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

From a comment I made on my first review for this film after seeing it theatrically opening weekend:

“It’s important that people are getting something out of this movie and feeling seen by its aesthetic and tone. I woefully admit my preferences and indoctrinated biases for this sort of entertainment likely negatively informed my reaction to it. I respect what it was going for, but I think my expectations were too high and the disappointment with its wasted potential really poisoned my enjoyment of it.”

I think this is very telling, especially the bolded section. The bottom line is I’ve always had a typically male hang up about action movies where slight, attractive women beat up enormous men. With all the ridiculous, untethered-from-reality garbage I watch, apparently that element is just one step too far for me to be able to tolerate. Well you know what? Fuck that and shame on me. Chris Hemsworth isn’t a Norse god who can breathe in outer space. Chris Evans can’t beat up an elevator full of men. Vin Diesel can’t see in the dark and probably couldn’t drive himself to the grocery store if his life depended on it let alone jump a muscle car down a glacier and over a submarine. 

The point is, this crap is all phoney baloney nonsense. It’s all power fantasy and escapism. Why shouldn’t dames be able to get in on the fun too? And you know what? When I stop being so uptight and assholish, it can be really fun to mix things up and get a different perspective, a different sensibility to this kind of stuff. 

This is just good, anarchic fun. It’s really well shot with a nice filmic look. I couldn’t find anywhere with my half assed internet research what it was actually shot on, but it looks magnificent. Pretty nice sound mix as well. 

The cast is all wonderful, especially Robbie, who is just flat out spectacular in the role. Especially when she’s being written and directed by women. The messaging here about rising up against controlling, demeaning men is nothing too complicated, or too interesting, frankly. But it’s a refreshing perspective for a “superhero” movie and registers as heartfelt enough. 

So, mea culpa.

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