30+ Birds of Prey Reviews – Doctor Robotnik vs. Harley Quinn, “Physical Disadvantages” and Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Birds of Prey⭐️⭐️½

Cracks me up some people getting all hot and bothered over Jim Carrey (Doctor Robotnik from Sonic The Hedgehog) obviously joking with Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) about her physical appearance. If she commented on Brad Pitt’s looks nobody would say a word.

“I wanted to talk to you because you’re amazing and I’m so excited for you,” Carrey told Robbie, who was on the show with him. “It’s incredible that you’ve gotten as far as you have with your obvious physical disadvantages.”

Jim Carrey Slammed by Fans for Implying Margot Robbie’s Looks Got Her a Career

If you want see the tone of Carrey’s voice you can follow the link to the video clip. It’s harmless fun. He’s clearly joking. He wasn’t insulting her as a woman by mentioning her looks and it doesn’t appear that she ever took it that way.

Hypersensitivity.

The dynamic of the two together is interesting being that next weekend their movies will go head to head at the box office. Sonic probably outsells Birds of Prey, which will make even more sensationalist headlines about how Prey has “flopped.”

Let’s dig deeper into what happened with Birds of Prey. To do that, I need to give a SPOILER warning. So, if you haven’t seen the film yet, please understand some of what follows may ruin the movie for you, so bookmark and return or proceed with this understanding and acceptance.

… SPOILERS ahead, you’ve been warned …

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

This sort of sums up my feelings on this movie. It could have been better than it was if they didn’t try to do so much. It should have been better if they followed existing storylines they already have rather than try to create something untested. It would have been better if they just made it a standalone Harley Quinn movie.

Let’s deep dive specifics.

Those Outfits Were BAD

Ugh, outfits. I rarely question costume design in movies, but in a movie based on comic books, the costumes do matter. I’m used to Harley Quinn in the red and black with cowl and mask. Or even like the animated Harley. About the only thing Margot Robbie got right was the hair, face and her Harley voice was pretty good. Not as high-pitched but definitely the Brooklyn accent and the “Mistah J” speak.

The other outfits were wrecked. Black Mask was just, really, a cheap looking black mask. That’s it. Seriously, I’ve seen better masks at Halloween in the under $20 section.

Huntress? I guess she sort of had an outfit? Cassandra was nothing more than a young pickpocket who could have been anybody. Renee Montoya as the hard-edged police detective didn’t appear dressed any differently than 1,000 other women police detectives.

The overall creativity for the costumes gets a D grade.

Title Change Was Necessary, but Too Little, Too Late

I’m not the only one who has shortened the title to Birds of Prey. But the new title Warner Bros. decided to use: Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey should have been the original title vs. the ridiculously long and mostly unused: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

New title is Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey

Who ever thought this title would be a great idea? It probably is too long to fit in most database fields and look at what would get truncated. The most important part (Harley Quinn).

Add to that the word “fantabulous” which I kept hearing and seeing corrected wrongly by others as “fabulous.” This playful, fanciful Dahl-esq word doesn’t belong in the title or make it as cool as hoped for. Perhaps like the Birds of Prey, it didn’t belong in this movie promotion either.

What’s in a title, you ask? Name recognition is critical and though Harley Quinn was named in the original title, she wasn’t placed as prominently as Birds of Prey. People seeing that in the title probably thought it was a horror movie (“Birds of Prey”) or something on soaring animals .. probably not anything to do with Harley Quinn.

Yeah, Birds of Prey … why?

As a currently active subscriber to DC Universe, I’ve tried multiple times to watch the Birds of Prey TV show starring Dina Meyer in a wheelchair as Barbara Gordon. Just isn’t connecting with me. The Birds of Prey dynamic isn’t clicking for me.

A terrible portrayal of Harley Quinn in the Birds of Prey TV (1992) Show

It’s easily my least favorite version of Harley Quinn, too that I’ve seen so far. I don’t know if it was the script or just the acting or both, but it’s not good. I’m not even going to mention the actress because maybe it’s even less her fault than I’m thinking.

