Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) ★★½

Margot Robbie is back as Harley Quinn in the live action Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), along with a side cast of mostly throwaway characters. I haven't seen Suicide Squad but am a fan of the Harley Quinn adult animated TV series on DC Universe.

Video Review - just left the theater (no spoilers)

Robbie's portrayal of Harley is good. The sometimes squeaky higher pitched voice, the mannerisms, behavior, the character is the best part of the movie. She also plays the unreliable narrator which is interesting stylistically and there is plenty of violence, cursing and the package earns the R rating.

The problem we had was the script is sort of all over the place introducing a diamond, a bunch of random henchmen fighting, Black Mask peeling faces, the Birds of Prey crew is there to join Harley. Some of it seems tacked on or forced. This could all be style and thematic and needs to be appreciated as a story told from Harley's point of view (and thus would be scattered and avant garde), so maybe this criticism isn't deserved.

I don't know much about the Birds of Prey, but found whenever they were the focus of the movie and not Harley, it was less entertaining. The theater we were in was largely empty and mostly quiet on opening day. There were parts that drew some laughs here and there and, frankly, wish the movie had tried for more and better comedy. Harley is a funny character that does crazy things and she wasn't written quite crazy enough to my liking.

Maybe I've been spoiled by her awesome animated show on DCU (see it!) and was hoping to see a live action version of that. Not what we're getting here at all. It's more of a blending of different story ideas, the Birds of Prey ladies kicking butt (male and female), random gang fights and a very loosely formed plot to get a prized stolen diamond back for Black Mask and to oppose him and a bunch of people trying to kill Harley. Neither my wife or I thought this worked as an overall package, but there were components that were enjoyed.

I'm on the edge of a recommendation. I don't know enough about the Birds of Prey comics and characters to assess their value to this story. They are in the story but not sure we needed them. Definitely would catch this on streaming, but it's not overall as good as hoped for. Maybe my expectations were too high after seeing Joker and Harley's animated show. I might also need to see this a second or third time to appreciate the film more. My initial reaction is on the negative side and my rating is just OK. At least from a first watch, it's not recommended. I might upgrade to 3 stars or higher upon seeing again.

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