Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is an upcoming DCEU superhero film based on the DC Comics team Birds of Prey. Directed by Cathy Yan, the film’s plot follows Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) as she joins forces with Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell),the Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) to save Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) from Gotham City crime lord Black Mask (Ewan McGregor).
The Movie-Warden’s take.
How I wish the DCEU was more than it turned out to be; I mean, it’s not a complete failure if the success of Wonder Woman and Aquaman is anything to go by. However, it hasn’t given it’s marquee characters the attention and highlight that they deserve i.e. building their stories over a number of films leading up to what was supposed to be the franchise’s answer to the MCU’s first Avengers film. As far as the lesser known characters/team are concerned i.e Suicide Squad, we all know how disappointing that turned out to be but leave it to WB to have another bite at the cherry i.e. the upcoming ‘Birds of Prey’ movie, whose first trailer just dropped yesterday.
Admittedly, I didn’t know much about this super-heroine team until the film was announced because my DC fandom, from my upbringing to adulthood, has stemmed more from cartoons, T.V series and movies rather than comics. The new trailer, in my opinion,hasn’t done much to win me over as a fan who’d want to be more interested in the team and the story behind them but before I get into the negatives, let’s first dwell on the positives.
Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn, was my only saving grace from 2016’s Suicide Squad; she was in-sync with the character all through and I could see the comic book character come to life through her. In the trailer, she has the same energy as she did in the her previous role but it’s a bit toned down given that her character is now on a redemption arc. She has broken up with Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime and she is forging her own destiny in Gotham by being a champion for female independence and leading a team of strong women against a crime lord in Black Mask. Additionally, I love the the action sequences and production design featured in the trailer; they have a substantial ‘Gotham’ feel to it and I think that’s very important.
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Based on the trailer, the released posters and even the title, it seems as though the movie’s plot will be more centered around Harley Quinn and her redemption arc given how heavily she is featured and I don’t like that. I’d really want to be proven wrong when the film drops but as it stands, that’s one disadvantage this film already has. It doesn’t feel like an ensemble film that gives all the characters in the film an equal chance at the spotlight to establish themselves in the story.
Furthermore, I’ve been looking forward to what Ewan McGregor can do in his role as Black Mask but this trailer doesn’t really wet my appetite beyond a few vague clips; perhaps the next one will? Who knows? Then of course, there is the female empowerment theme which I am totally rooting for but hope it’s not overdone to appeal to the current ‘MeToo’ agenda.
(Visuals courtesy of Warner. Bros)