Matthew’s review published on Letterboxd:
Every week or so, Red Wing Cinema 8 Manager Jesse Stewart and RiverTown Multimedia Reporter Matthew Lambert talk about a new movie coming to area theaters. This week is "Birds of Prey".
Matthew Lambert: Do you consider yourself a DC or Marvel guy?
Jesse Stewart: Marvel.
ML: Why's that?
JS: I think the spectrum is broader as far as characters go. Back story is always important. Marvel can always start that whether it's a Phase One, Phase Three or Phase Five.
ML: So it's about longevity for you?
JS: Right. While I enjoy DC because DC was always something I was a fan of as a kid. Marvel was more of a comic book in small doses kind of thing. Over the years, I grew into DC but they've kind of intertwined.
ML: I always considered myself a DC person because of Batman. But the more I think about it, Batman has been the only character they've gotten right, to a certain extent.
JS: Yeah, right. I agree with that.
ML: I mean, they've redone the character so many times, but I don't know if that should make me a DC person or not. Like you said, Marvel has given us so much time with so many characters and they've done it so right over time. That's why I think "Birds of Prey" is a good example of where you see Marvel zig, you can see DC zag. So Marvel is the cookie cutter, we're Disney, crank it out three times a year, they're all going to look the same and to some extent they're all going to be similar. And DC can be we're going to have an all female team up movie that's pop art and funny. We can have a Joker movie that's a rip off of "Taxi Driver". And then whatever "The Batman" will be.
JS: Did you just call Joker a rip off of "Taxi Driver"?
ML: Yeah, I didn't like it.
JS: I didn't like it the first time. Then the second and third time I watched it, it got better.
ML: I just feel like the types of movies they make now is the way they should be going because "Batman v. Superman" and "Justice League" didn’t work and they were just trying to be Marvel.
JS: Absolutely. "Justice League" sucked and so did "Batman v. Superman". Some people say one is better than the other and--
ML: No, they both sucked.
JS: Yeah, they're both terrible.
ML: But this is an encouraging sign to me with "Birds of Prey" and "Joker" to show they're heading into their own direction and saying, 'we're our own thing, we don't need to worry about Marvel and we don't have to be the people that crank out all these movies.'
JS: And at some point they tried to be that and I think it failed.
ML: And you can have some [films] with an R-rating and some rated PG-13. Imagine if "Birds of Prey" was rated PG-13 and how sanitized it would've been?
JS: Yeah, yeah.
ML: It would've killed the entire vibe of the movie.
JS: I was concerned about that after "Suicide Squad". Now, I'm a huge "Suicide Squad" fan and I know there are a lot of people who are not.
ML: I am not.
JS: I loved "Suicide Squad," I really did. I acknowledge the fact that it's not a great movie. And I acknowledge the fact that it's not their quintessential, DC representation of, 'hey, want to be a DC fan? Watch this.' I would not suggest that. But I would say "Wonder Woman" and I would now say "Birds of Prey" and "Joker".
READ MORE: "On the Marquee: Our favorite films and performances in 2019"
ML: So this is Cathy Yan's second feature. I don't know if you know this, but she made a movie called "Dead Pigs" in 2018.
JS: I did hear about it but never saw it.
ML: Were you impressed by her direction in this movie?
JS: Yes, I was. I think as far as the action sequences go, I think they were pretty awesome for what she had to work with.
ML: That's probably what I was most impressed with too.
JS: Clearly she knew the material and was a fan.
ML: Harley Quinn in the police station fighting everyone was so much fun. All of the Birds of Prey fighting people together at the funhouse was pretty awesome. I was surprised by how well it was shot.
JS: The one character that we had a little bit of backstory for was Huntress. That was a great character. I kind of wanted to see more stuff to give us a feel of that but who knows what's going to happen.
ML: She does kind of swoop in, but the time you spend with her is good. Another beautiful thing about this movie is it's under two hours, which is right in my zone, because Marvel movies are like two-and-a-half hours all the time and I'm sick of it.
JS: So do you feel that Marvel movies are just too long? Or because we have so many Marvel movies that they don't need to be that long because a lot of them are long?
ML: Infinity War and Endgame need to be the length that they are. I don't think “Doctor Strange” needs to be more than two hours. I don't think the new “Black Widow” movie needs to be more than two hours, I'm not sure if it is or not.
ML: Last thing I wanted to bring up was about Margot Robbie. I’m incredibly impressed by her.
ML: She comes on the scene with “The Wolf of Wall Street” and immediately after that movie I was so worried she was going to be typecast for the rest of her career. But she doesn’t. She makes “I, Tonya” and gets nominated for an Oscar. She has her own production company and produces “Birds of Prey”. And now she’s making a Barbie movie and is having Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach write the thing. She’s gotta be one of the most powerful actors in Hollywood, right?
JS: Oh definitely. She deserves all the attention and credit.
ML: It’s so impressive in the very short amount of time that she’s been acting in the United States to be able to handle everything she has.
JS: She’s doing a great job. She blows my mind. And I didn’t know her that well until “Suicide Squad” came out. She wasn’t really bursting with star potential at that point.