she’s badass enough on her own.

Birds of Prey doesn’t change the world. It does, however, present a woman who has recently escaped from a dodgy relationship and managed to build herself the beginnings of an empire.

It’s also an entertaining watch and the fight scenes are pretty decent, so a solid enough result for your standard superhero movie.

Backed up by a strong and diverse cast, the film is less about blatant and fruitless Girl Power and more about a bunch of independent women who have all got their own story to tell.

And by the time Birds of Prey‘s (incredibly rushed yet mildly satisfying) ending arrives, Harley has indeed told hers.

She has also successfully managed to free herself entirely from the Joker’s emotional clutches, a feat that would have been glaringly impossible for the Harley of 2016’s Suicide Squad. 

After all, it doesn’t take all that long for her past relationship obsession to become as inconsequential as what she’s eating for breakfast – literally.

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is released in Irish cinemas on Friday, February 7.

You can check out the trailer below: