Birds Of Prey Review: A Fun yet Muddled Origins Story

Many male nerds won’t like this movie because none of the female characters aren’t sexualized for their viewing pleasure, and that should encourage you.  Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is a fast-paced gleefully destructive R-rated ensemble movie that isn’t just another power fantasy.  

The propulsive plot is combined with grounded action scenes and a colorful set design. BOP uses self-defense techniques and acrobatics minus the shaky camera and excessive CGI. 

In one scene, Harley frees Cassandra Cain from GCPD using a fun gun that shoots confetti, glitter, small bean bags, and colorful tear gas. Later on, she kicks a mobile phone into Renee Montoya’s face with a backflip.

Unlike Harley in Suicide Squad, this movie doesn’t turn Margot Robbie’s body into a costume. She and the cast dress up for comfort and combat. All the characters have clear motivations. You know enough about them without cramming the movie with too much exposition.

In another scene, Renee Montoya wears a shirt that says “I Shaved my Balls for This”. The punchline isn’t the shirt. When she’s lectured by her boss that they have a dress code, it’s clear that this isn’t the first time that she’s been lectured by a man with half her talent.

You’re not going to see an MCU kind of banter in between fight scenes. Christina Hodson plants jokes then give them a pay-off. It greatly helps that the casting is spot-on. BOP is about five people, each with their own shit to deal with, who are forced to team up.

They’re up against villains who are portrayed as they should be, rather than cool guys that edgelords want to emulate. Roman Sionis is a stupid, vain, and cruel narcissist. Victor Zsaz is a sycophant creep that enables him. Sorry LGBT folks there is no gay subtext here.

Sionis forces a woman in his club to strip and dance on the table. It’s uncomfortable and hard to watch. That’s what predators do – they take advantage of their positions to prey on people. 

Performances are great all-around. You can tell that Margot Robbie is very involved in this script because Harley Quinn has an emotionally authentic character arc. She tells her own story – albeit an unreliable one – about how she learns to stand on her own two feet despite being dumped, targeted, betrayed, and brutally slammed to the side of the van after being hit by a car. 

This is a movie where pining after an egg sandwich is relatable because who doesn’t resort to emotional eating when they’re down? 

In the end, you get a genuine ensemble film that refuses to cave into the female tropes of its male-dominated genre to appease fanboys. It will most likely be called out for peddling a “feminist agenda” which just basically means “women in power who are not created to please me”. 

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is an ensemble movie with unabashed feminist themes and a Harley Quinn that isn’t just fap material. It’s about a woman who learns to become more comfortable in her own skin and the friends she makes along the way. 

Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)


Birds of Prey is a fun, colorful, and grounded feminist ensemble movie that provides an antidote to the big, ugly, messy offerings of DCEU.

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