Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) ★★★

I have a surprising amount to say about this and cannot recommend anyone read this.

In retrospect, this movie had an unfair hill to climb in order for me to REALLY like it.

The biggest strike against it, for me, is that I don't really like the modern Harley Quinn. Since she crossed over from "a funny character" to "DC's Deadpool", I get very tired of her, very quickly. (SIDE NOTE: At one point the villain of the movie is like "YOU'RE SO TIRESOME!" and he's saying it from a place of misogyny, but at the same time... I did not disagree with him.) A lot of the humanity and pathos of the character gets kind of pushed the back seat for bits like "she's got a beaver with a tutu". And Margot Robbie is CRUSHING IT as THAT CHARACTER but I do not really CARE FOR that character.

The FLIP SIDE is that this movie features a LOT of characters I DO care about QUITE A BIT and takes a lot of liberties with them. The big two are Rene Montoya (Gotham Central is a MASTERPIECE and there is an original page from it hanging in my home) and Cassandra Cain. Rosie Perez (we stan!) rules and I'm happy to see her again, but Montoya feels... different. Less hotheaded. Definitely at the end of some of her arcs already. They also saddle her with a weird, self-aware gimmick which never works. Cain is 100% different in the comics - this fish out of water assassin Batman takes in and makes Batgirl. It just makes me sad we're probably not going to get any other movies or television with those versions. And even a little sadder that, since movies tend to bleed down, the characters in the comics will likely start to reflect the movies.

AND FINALLY... I don't think R-Rated Super Hero movies are good! 99% of the time! I think it's a genre that can probably survive fine without people getting their faces peeled off and characters yelling "motherfucker" for no reason. It's SUCH a mismatch for the genre that it always feels forced, that the filmmakers went out of their way for an R-Rating, and it all has the vibe of a group of 14 year olds allowed to hang out without parents for the first time.

SO. With ALL THAT sort of going against this movie, I still thought... pretty good! Not amazing or anything but fine!

It never drags, it looks OUTSTANDING and is a strong case for not filming every comic book movie in a giant green warehouse. And there are even some elements I absolutely LOVE - Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ewan McGregor are having a BALL. Chris Messina plays maybe my least favorite Batman villain of all time and is extremely hot while doing it, giving off enough charisma that I am no longer anti-Zsasz on principle. Also it's got the most Big Bisexual Energy I've seen on screen since the Men In Black International trailer (RIP), so that ruled. There's also one action sequence at the midpoint I think is incredible, and the CGI Heyena looked great.

BUT none of that really overcame the elements I wasn't a fan of going in. The near-constant voice-over feels like it's being done out of obligation rather than because it serves the movie, and the constant "jump back" structure of the movie felt like someone hitting the breaks right when I was starting to get into it. The jokes don't hit and the needle drops didn't work. One of the most powerful cheats you can do in a movie to get me on board is set your sequence to music I already know and love (see: Most Commercials, Modern Star Wars Anything). But none of the scenes felt SET TO the music - they felt like they had music playing OVER THEM.

I don't know! I wrote a lot of about this but I don't feel extremely passionate one way or the other! I just had a lot of medium thoughts that I had to get out and they all added up in a weird way.

If you want to go see it, go see it! It's fine! You will not be mad you spent a couple hours at the movies. Some of my friends LOVE it. I just thought it was okay.

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