IN REVIEW: ‘Birds of Prey’ a slow lackluster film with narrative problems

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Courtesy of IMDb

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics team Birds of Prey.

Sergio Muñoz Esquer, Contributor

Last weekend, Warner Brothers gave audiences its latest attempt at a decent movie with “Birds of Prey and the fabulous emancipation of One Harley Quinn,” directed by Cathy Yan — a movie that somewhat accomplishes its goal.

“Birds of Prey” brings us back the character of Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, who we saw last time in the 2016 movie “Suicide Squad.” Similar to that horrible film, Quinn wants to forget about the Joker who broke her heart … again, I guess.

It’s easy to notice Warner’s attempt to give us what they tried to do with Suicide Squad, but unfortunately didn’t do this time either. The problem is that the film does not have a good structure since it takes about an hour to introduce new characters, because yes, Warner realized that it has more characters than just Batman and Superman.

However, each character has a sub-plot that initially feels like the main plot of the movie. In addition, during this time of introduction, we travel to a flashback that will introduce us to another flashback, which will guide us to the reason for the existence of Renee Montoya played by Rosie Pérez, The Huntress played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Black Canary played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell.

This way of telling the story makes the film stagnant at times and it is difficult to follow what is happening. And that without having much of the bad exposition during the introduction of the characters, including Quinn.

After almost an hour of character introduction, the film begins to finally unravel the main plot, which involves stealing a diamond. The antagonist of this story, Roman Sionis played by Ewan McGregor, sends Quinn to look for the diamond thief, Cassandra Cain, played by Ella Jay Basco.

However, Sionis decides to do it himself, sending Quinn and Cain to kill. McGregor does an excellent job with his performance but the problem is the writing of his character, which also has an introduction but tells us nothing.

He is just a gangster who behaves like an idiot during the movie with the intention that we as an audience will find him hateful and see him as the “bad guy.”  It seems like Warner Brothers’ intended for him to be funny, sometimes scary, but in reality the character’s purpose missed the bullseye entirely.

After a few minutes, Quinn catches Cain but they both form a friendship, as if we had not seen this before. Approaching the end, Quinn, Cain, Montoya, Black Canary and The Huntress, get together to end Sionis, who coincidentally has unsolved business with each of them anyways. By the way, the story of The Huntress is the same as that of The Bride in “Kill Bill” and has a sequence telling the tragedy of her childhood exactly like the sequence of “The Origin of O-Ren in the Quentin Tarantino movie.

At the end of the movie, Quinn ends up going to who knows where with Cain, Montoya, Black Canary and The Huntress to fight together like “birds of prey.”  Here is yet another problem, the film is dedicated to introducing subplots and characters whose developments are very poor because there didn’t even seem to be any chemistry between them.

Robbie is excellent playing Quinn. It is hard to imagine another actress playing the character and it is obvious that Robbie gives her whole heart and soul to the character. I still think it deserves better than “Birds of Prey.” In the technical aspect, the film offers nothing new or interesting. The cinematography is as colorful as in “Suicide Squad” but with much more day sequences. The editing fails in parts, mostly when introducing the characters. The film’s soundtrack became a little better than “Suicide Squad’s,” but it continues to saturate the scenes with music as if the projectionist had accidentally left the radio on.

In a nutshell, “Birds of Prey” is a movie that somewhat entertains. The action sequences are quite good, and the movie got some occasional laughs.  Narrative problems became noticeable mostly during the first 30 minutes, but the movie is not bad like “Batman v Superman, “Suicide Squad,” or “Justice League” but it does not get as good as “Wonder Womanor “Shazam either.

Rate 3 / 5

Sergio Muñoz Esquer  may be reached at [email protected]