BIRDS OF PREY Review — Swooping and Soaring in a Fury of Color and Crime

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Birds of Prey review — There’s no doubt this unorthodox origin story will soar.

Birds of Prey reviewI feared for this film, officially titled Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.  Critics screenings were few and far between, and there was a Wednesday before opening review embargo, both factors generally signaling that a studio is worried that critics will rain on a movie’s weekend premiere parade.

But Warner Bros. need not have worried about its latest addition to the DC Comics line. Boldy directed by Cathy Yan, it’s brightly colored hard candy, not for one second taking itself too seriously, as many DC adaptations tend to do. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is brash and brutal, yet also bright, shiny and flippant. Fans of the comic, as well as fans of revenge girl power movies, will love it.

In the beginning, we find Harley trying in vain to get over her epic bad breakup with The Joker (the Jared Leto Joker, definitely not the Joaquin Phoenix Joker. BIG difference). And although Quinn is beautiful, her post relationship suffering is about as funny ugly as it gets.

While everyone tries to get revenge on everyone else, a new action girl group emerges: the Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and the Song Bird (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) are joined by a street savvy orphan (Ella Jay Basco) and a badass, underappreciated detective (Rosie Perez). Black Mask (Ewan McGregor, who appears to be having the time of his life), crosses swords with them all.

The action, especially the fight scenes with females walloping males and taking brutal hits as well, are compelling, if a bit long and over-stuffed. Sensory overload sets in after awhile, and the novelty of female-inflicted violence wears off. Brutal bludgeoning is, after all, is brutal bludgeoning, regardless of whether men or women are committing it.

While not my particular cup of tea, I think Birds of Prey plays exceptionally well to its audience, and viewers in the intended demographic will doubtless flock to see it.

If this Birds of Prey review encourages you to take flight to the cineplex, get movie times and tickets at Fandango.

Rated R

1 Hour 49 Minutes

Birds of Prey review — There’s no doubt this unorthodox origin story will soar.


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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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