‘Birds of Prey’ fails to leave audience with anything to think about


Photo contributed by Clay Enos

Harley Quinn, the main character in the movie “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” is played by the actress Margot Robbie. Robbie has been featured in multiple DC comics films.

I entered the movie theater with high expectations and excitement for “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).” The movie, commonly shortened to “Birds of Prey,” was written for Harley Quinn, the iconic DC comics supervillain and partner in crime to the Joker. After the movie ”Joker” was released in 2019, it had great success and grossed $1 billion in the box office. Naturally, I assumed Quinn’s movie would live up to the same standard; however, it fell short in various areas.
The movie begins with a quick history lesson on Harley Quinn, providing the audience with information about Quinn’s childhood, her career as a psychiatrist and her past toxic relationship with the Joker.
The plot picks up at present day, when Quinn decides to publicly declare the end of her relationship with the Joker. She lived in the Joker’s shadow, and finally needed to take control of her life. Soon she realizes that many of the people living in Gotham want her dead, and now she is no longer under the protection of her ex-boyfriend, a notorious and respected villain.
The plot continues with Quinn and other characters working together to fight back against the people who want to kill them, all while she learns to be independent and stand on her own. This is a positive message for the audience, and it also reveals that the plotline is going to be centered around Quinn’s character development.
This is a relatively expected plotline for the character, especially since the audience has always known Harley Quinn to be dependent on the Joker and overly emotional. While I applaud her character development, “Birds of Prey” oversimplifies the process of leaving an abusive relationship and learning to be on your own.
Immediately after her breakup, Quinn realizes that she has spent a lot of her life serving other people instead of thinking on her own. Then, after finding out she had been over utilizing the Jokers protection, she has to learn to defend herself. After only a few fight scenes, she realizes she is a capable woman and can handle the world on her own.
While this is a positive message overall, it is overly simplistic and unrealistic in terms of what leaving an abusive relationship would be like an actuality. This could have been a major positive aspect of the movie, proving to be a relatable experience Quinn’s character could share with female audience members.
However, because the movie rushed this character development and she learned to be independent by physically fighting her enemies, an unrealistic event for most women, the character of Harley Quinn became even less relatable. Although her fun and flirty personality translates well on the screen and makes for an interesting movie, she is not a naturally relatable person. Spending more time on her emotional struggles could have improved that aspect of her character.
After watching “Joker,” an extremely thought provoking movie, I was disappointed with the ending of “Birds of Prey.” When Quinn realizes her own value and abilities, she announces in the final fight scene that she should be feared as much as the Joker because she is just as strong and independent as him. While I do not object to the meaning behind this, I wish the producers had left something out in the open for the viewers to interpret and think about after you left the theatre.
While these aspects of the movie were unfortunate, the fast paced and interesting plot, in addition to the well executed fight scenes, are somewhat redeeming. Throughout the movie, Quinn’s chaotic and unpredictable personality drives the plot forward and keeps the movie engaging. There was never a dull moment or a scene I felt could have been cut. Additionally, the several fight scenes in this movie featured interesting and bright costumes, as well as different types of scenery. This all made for a captivating experience.
Overall, there were some missed opportunities by the producers to add depth and meaning to Harley Quinn and her story. Leaving the movie, I was frustrated that the ending was as upfront as it was. Even though the film was made for a more mature audience, due to the violence and swearing, the audience wasn’t required to think about the movies deeper meaning at all. Even though the movie was overly literal and to the point in its representation of its message, the film still highlights Harley Quinn’s unique personality that so many fans love, which ultimately makes it worth seeing.I rate this movie 3 out of 5 stars.