Birds of Prey Review, and the Importance of an Accurate Title

Written by: Jake Mazzarella – March 12th 2020,3:30pm pst

Of all the DCEU movies, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) stands as its most unique. With both DC and its competition, it’s hard to think of a film that comes close in style and character. The closest would be DC’s own Suicide Squad, but where that movie ironically misses the mark, Birds of Prey lands by having more grounded stakes suited to the characters, and more importantly, an understanding of its lead, emphasis on “lead.”

credit: Warner Brothers

The movie succeeds by not only putting Harley in situations where she can shine, but also by digging deep into what makes this character who she is. Ewan McGregor similarly nails it as Black Mask, and he’s the second best character. The movie follows nonlinear storytelling for the first half, which leads to some awkward pacing. Personally I don’t find this to be that big an issue till near the end, where it feels like the movie thinks it’s gone on long enough.

credit: Warner Brothers

That being said, I have one big issue with this movie, the title.

A lot of pushback was directed at the movie’s title, but truthfully I find the subtitle entertaining, due to it sounding like something Harley would write. No, my issue is the entire time I watched this movie I kept thinking, “this is really great, I wish it wasn’t called Birds of Prey.”

In reality, the Birds make for great side characters, but the movie is very much a Harley Quinn movie. 99% of my issues with the movie would be solved had it not advertised the Birds as the main characters. As a disclaimer, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey is not the new title of the movie, its simply what’s listed on websites for ease of searching.

credit: Warner Brothers

Overall, the Birds feel underrepresented, but this is solely due to the title, and they serve the role they do fill well. Though the movie does have the opposite problem of most DCEU movies. Those movies assume you already know the characters, here they don’t. While it’s better, it creates moments that come off like they were planned to be surprises, but don’t land if you know who the characters are.

Despite this, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) delivers an action packed film that’s definitely worth a watch, but if you’re a fan of the Birds of Prey, I’d exercise caution.

Rating: 8/10

About The Author:

Jake Mazzarella  is a screenwriter and visual and media arts major at Emerson College.

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