This article contains opinion.
“Birds of Prey” kicked my ass and took my name.
The film follows the Joker’s ex, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), as she tries to figure out how to live life without Mr. J.
Like any good bisexual, Harley gets into roller derby, cuts her hair and starts a side business as a mercenary – among other things – to cope. She winds up in a nightclub owned by Roman Sionis, also known as the Black Mask (Ewan McGregor).
That’s when the sh*t starts to hit the fan.
Harley drunkenly decides to blow up the Ace Chemicals plant as a middle-finger to the Joker, as that was where she took a plunge into a vat of chemicals to prove her devotion to him. This act, however, shows all of Gotham that she and the Joker are no more – meaning that everyone that Harley’s ever wronged could come after her with no repercussions.
Harleen Quinzel certainly isn’t the only focus of the film, though.
Next, we learn about Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), the grizzled lesbian Gotham City police detective with a penchant for cheesy one-liners. She broke a case that her then-partner took credit for, so she’s stuck as a detective while he got promoted to captain.
Then we meet Dinah Lance, aka Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Sionis’ favorite singer-turned-his-personal-chauffeur. She has an aloof personality, but she doesn’t hesitate to help those in need.
Huntress, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is a quiet, unassuming figure with an affinity for crossbows and revenge. I won’t spoil her true identity here, so go see the movie for yourself for her big reveal.
Finally, we meet Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a teenage pickpocket who would rather get in loads of trouble than spend time in an abusive foster home.
Again, I don’t want to give away too many plot points, so let’s move on to what made this movie work: the strength of women working together to take down men in power.
Near the end of the film, there is a large fight between a huge gang of men and these five fiersome females in an old amusement park. The women, armed only with Harley’s old store of weapons, manage to take out dozens of armed men – with the power of teamwork.
While “Barracuda” by Heart blares in the background, the camera zooms around the room, focusing on the different strengths and abilities each woman has. Montoya makes good use of brass knuckles to clobber the gangsters, Lance manages to kick everyone while wearing incredibly tight pants, Huntress uses her assassin training to subdue her foes, Cain darts around to avoid attacks, and Harley busts out her good ol’ hammer to get the job done.
In the midst of battle, Lance has trouble with her hair flying everywhere, so Harley calmly offers her a hair tie. Lance accepts and murks some fools with her lethal legs while she gathers her hair in a messy bun.
That moment really stuck out to me. I haven’t had long hair in many years, but I remember the quick few seconds of camaraderie that comes from sharing your hair ties with fellow long-haired people.
To put it mildly, I really loved this movie. The bright colors, realistic depictions of women and Harley’s sharp-witted narration makes this film one of my favorite superhero flicks of all time – coming from someone who hasn’t seen “Suicide Squad.” Though she presents a tough exterior, we really got to see Harley struggle with her life of abuse and live to tell the tale.
“Birds of Prey” made my queer brain go haywire, which is difficult for action movies nowadays. Go see this if you need some empowerment in your life.
Or if you love egg sandwiches.