Am I obsessed with Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn? Absolutely! It combines a phenomenal soundtrack with a great narrative. It also adds in a more realistic portrayal of Harley than we got in Suicide Squad, plus it gives us a fun girl group fighting together. Every character gets her own narrative arc and is presented as multidimensional in a way that’s different from the status quo in superhero movies. The characters feel like real women, in that they are allowed to have flaws rather than be placed on a pedestal like Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel seem to be by fans. Let’s dive into all the reasons Birds of Prey is so special!
- Harley Ditches the Joker
Ok, yes, I know technically,he dumps her. But honestly that’s his loss and her gain as she steps out on her own. Let’s be real, the Joker is the most toxic significant other in the entire DC universe and MCU. He’s physically and emotionally abusive towards Harley, and truly the epitome of an utterly terrible, controlling partner. Harley blowing up the Ace Chemicals Power Plant to announce her breakup, cutting her hair, going out, and joining a roller derby team is the ultimate “f**k you” to the Joker. She mourns what once was, then takes off her necklace she had from him, realizes she deserves better, and goes on to create an awesome single life with her new pet hyena. I really hope that a Birds of Prey sequel will happen so that we can see Harley and Poison Ivy get together! And if the MCU and DC ever crossover, I ship Harley and Deadpool 100%, just saying!
- Black Canary Stepping Into Her Power
Canary is working as a lounge singer and is at someone’s beck and call in the beginning of the movie. Roman Sionis watches Canary’s every move and controls her by forcing her to be his new driver after watching her fight off some guys trying to abduct Harley. Canary seems to struggle with recognizing how powerful she is and seems tough but withdrawn, and possibly insecure. She is fighting to claim her agency and make her way in the world, alone. By the end of the movie, Canary is confident and we learn she has actual super powers when she defeats a couple bad guys with her supersonic screams.
- Cassandra Cain and Harley’s Friendship/Mentorship
I love Cassandra and Harley’s dynamic. All the villains are trying to find Cassandra Cain. Harley wants the diamond as well, but refuses to harm Cassandra. The grocery store scene gives Harley such a “mom friend” vibe and the two of them hanging out at Harley’s apartment is such a cute bonding moment. Harley wants to help Cassandra and ends up taking on a mentorship role. I really like the variety of female relationships portrayed in the movie.
- The Soundtrack is AMAZING
The fact that this entire soundtrack features womxn artists is phenomenal, and should be done more often. It’s a sonically magnificent album and the entirety is on my “going out” playlist. It’s such a good album to hype yourself up to. TikTok totally popularized “Boss Bitch” by Doja Cat and it’s a girl power anthem. “Experiment On Me” by Halsey is such a bop. “Smile” by Maisie Peters is the best breakup song to scream in the car. This album also introduced me to Charlotte Lawrence, whose voice is just amazing! “Invisible Chains” by Lauren Jauregui is unreal. The soundtrack is good enough to stand alone. It isn’t too tied to the movie in a way that feels clichè or tacky. Rather, it encapsulates the vibe and turns it up to ten.
The vibes are immaculate. I’ve made ALL of my friends watch “Birds of Prey” with me since it came out. It’s fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has the same sarcastic irreverence found in the Deadpool movies, but adds a fun Spice Girls twist. It feels like a fun night out, and the characters play off each other really well. The color, lighting, and sets are unlike a lot of DC movies, and set BOP into its own reality. It’s colorful and vibrant, almost cartoonish at moments, and juxtaposes violence and absurdity in a really interesting way.
What I love the most about Birds of Prey is the way it portrays female friendships and women recognizing how powerful they are. Produced by Margot Robbie, directed by Cathy Yan, and written by Christina Hodson, Birds of Prey proves that when women are in positions of power in production, movies can better depict women in a relatable way. Rather than oversexualizing the characters to appeal to a straight male audience, the women in Birds of Prey feel powerful, confident, and identifiable to those women viewers. The outfits are fun and seem wearable, rather than curated to make the characters as sexy as possible. Harley’s fringe jacket is my favorite piece because it’s so fun. The characters dress for themselves and you can tell their personalities shine through their style. You can relate to Harley’s glow-up after ending a toxic relationship. You feel for Renee Montoya dealing with sexism in her workplace. You probably know a man in a position of power who reminds you of Roman Sionis. Birds of Prey is a DC movie through and through, but at its heart, it feels very human and realistic, while still being over the top and fun, just like Harley Quinn.