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Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) Movie Review

This Movie Review is the Brain Child of so many different personalities!!!


MPAA Rating


Running Time

109 minutes


Cathy Yan


Christina Hodson

As you walk out of Birds of Prey with a bruised forearm and a smile on your face (be sure to stay through to the end credits because then you’ll be able to see the end credits) you’ll wonder with no small amount of amazement how such an entertaining movie could possibly have any attachment to 2016’s watered down beer S*icide Squad.

Sorry I brought that movie up. I know you’d like to forget you ever saw it. In your worst nightmares you see Cara Delevigne waving her arms in the air/waving like she just don’t care…that people might actually pay to see this. In Jared Leto’s worst nightmares he’s playing a Joker totally inconsequential to the plot as he watches My So-Called Life reruns every time he hears the name ‘Joaquin Phoenix’.

But enough with the negative. Be glad you can see Birds of Prey (2020) during the weekend before the Oscars. Not that Birds of Prey will be up for any awards this time next year, but it’s the perfect tonic for all the serious but award worthy sh*t you’ve forced yourself to watch over the past couple of months.

It’s the most fun you’ve had watching the DCEU as most of DC suffer from an over seriousness the belies the stupidity of the majority of the movies. Or it’s just pointless like Aquaman.


Again, sorry to have brought that up. But that’s only to highlight how good Birds of Prey is, regardless of how low the bar the rest of the DCEU set as it may be the best DC movie for another 3 years.

Unless Wonder Woman 1984 exceeds expectations. And how could it not? It’s set in the 80s. Because we need more things set in the 80s.

Birds of Prey opens with our heroine Harleen Quinzel (Margot Robbie, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) having a minor crisis of existence. She’s got a PhD in psychiatry, and has been known to fall head over heels, well, headfirst into a vat of chemicals for a man who isn’t really capable of loving her back. We’ve all been there, but not in such a mediocre movie as Squad.

Harley is more than a little pissed that she’s seen as nothing more than the Joker’s (Jared Leto, too embarrassed to actually make an appearance in this movie) appendage. So she decides to break up with him the only way someone like her can, by blowing up the chemical company that meant so much to the both of them.

If we remember anything from Harley Quin, she’s not subtle.

Unfortunately, breaking up with Mr. J also dissolves any immunity and protection that comes with being the Joker’s girl.

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A lot of people want Harley dead because she’s done a lot of awful things to people, like Terminal or Mary Queen of Scots.

One of them include Gotham crime boss Roman (Ewan McGregor, Doctor Sleep) also known as Black Mask. He’s called this because he wears a black mask. It’s not really scary or anything, just black. If he were black person wearing a black mask the cops would have killed him already. Roman also has a bleach blonde lackey named Victor (Chris Messina). Victor is really attentive to his boss’ needs. In his way he’s as codependent as Harley was to Joker.

Have you seen Doctor Sleep? It's quite good.

Have you seen Doctor Sleep? It's quite good.

Roman also wants to kill a little Chinese girl Cassandra (Ella Jay Basco), not because she’s got a virus that terrifies white people but because she’s eaten a MacGuffin diamond that’s worth a lot of money.

We’re willing to bet that Cassandra and Harley will somehow find each other. And not just because it’s in the trailer.

Let’s meet the other V. L. O. G (Violent Ladies of Gotham) and hopefully find a better team name for them before the end of the movie.

  • Cassandra (Ella Jay Basco)- To reiterate, just because she’s Chinese doesn’t mean she has a deadly virus. She just has a diamond in her digestive system and has to defecate it out. Totally safe and sanitary.
  • Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez, The Dead Don’t Die) – She’s an excellent detective and has been passed over by less competent men. She’s been after Black Mask for months and can still dance to the opening credits of Do the Right Thing.
  • Dinah Lance/Black Canary (Jurnee Smollet-Bell)- She worked for Black Mask as a singer. Now she works for him as a driver. She’s got a really impressive set of pipes.
  • Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)- She’s got a deep dark secret and murders people with a crossbow. She’s as good at killing as she is bad in social situations.

Black Mask better pray these birds (of prey) never get off the ground because…

I don’t know. I was trying to think of aviary terms but it just came out forced. Just read the rest of the review.

They should spread out or a bowling ball could run them over.

They should spread out or a bowling ball could run them over.

What Works With Birds of Prey

  • Margot Robbie carries Birds of Prey on her shoulders and makes an average comic book movie into an above average and extremely entertaining comic book movie. You might forget the machinations of the plot as you’re leaving the theater, but you won’t forget Robbie’s performance. She’s signed on to play Harley Quinn about 20 more times and you hope she doesn’t get as bored with it as Robert Downey Jr. (or at least looked it) playing Iron Man as long as he did. Plus, she gets to wear pants!!!
  • A Moulin Rouge reference that delighted about 15 percent of the audience while the other 98 percent stayed silent.
  • A buzzy first act the keeps the audience off guard. The movie’s R-rating is well used and you’ve never laughed as much (intentionally) while watching the other DC movies.
  • Director Cathy Yan’s (Dead Pigs) final act mayhem is well-rendered and doesn’t feel too choreographed, even it does look at times like the Avengers fighting a faceless army.

What Doesn’t Work With Birds of Prey

  • After the high of the first act, Birds lulls through most of the middle part. You’re still having a good time despite the movie settling into more of a standard plot. You’re just not having as good a time as before.
  • Despite Ewan McGregor’s scenery chewing, Black Mask is a toothless villain as Joker’s presence looms throughout the movie even if he doesn’t appear. Also, Harley is so much more unhinged and scarier than Black Mask could ever hope to be.
Have you heard my Minnesota accent in Fargo? It's quite good.

Have you heard my Minnesota accent in Fargo? It's quite good.


Birds of Prey is the most enjoyment you’ll have in a theater this February and the best DCEU movie since the first Wonder Woman, not that that’s saying much at all. Since there hasn’t been a comic book movie released in oh, 20 minutes, you might as well watch this until the next one comes out.

Really 3.5 but I’m rounding up since I can’t write 3.5


Buy The Movie Here!

© 2020 Noel Penaflor

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