'Birds of Prey' works somehow

Warner Bros. From left: Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Margot Robbie, Ellie Jay Basco and Jurnee Smollett-Bell star in “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.”

Maybe I should just get used to the fact that the DCEU will never be the MCU.

And that’s OK.

What makes me mad is when the production company tries to force films to be something they are not. DC’s newest film: “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey,” which they literally renamed earlier this week (no joke), is an enjoyable film and that’s something you can’t say about every DC movie.

However, the studio’s interference could have ruined this movie. It is already making less money than they want to, so they changed the name from the 11-word behemoth “Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn.”

What they should have done instead of rushing this film in order to keep up with Marvel, is make a coherent plot instead of trying to shove three different scripts inside one movie. DC gets by with the skin of its teeth, though, only because of the fact Quinn is supposed to be a zany character and great performances from this ensemble cast.

If it had been any other DC character, this movie would have bombed with its lack of an understandable screenplay. That is what happens when this movie, which has been “in development” since around the time the much maligned “Suicide Squad” came out and there were multiple people attached to it. Instead of taking time to make it a possibly great movie, the studio settled for just an OK movie to get it off the schedule.

You will get a chance to see that later this year when “The New Mutants” finally gets released just so the studio can stop thinking about it.

The plot of this film involved Quinn (Margot Robbie) being targeted by everyone after she broke up with the Joker (who the writers love to take punches at now fired Jared Leto). One of the biggest people after her is Black Mask aka Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor). So, in order to get her freedom back, she needs to find a diamond that a kid ate while also going through all kinds of hijinks.

Thanks to the acting, the film is more than just its plot.

What I liked:

Robbie has shown a lot of range in just this past year as she had award-nominated roles in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and “Bombshell.” She produces this film and you can tell she loves diving into the maniacal role of Quinn. It is a chance for her to go over the top in every scene and she relishes it.

McGregor was fantastic in what was one of the year’s best films “Doctor Sleep,” and he both makes you laugh and cringe in this role as Sionis. He puts his own spin on an old Batman foe.

The Birds of Prey do a good job in their somewhat limited role. Rosie Perez plays detective Renee Montoya, Jurnee Smollett-Bell plays Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Huntress and Ellie Jay Basco is Cassandra Cain. Each have their own moments and I personally loved the scenes with Winstead trying to tell people her superhero name.

The strongest thing in this film was the fight choreography. This movie had some truly great fight scenes, including one that I put up there with anything from the past decade when Quinn takes a baseball bat to a group full of goons in a police station evidence room.

This movie made great use of the R rating. I would love to see more films take this approach, even if it means it won’t make as much at the box office.

What I didn’t like:

I already ragged on the plot, but I think one of the movie’s biggest letdowns is that it has one of the same problems ‘Suicide Squad” did. It spends too much time trying to introduce characters that it forgets how to make the story flow instead of being so choppy. And then it doesn’t give the characters an equal amount of screen time. It could have just been so much more.

Like I mentioned before, I am fine with the DCEU being its own thing, but I don’t know if it even qualifies as a universe anymore. This film would not work in the “Justice League” world or the upcoming Matt Reeves world featuring Robert Pattinson as “Batman.” Yes, Marvel has its MCU and also Spiderman doing stuff with Sony, but it still finds a way to make it work. Warner Brothers has DC in a big giant mess.

Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material

Score: 75/100

Jordan Bishop is the assistant news editor at the Stillwater News Press and can be reached at jbishop@stwnewspress.com.

Recommended for you