Birds of Prey (2020) movie review — I could live without it

378 words. Less than 2 minutes reading time.
Rating: 2.5 Rating: 2.5 Rating: 2.5 Rating: 2.5Rating: 2.5

Very few spoilers here.

I would argue that it's more optimistic to be a pessimist. If you expect the worst, you're generally pleased when things go well, or even when they go merely average.

I nevertheless sometimes find myself raising my expectations despite my generally pessimistic outlook. I find that's particularly the case with films.

This all brings me to Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The upshot is, I expected more, although that's not to say it's terrible.

It's very much in the style of a comic book. That might sound a bit obvious given it's from the DC Comics universe, but the way it all unfolds is perhaps more comic book-like than other films from DC or Marvel.

It is what the late, great Barry Norman might describe as a romp. It makes a reasonable fist of the female-led action movie genre that's very much en vogue these days. It's fun, to a degree, there are plenty of fight scenes, there's a smattering of humour throughout and there's a hyena.

Birds of Prey film (2020) poster.
Credit: DC Studios

There are worse ways to spend 109 minutes, but I come back to my expectations. After Joker, I was perhaps expecting something darker and deeper. We do get some background into Harley Quinn and Margot Robbie does a good job of making the character her own, but there's an entirely different mood to this than there was for Joker.

Harley Quinn is joined by another bunch of characters: The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), an alcoholic cop (Rosie Perez) and a small girl who first pickpockets and then swallows a diamond (Ella Jay Basco).

They are up against Ewen McGregor who plays a nasty piece of work going by the name of The Black Mask. There's a to-ing and fro-ing between the characters and of course a grand finale. The elements of a standard action movie are all there but I don't think it goes much beyond that.

That there's little more to say about this film probably sums it up nicely. There are no deeper threads I can pull on to create anecdotes. The Dark Knight movies and Joker still stand alone as the best things to come out of DC studios, who, in my opinion, can't match up the Marvel's standards anyway.