‘Birds of Prey’ changes the game for female-led films

Photo by Creative Commons

Written By Nardos Haile, Copy Editor

In the first 10 minutes of “Birds of Prey, and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn,” a man berates and degrades Quinn—so of course, she breaks his legs. Not only is “Birds of Prey” an hour and 49 minutes of pure unadulterated fun, it’s also a violent, crude, psychedelic and beautifully glittery action film.

DC’s newest film stars Oscar-nominated Margot Robbie. Robbie reprises her fan-favorite character Harley Quinn, that made her first appearance in the 2016 DC film “Suicide Squad.”

“Birds of Prey” takes its liberties and interpretations with Harley Quinn and deviates from the character seen in “Suicide Squad.” This new film gives the audience the chance to empathize and laugh alongside with the villain.

For starters, Harley and the Joker are no longer together. She experiences the worst heartbreak of her life throughout the first chunk of the film. She cuts her hair, adopts a pet hyena, throws knives at a drawing of her green-haired ex-boyfriend and, to top it all off, she rams a semi-truck into a chemical plant causing a nuclear-like explosion to prove a point.

Throughout Quinn’s journey of self-discovery and independence, she encounters many different men out to kill her. No longer under protection from the Joker, she truly begins to understand what loneliness means.

Conveniently, she encounters women with similar interests like, Detective Renee Montoya, the sultry singer Dinah Lance aka Black Canary, dangerous crossbow assassin Helena Bertinelli known as The Huntress and most importantly Cassandra Cain.

Cain, a young parentless pickpocket, runs into trouble when she steals a diamond belonging to Gotham City’s crime boss Roman Sionis.

When Harley and Cassandra cross paths, the action truly begins. Director Cathy Yan captures hand-to-hand combat fighting scenes like they are real-life moving pieces of art. The fight scenes are easily the best parts of the film alongside the engaging and eye-watering psychedelic cinematography.

To name a few fight scenes, Lance power-kicks and dominates men trying to kidnap a drunk and incoherent Harley. Another scene includes Harley sneaking into Gotham City Police Department and shooting officers with a fun gun that emits paint and glitter.

The non-linear storytelling in “Birds Of Prey” allows for Harley to unreliably narrate the adventures of herself and female superhero counterparts. As the film unfolds, Harley rewinds the film to give context to present-day events. Harley’s recap of the past allows the audience to understand each female character’s significance to each other, the storyline and ultimately how they come together at the end.

In the end, each character realizes they need to merge as one unit to protect the young Cassandra from Roman, the villain masquerading as Black Mask.

The Birds of Prey come together in an extremely intricate 10-minute long action sequence set in an amusement park. Quinn sports a larger hammer, Lance a baseball bat, the Huntress fights with her crossbow and Detective Montoya with her fists. Hundreds of Black Mask’s minions attack the women in a carnival-like funhouse. This scenery accentuates the grueling and gruesome performances each woman gives.

Overall, “Birds of Prey” is simply an unfiltered journey of five women in the brutal Gotham City. It breaks the superhero and comic film genre wide open for women. Ranging from quirky three-minute-long sequences of food porn of a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich to delicately choreographed hand-to-hand combat action scenes to the crass language and violence. “Birds of Prey” is a beautifully loud and entertaining debut and a must-watch.