Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey Movie Review


Efrain Aguirre

Birds of Prey Movie Poster, Feb. 11, 2020

Efrain Aguirre, Arts & Entertainment Editor


After a four year absence, The Clown Princess of Crime returns to the big screen in Birds of Prey.

Margot Robbie is back to steal the spotlight as Harley Quinn.  The movie follows Harley after her breakup with the Joker leaving a target on her back. By separating her from the Joker, we get to see a new side of her that is not only confident and powerful, but also vulnerable. We see her set out to find out who she is without the Joker and make a name for herself in the criminal world.

This movie highlights what Suicide Squad didn’t: Harley Quinn is a much better character without the Joker.

With no Joker to be the bad guy, that responsibility is taken by Ewan McGreggor’s Roman Sialiss, better known to comic fans as Black Mask. McGreggor plays Sionas as a narcissistic sociopath with a goal to take over Gotham City. He is a no-nonsense character who can go from flamboyant charmer to cold-blooded killer at the drop of a hat. He targets Harley after her breakup from the Joker now that she is no longer under his protection.

Rosie Perez’s character, Renne Montoya, is a good cop who is constantly underestimated. Not only is she a woman of color, but also an aging one. It is refreshing to see older women represented in a genre that often portrays them to be helpless.

For a movie called Birds of Prey, there is a real lack of screen time and character development for the members of the titular team. Black Canary and Huntress have very limited screen time and Cassandra Cain acts more as a Mcguffin used to advance the plot.

The pacing can throw off moviegoers because it isn’t consistent. With Harley acting as a fourth wall breaking narrator, the movie often jumps back and forth between past and present. This makes the movie’s first act feel slow.

This by no accounts means that this movie is dull, it is a comedic goldmine with snappy one-liners, physical comedy, and colorful fight scenes that allow the cast to play off the natural chemistry they display.

This movie represents a new path DC is taking moving forward with less focus on world-building and more focus on character-driven stories. With beautifully choreographed action sequences that don’t rely on heavy CGI, a killer soundtrack and strong performances from its leads, this is not your traditional superhero movie. Similar to other recent R rated comic book adaptations, there is plenty of blood, brutality, and f-bombs.

While it may not be the Birds of Prey movie comic fans would have hoped for, it is the Harley Quinn movie we deserve.