As for the rest of the Birds of Prey in the TV show? They seem kinda cool, but I’ve struggled to get into them. Can’t put my finger on what it is about this TV show that keeps drawing me back again and again, trying to watch it and get into it — but can’t. Maybe some others reading can explain it better.

Is this negative experience with a live action version of Birds of Prey giving me a bias toward these characters? It’s possible that it is. Not fair, I realize, because they should be able to reboot and recreate a more positive impression in a new movie but they didn’t in Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

The Birds of Prey felt tacked on. Like they were added to support Harley so she didn’t have to carry the movie. Will say it again: the only support Harley Quinn needs is Poison Ivy. That should have been her emotional center, her rock, her BFF … not these Birds of Prey with their own complex backgrounds that the movie doesn’t have time to get into.

I’m not saying the Birds of Prey shouldn’t be a movie, they just shouldn’t be in this movie. Whenever they were the focal point in the film my interest level dropped off. Maybe we can get some build-up of the individual characters and story and then have an MCU-style moment where the Birds of Prey come back?

Too Many Underdeveloped Characters

We didn’t need the Birds of Prey. The movie should have been about Harley Quinn and maybe her best friend Poison Ivy. From there we could get into her life after the breakup with Joker.

Hey, wait, this is exactly what Harley Quinn the animated series is about! Imagine that? A better plot from the animated series than the feature length movie. It’s true, if you thought Birds of Prey was lackluster, give Harley Quinn the animated TV series a try. Think you’ll be surprised just how good that is.

Barely an R rated movie

Why was this rated R? Because of a few violent scenes? The language wasn’t as profanity-laced as the animated TV series. The police scene was — and I’m being totally serious — beanbags and glitter from the gun? What was the point of all the glitter? Maybe this was an homage to Batman TV from 1966? Harley Quinn is a one woman wrecking machine with blunt instruments like her signature mallet, bats, etc. She doesn’t use guns with bean bags and glitter … or maybe I’ve missed where she has? She might do that as some kind of demented joke (remember, she was Joker’s girlfriend!), so maybe, just maybe it fits.

The Egg Sandwich scene was pure dumb fun

There was no point to the egg sandwich scene except that the director and writers thought it was funny. It is the kind of quirky weirdness that is Harley’s character but was it necessary? No.

The fight scenes were good

I liked all the fight scenes. Well choreographed and executed with some awesome back flips by Harley’s stunt woman. Margot Robbie made a point to credit her stunt people. Well deserved props here.

Margot Robbie IS Harley Quinn

Margot Robbie shined in this movie for me. She nailed the goofy, spastic personality of Harley. I enjoyed her as the unreliable narrator, just wish she’d narrated a better story.

Summary

Disappointed. I wanted to love this movie. The people who made it missed a huge, huge opportunity riding on the success of Joker. They could have been inspired by the strength, power and awesomeness of the animated TV show, surely somebody that was doing that clued them into the production? (yes, just watch the end credits) Or maybe that’s sacrilege to consider being inspired by an animated film for a feature-length film. Maybe it was too late past production close to realize that better source material existed.

I am grateful to Margot Robbie for seizing on opportunity and putting this movie together and, for me anyway, she was the best part about this movie. I still haven’t seen Suicide Squad, but it’s my understanding she was the best part of that movie, too.

Whatever the case, just a bunch of botched opportunities … and if this movie doesn’t sell well enough at the box office we may never get another Harley Quinn standalone movie. Or at least not again in my lifetime. That would be a shame because the character deserves a feature length film.

Did you like this film? Dislike? Tell me about your experience watching.

