Brooke Nelson is an avid film enthusiast, interested in movies ranging from superheroes to comedies, and everything in between.
Let's start off with the indisputably awesome: Harley Quinn's upgrade from Suicide Squad.
If you watched Suicide Squad back in 2016, you may remember Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, who served the unfortunate purpose of eye candy and Joker's girlfriend. (And if there is one thing we don't need more of, it's anything related to Leto's Joker.)
Honestly, Harley didn't serve a whole lot of purpose, and neither did the movie. Many fans stepped out of the theater afterward in a state ranging from slightly to wildly disappointed over the film as a whole.
It undoubtedly left questions in people's minds as to whether Harley had the potential to be a useful character in a movie, or if this was her ultimate purpose in the DC Extended Universe.
Four years later, in 2020, Margot Robbie put those fears to rest in the unsurprisingly controversial feminist film Birds of Prey, giving us everything we wanted and more with her hilarious narration of a brand new story.
People ranted. People raved. But it made people talk.
There is no avoiding the plethora of nasty reviews that Birds of Prey has earned itself. While many of them highlight the fact that they think it's just another man-hating movie, or something of the sort, there are genuine critiques that deal with the writing and such.
The problem with the man-hating complaint is this: Birds of Prey is a comedy. It's meant to make people laugh, and it's not meant to be taken too seriously. That's the entire point. If anyone sat with a straight face throughout the whole movie, they were either sleeping or making a conscious effort not to find the fun in it.
Any anti-man or anti-boyfriend statements (in the case of Harley's breakup with Joker) made in the movie were so obnoxious and humorous, it's a bit hard to imagine anyone took them to heart as serious criticisms.
The truth is Birds of Prey isn't promoting anything bad or evil. It's meant to be funny.
Obviously, films are interpreted in different ways by different individuals. But this is one of the movies that could hardly have made its purpose clearer.
From the vulgar, definitely NSFW t-shirts worn at work, to the distribution of hair ties during hand-to-hand combat, Birds of Prey is obviously meant for an audience who likes to laugh, not analyze films under a microscope.
There are so many feminist films dealing with serious topics, it was about time someone made one solely for fun.
Another plus? The R-rating owes only to language and violence, not sexual content.
This means the film doesn't aim to sexualize the women, or even inadvertently show some so-called meaningful nudity. That's not what Birds of Prey is about.
It's vulgar. It's hilarious. It's violent. But no one is unnecessarily sexualized.
It's exactly the film women deserve.
All in all, Birds of Prey proved that ladies can stand right up there with the men when it comes to superhero teams.
While Birds of Prey is a part of the DC Extended Universe, it uses its superhero elements sparingly. There is certainly enough for a superhero film fan to enjoy, but there is also enough comedy and non-superhero action to satisfy those who prefer other genres.
Birds of Prey is a revolution in feminist filmmaking and, as Harley might say, simply "fantabulous."
© 2020 Brooke Nelson
John Plocar from Weatherford on November 17, 2020:
I actually really dig 'Birds of Prey' and I gave it a glowing review as well. When it came to the feminist elements within the writing, I was fine with it. I acknowledge it was never the most subtle and in all honesty, there were a couple times where it felt slightly forced, but overall came across as genuine and funny when needed. Any time I saw a criticism from people whining about how the movie is "SO BAD" because it's just "another femi-nazi propaganda piece made to bash on men," I couldn't help from rolling my eyes since they've clearly never seen the bad movies that truly force those themes in when they don't work at all.
In my opinion, the feminist themes in 'Birds of Prey' work because it's a movie that puts forth character first before simply trying to only be about a shallow comment on women empowerment. The women empowerment factors in well because we actually like these characters. Unlike another movie that tried doing the same thing last year called 'The Kitchen' where every line of dialog felt less like a well developed character was saying them and more the writer was cynically wedging these lines in to trick women into thinking this was made to make them feel bad ass, while in reality the movie is a mess with completely hollow characters.
Anyways, I liked your article and hope to see more from you soon! Take care.