“Birds of Prey” Movie Review

Story posted February 13, 2020 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Andrew Field

“Birds of Prey” was directed by Cathy Yan and stars Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Ewan McGregor (Black Mask), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Huntress), and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Black Canary).

The much anticipated film that debuted on Feb. 7 follows Harley Quinn, who’s dealing with a bad break up with the Joker. With no one to turn to, she has to start a new life.

This movie had both strong positives and negatives. The “Birds of Prey” primary cast is really what made this film work.

Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the character is again spot on. It’s a different type of performance than she gave in “Suicide Squad”, but this actually seems to relate more to the character of Harley Quinn. She’s quirky, violent, and humorous.

Robbie really immersed herself into the role, and it paid off. All of the events and things that happened to her character were interesting and mostly relatable. Robbie was made for this role as she excels in every opportunity the script gives her.

The character of Black Mask is a terrible person with no regard for anyone but himself and for what he desires. Ewan McGregor did a nice job selling this part. He pushes the envelope and certainly is not likeable in the film.

McGregor looked and felt like he was having fun with this role and the material, and that could lend to part of the reason why his performance resonated with audiences.

He is a little over the top in certain scenes but when you’re having a good time and doing what the script instructs, you can’t really blame him. That’s what this movie is for the majority of its duration, it has fun and doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

The choreography and the pacing of the action set pieces were also well done. They were engaging and also enjoyable to watch. The fights help pick up slower parts of the movie as the music ramps up in intensity and speed in order to give the film more life.

However, the storyline and secondary actors allowed the film to fall short.

The plot of “Birds of Prey '' is a little convoluted at times and jumps around to tell the story. It is very similar to the way “Deadpool” was done, but it is not executed well because the main plot device is not intriguing, so there’s no relatable aspect for the audience to care.

Very similar to the plot of the film, the pacing is all over the place at times. It is very difficult to tell a story out of order, and when done well it’s an impressive feat. “Birds of Prey” was not able to accomplish this due to lack of character development and poor direction.

Other than Harley Quinn and Black Mask, the other characters were not well developed. There’s a reason why this movie’s title was changed to “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey '', because Harley Quinn is the main selling point of the film, and rightfully so. She has the most compelling scenes, the best dialogue, and even best action. When they try to give backstory for other characters like Black Canary or Huntress, it is forced and feels like the movie is trying to cram it all in.

Granted, the performances by Mary Elizabteth Winstead (Huntress) and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Black Canary) are good, but the material they had to work with was sparse.

“Birds of Prey” is a fun movie with some glaring issues. The acting and the action set pieces are bright spots, while the plot and pacing are certainly a hindrance to this film having success in the box office. Time will tell how this movie does, and if the positives can outshine the negatives.

Rating: 3/5


Andrew Field is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email aaf5329@psu.edu.