Whether we wanna admit it or not, Suicide Squad happened. It was mostly a blight on the DC cinematic universe and was such a massive misstep that James Gunn is currently filming a redo as we speak. But one of the best things to come from it was Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn. In fact, her deranged yet playful take on the character was such a standout, that it deserved to stand alone, which leads us to Birds of Prey. And honestly, this movie is so good, I think it’s worth the existence of the original Suicide Squad.

I love how Harley’s playful attitude is present in every moment of the movie. Visually, it’s eye-catching and vibrant, not just with Harley’s outfits, but in many of the sets and outfits of the antagonist. All the fight scenes thankfully avoid the computer-generated tendencies of the DC films with combat that has the physicality and brutality of the John Wick films, but also the flamboyant silliness of a combo chain in Bayonetta. Even the plot itself is told in this scatter-brained way that matches Quinn’s sporadic stream of consciousness but also plays with non-linear plot tropes in a way similar to Pulp Fiction.

But despite the core DNA of the film being incredibly true to her character, they manage to do justice to the side characters as well. Black Mask is a wonderful villain, as flamboyant as they tried to make Joker in Suicide Squad, but way more sinister and ignorant, which made him all the more satisfying to hate. Seeing how Detective Montoya, Black Canary, Huntress, and Cassandra Cain’s paths all intertwine lead to many refreshing detours from Harley’s overpowering personality. Each of them had interesting backstories and characteristics that made me fall in love with them early in the film. And because I already loved the characters, seeing them all team up at the end was all the more gratifying.

But Harley herself really steals the show, to the point where this didn’t feel like a typical superhero movie. Her trademark personality is so present in the tone of the film that it kind of gave me Pee Wee’s Big Adventure vibes. In both films, the personalities of the title characters were so strong that even the most mundane aspects of life were given new and interesting perspectives through their eyes. It’s a style of filmmaking I rarely see, and to see it used so effectively here was great to see.

So, yea, Birds of Prey was great. It’s definitely close to Wonder Woman and even slightly surpasses Aquaman as the best modern DC movie. It nails the personalities of the supporting cast and villain. And it revels in the absurdity of it all in every scene thanks to Harley’s random nature, lust for bright colors, and flamboyance being present in every scene in fun ways. Also, Black Canary can step on me.

8/10

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