Reviews by Others

Time to read what other movie reviewers are saying about Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

Recommended

  1. B&S About Movies: “There’s nothing like being pleasantly surprised by a movie. And I’m pleased to report that even after sleeping on this review overnight, I still find myself remembering plenty to love in this one.”
  2. Cinema Cocoa (3/4): “…overall, it is an entertaining movie for what it is. The writing can be clever and the comedy can be on point. The use of colours in scenes and set design can be beautiful at times (there’s a great moment involving coloured smoke).”
  3. ComicBook Debate (3.5/5): “…feels like a true sequel to Suicide Squad while giving Harley Quinn her first solo film disguised under the female-led team-up. There are a lot more positives than negatives as incredible action sequences, hilarious moments and character development combine to create a thrilling ride.”
  4. Derrick/The Ferguson Theater: “It’s a goofy, free-wheeling action movie that manages to seem as if it’s all being made up as it goes along thanks to the sheer energy and willingness of the cast to throw themselves into the ridiculousness of it all.”
  5. Drew’s Movie Reviews: “Margot Robbie has come to embody Harley Quinn and carries the movie on her back. The pace can be a bit jarring and chaotic but when it’s told from Quinn’s point-of-view what would you expect? The action, when it happens, is colorful and outrageous, and there is plenty of humor to go with Quinn’s clown motif.”
  6. Eternality Tan (Grade: B+): “While the film doesn’t really say anything that has not already been said by other similar genre movies, it is still a bag of fun seeing nefarious men screaming in pain at the behest of a ragtag of anti-heroines.”
  7. Funk’s House of Geekery (7/10): “…isn’t going to be a hit with comic purists, as it reworks all the characters except Harley, and it isn’t going to make the MCU sweat. What it does is deliver laughs, action and madness in equal measure and we wouldn’t say no to a sequel.”
  8. Hunter Goddard / Moviebabble: “Even though Birds of Prey isn’t going to rake in Academy Awards nominations like Joker (or, for that matter, Tarantino), it isn’t trying to. It knows what it is, and it’s good at what it does.”
  9. Isabelle Reviews Movies: “…is a fun time. It’s colorful and violent, but some of the stylistic choices and story beats just didn’t work for me. However, if you are a fan of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, then I think you’ll have a good time with this movie.”
  10. Jack Blackwell Film Reviews (4/5): “Funny and vicious, Birds of Prey sets an impressively high bar for the rest of 2020’s comic book movie pack that I doubt they’ll be able to reach.”
  11. Jason Bleau / Cinema Spotlight: “It’s no “Wonder Woman” which remains the best DCEU film in my opinion, but it’s a close second. While it’s heavy handedness might be a little much for some to bear, it’s easy to overlook how up front its themes are when you’re laughing your ass off and having a genuinely good time in the process.”
  12. Movie Metropolis / Adam Brannon: “…is a spirited if messy solo-outing for Margot Robbie’s eclectic anti-hero. Filmed beautifully and cast well, it brings together the majority of what we have enjoyed from DCs collection of better films, and most importantly, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
  13. No More Workhorse: “…don’t underestimate these Birds, they aren’t taking any prisoners and I think this is a refreshing female driven roller-coaster ride that comic book movies have needed.”
  14. Often Off Topic (4/5): “If I skipped the trailers at the cinema I doubt I would have even known of this movie’s existence. And now it’s being hailed as a flop. Which is a damn shame, because it’s a great movie, and a huge step up from the disaster that was Suicide Squad (2016).”
  15. Richard Southwell / Richard’s Blog (4.5/5): “If you’ve got the stomach for it, and you’re happy with this kind of dark, crazy humour, Birds of Prey is a highly entertaining film that will put a smile on your face without any need for Joker toxin.”
  16. Robert Daniels / 812filmreviews: “…is the first fun for fun’s sake comic book movie in some time, and a decisively exhilarating girls trip, no matter the destination.”
  17. RockAtTheMovies (6.5/10): “This film is very on the nose about its women characters and how they are badass working together. While Birds of Prey isn’t anything amazing or remarkable its easily one of the better entries in this universe.”
  18. ruth / FlixChatter Film Blog (3/5): “There is so much color in this film that I often felt like I was inside a glitter bomb explosion. However, I did enjoy Harley’s humor, and fashion sense and abilities to beat up the bad guys while holding her own.”
  19. Screen Zealots / Louisa (3.5/5): “It’s colorful and chaotic, reckless and energetic, and I am surprised that I enjoyed this movie as much as I did. This is a really, really fun spectacle that could bring new fans to the genre.”
  20. Seun Odukoya: “…the movie, while it started slow, picked up around the 25/30 minute mark. It has enough laughs and action to keep you sitting and standing and sitting again. It’s a roller-coaster ride of a movie”
  21. skuldren / Rooqoo Depot (2/5): “Yet as bad as some parts were, there were still lots of moments a fan can enjoy. I didn’t hate the movie, nor was I bored. But the movie made sure to remind me it was bad throughout. That’s why I would still recommend it for huge fans of Harley Quinn.”
  22. tensecondsfromnow / The Film Authority: “Women can and should be able to match men when it comes to super-heroes; Harley Quinn’s success bodes well for Black Widow, Wonder Woman and the production line of heroines heading our way in 2020. Fanboys may not approve, but Harley Quinn’s emancipation is fantabulous stuff.”
  23. The Happiness Box Project: “I LOVED Birds of Prey. Harley Quinn without Mr. J was badass; I thought she was a much stronger character and I love a strong female character. I really loved the story line and would recommend it.”
  24. The Perceptions Square (3/5): “Margot Robbie is fabulous with her giggles, psychotic smile and her hyperactive, swaggy narration. The visual effects, action scenes with a lot of violence are OK. Overall, a movie for the fans.”
  25. Victor de la Cruz: “It’s an entertaining movie that tells an energetic tale filled with some fantastic action scenes. I say give it a watch.”

