A Fun Improvement | “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey” Movie Review

“Suicide Squad” is a dumb fun movie. Whenever it’s on TV, I’ll tune into it; but I’ll still poke fun at the pacing flaws and other nitpicks/grievances. But one of the best things about the movie was the performances that Will Smith and Margot Robbie gave. And with the DCEU’s collapse, I was curious to see how a movie with Harley Quinn playing a more pivotal role than her last on-screen adventure would go.

Following “Suicide Squad,” Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has been dumped by the Joker (The Jared Leto version) and has been out on her own. But in her shenanigans, she finds herself in the crosshair of detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) and every criminal in Gotham City. When caught by crime lord Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), she’s tasked to track down Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). But as things go south, Quinn must team up with Montoya, along with Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) to keep Cassandra safe from the egotistical drug lord.

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In “Suicide Squad,” Margot Robbie stole the show; and here, she takes the cake. Robbie is an amazing actress and does to Harley Quinn what Ryan Reynolds does for Deadpool. She turns the character not only into an on-screen powerhouse, but also an empowering figure with the context of her break up with the Joker that allows Harley to be more than eye candy. Watching this movie, it reminded of the strength I wish I had when I got out of an emotionally abusive relationship. McGregor is also fun in this movie, balancing the class Sionis tries to show against his paper-thin temper. The rest of the cast does a good job as well, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead playing up the vengeful survivor, Rosie Perez being a good foil to Robbie’s chaotic nature. And Ella Jay Basco is a joy playing a troublesome teen and has a strong dynamic with Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s street-smart maternal figure to the youngster.

The story, while easy to understand, has the feeling that it wants to be like “Pulp Fiction,” but feels like you’re listening to your friend tell a story that breaks off into tangents. In some cases, it works, like explaining why Cassandra Cain is so important. But other times, they feel a little last minute. It definitely feels like the writing was trying to capture the fourth wall breaks that “Deadpool” was famous for but got it right 50 percent of the time in its execution.

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Hello there.

Along with a solid cast, the movie also shines with a string of stellar action sequences. They’re stylized and have a distinct feel to them, from fun house illusion to a break-in that feels like a “Saints Row” game. Each of the fights play to the character’s strengths; this is no truer than in the climax of the movie where the individual leads have a fluidity in their actions that builds up to a fun wave of ecstatic action.

If there is one word, I can use to describe this movie it’s fun. From the beginning to the end, I was enjoying the movie and waiting to see how surreal it could get. Robbie truly is to DC what Reynolds is with Marvel; a standout actor who brings their comic character to life on the big screen. Even if you’re like me and just watched “Suicide Squad” ironically, you’ll definitely love this one unironically.

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