‘Birds of Prey’ proves to one of the best DC extended universe movies so far

By Jacob Baker

“Birds of Prey” marks the eighth film in the DC extended universe and proves to be one of its best through its devilishly good time, memorable performances, impressive stunt choreography and vibrant color palette. 

Being a spiritual sequel to 2016’s “Suicide Squad,” Warner Bros. took the best aspect of that film, Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, and gave her and other new vilgilantees their own film. Harley and the Joker have split up, and it’s time for her to find her own calling. That decision gives Quinn her independence but puts target on her back — an especially big target when it comes to the film’s main villain, crime lord Black Mask, played by Ewan McGregor.     

Robbie and McGregor are undoubtedly the MVPs in “Birds of Prey.” Back in 2016 with “Suicide Squad,” Robbie proved to be the perfect match for the character of Harley Quinn, and her performance in “Birds of Prey” further solidifys that. She is lively, crazy, easily distracted and still isn’t afraid to duke it out with Gotham’s most dangerous criminals.   

Robbie and McGregor look like they are having the time of their lives playing their outlandish characters, which made for performances that were dedicated and memorable. Black Mask is an outstanding staple in the DC extended universe. The same can be said for most of the supporting cast. 

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jurnee Smollett-Bell, as Huntress and Black Canary respectively, shine in their roles and kick major ass with the time they have on screen. Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz, Black Mask’s right hand man, leaves a permanent and silently intimidating mark on the character.  

One of the biggest draws to this film is the vibrant color palette. Many have criticized early DC extended universe films for lack of color and here, the viewer can’t go a scene without the film’s perfect attention to detailed color within its set pieces or costume design. The set pieces and costume design are astonishing and it helps even more that the film is both engaging and fun. 

The biggest surprise had to be the fight choreography. Director Cathy Yan directs the hell out of the fight sequences. They’re shot primarily through wide angles, and that allows the viewer to see everything within the frame without having to rely on numerous cuts. The fighting choreography is realistic, and it happens to be some of the most impressive in a comic book film to date. 

“Birds of Prey” is not perfect though. The film has a purpose behind its disorderly story structure because of Quinn’s personality, but it doesn’t entirely work. There’s a moment in the film where it takes a detour in order to understand how her character got to that specific point in the film, and it takes a while to get back where the story left off. Also, the writing overall could have been improved in order to craft a more compelling plot. 

Both Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain play major roles in the story, but their performances don’t go above and beyond like their other cast members. 

Either way, “Birds of Prey” is the definition of having a blast at the movies. The film fits well into its R rating and makes for one of the best DC extended universe films to date.