Not Recommended

  1. Chicken of Tomorrow: “…short-term visual delights are not enough to impart long-term emotional or cultural resonance, and for now Birds of Prey is merely a stepping stone towards broader women’s representation in film.”
  2. Chris B. Page / Too Many Posts (2/10): “The DCEU had been going up in my opinion, but this goes right near the bottom of the deck with Suicide Squad in a movie that seems to think it’s a lot cooler than it is. The end credits were a blessed relief and I was out of my seat like a flash.”
  3. Eddie and Jordan The Movie Guys (2/5): “…despite the best efforts of its leading lady, this newest addition to the DC universe is both forgettable and disappointing, failing to establish its posse of death bringers in a way that makes us want more.”
  4. Keith & The Movies (2/5): “As a general defender of the DCEU I really wish “Birds of Prey” wasn’t such a mess. In many ways it should be commended as progress. It’s a female-led action-comedy directed by a woman, written by a woman, and essentially about getting on in life without a man. Together those things are an overdue breath of fresh air, but they don’t automatically make for a good movie”
  5. Logan Burd / Cinema or Cinemeh? (5.5/10): “…has some of the best fight choreography I have seen since last year’s “John Wick: Chapter 3.” If you get a kick out of bad guys getting their teeth kicked in, you’ll find plenty to love in this very standalone DC outing. Is the movie fun? Hell yeah. It’s just not that good.”
  6. moviejoltz (2.5/5): “There are only so many fight scenes one can sit through in a day. Margot handled the majority of anything that appeared to interject humor into the scattered script. The story and script both needed to pare the scattered craziness down and increase the excitement and drama.”
  7. R / Cinema Notes: “This is a Frankenstein of a flick, a mishmash of horrible ideas and terrible execution all together forming one of the most absolutely unfunny, cringe and pathetic movies I have ever, ever seen.”
  8. Scott William Foley: “Unfortunately, I can only describe it as “fine.” It wasn’t bad–not at all. However, it also wasn’t especially good.”
  9. Wannabe Movie Critic (60/100): “This for me isn’t the Harley I want to see in live-action. There’s no reason for her to be foul-mouthed the way she’s portrayed here. Again, I think WB thought the R-Rating would benefit this character, wherein all reality, I think it just dumbed her down.”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good. If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quote from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

One thought on “30+ Birds of Prey Reviews – Doctor Robotnik vs. Harley Quinn, “Physical Disadvantages” and Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

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