The DC Extended Universe Films have struggled. A lot. By the time Justice League came out the only film that had seemed to be a solid success with critics and audiences. Wonder Woman was joined by Aquaman and Shazam! as viewed through a largely positive lens. Of course, Shazam! was a bit of a disappointment in the box office, which is too bad considering it is a fun and entertaining film. Harley Quinn had it’s own issues facing it… a spin off (it is not really a sequel to Suicide Squad in any sense of the word) to a poorly received film (Suicide Squad made nearly its entire haul opening weekend) that went for an “R” rating. The only character appearing in this film was Harley Quinn. Mind you, Margot Robbie is often cited as one of the best parts of Suicide Squad, mainly because she was.
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is a pretty messy title, and considering this is a Harley Quinn movie, rather misleading. The focus is Harley Quinn and her life post Joker. But Harley discovers that life outside of the Joker actually makes her a big target for the underworld. Her biggest Danger is the Black Mask, Roman Sionis. He is after a unique jewel that was stolen by the pickpocket Cass Cain. But things get complicated and Harley finds it hard to turn Cass over to Sionis.
Alongside are several interconnected side stories, Black Canary is working for Sionis, Detective Montoya is trying to take Sionis down and the Huntress is out for revenge on Sionis and his goons. Which means they will all have to team up together.
As I said, this is Harley’s movie. She narrates the film and will constantly suddenly decide we need to learn more of the story. While this could lead to a complete mess, it kind of works as an aspect of Quinn’s personality.
I really like the characters in this film. In fact, I found myself wanting more of Black Canary and the Huntress. Ewan McGregor is clearly having a good time playing an off the rails villain. Of course, Margot Robbie is making the character her own, becoming identifiable in the way Ryan Reynolds is with Deadpool or Hugh Jackman is with Wolverine. She is so much fun in the film.
The action scenes are very well constructed and make for a whole lot of fun to watch. The film is incredibly colorful, there is one scene where she is in the local jail taking people down with glitter pellets and other “silly” takes on weapons that is gleefully played out. They also use a visual queue similar to Suicide Squad…except they do it far better.
The “R” rating does not feel necessary and the film goes a little long. But it was a really entertaining time, and frankly, I wish this was the type of movie Suicide Squad had been.