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

Much like Dead Pigs, this is a pretty good movie held back by some near-catastrophic decisions, most notably the first half’s abysmal Deadpool-adjacent structure that throws the pacing of the entire movie in a blender for no clear reason whatsoever. A lot of the action is pretty perfunctory and it contains quite possibly the worst slowed-down cover song I’ve heard in years.

However, it speaks to Yan’s ability as a director that the movie remains fun and pretty despite all that. In two films she’s shown a real knack for work with ensembles, and she gets great performances out of the whole cast, particularly Robbie and MacGregor (though definitely needs more Huntress, who is pretty clearly the most interesting character in the whole thing the second she’s introduced, though my ongoing crush on MEW might have something to do with my feelings on that). It seems increasingly futile to hope that a superhero director frees themselves from the machine, but I hope to god that Cathy Yan can make the movie she wants to make instead of this film’s inevitable follow-up.

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