#NativeNerd review: Harley Quinn’s ‘Birds of Prey’

Vincent Schilling

It was a lot better than I thought it was going to be

Friday night I saw a movie that was on my radar, but admittedly I wasn’t super excited to see. It was “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” which was finally released in theaters.

I generally post my #NativeNerd reviews on Thursdays as I am often fortunate enough to see press previews of upcoming movies. An available screening was not in my area, so I opted to review this film the day it came out. I didn’t want to wait a week to share my review of a highly anticipated movie, so today is a special #NativeNerd review.

#NativeNerd scoring system

I rate movies and shows based on a total achievable score of 10 stars. Ten stars being the highest score a film can get and one star being the worst. I employ the decimal system to a tenth of a point. Some movies aren’t an eight but deserve a little more than a seven.

Here is my review.

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

7.9 out of 10

My quick quote: “A hundred times better than I thought it was going to be. Though there were some technical problems, I enjoyed the cast of characters, including, of course, the sarcastic Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.”

Birds of Prey

Synopsis: It's open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her back. Unprotected and on the run, Quinn faces the wrath of narcissistic crime boss Black Mask, his right-hand man, Victor Zsasz, and every other thug in the city. But things soon even out for Harley when she becomes unexpected allies with three deadly women, the Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya.

I really didn't think the trailer did a good job of illustrating the movie

In the history of anticipated films, I have to say this film’s movie preview trailer was probably one of the worst I’ve seen in terms of giving me an impression of what to expect. When I first saw the preview in a theater of “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” last year, I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow that is going to be an awful movie.” I even hesitated to include the word “great” in the title of my recent #NativeNerd article about upcoming movies for 2020. The reason I hesitated at great, was solely for “Birds of Prey” which I genuinely thought was going to be terrible.

(See the related story: #NativeNerd list: 45 great movies for 2020)

But with every bit of surprise I can muster in this review, I have to say unequivocally, ‘It wasn’t terrible.’

Ok, it wasn’t perfect, and there were actually a few of what I thought to be inconsistencies, such as how Harley Quinn could fight a team of tough leather-clad biker dudes with guns, yet struggle to fight a drunk detective in a hand-to-hand brawl.

Or of course, there was the time her hair was wet, then got dry in the next cut scene.

But with all its little problems, there were quite a few times I thought it was hilarious, or I found myself enjoying Harley Quinn’s dry wit in an otherwise deadly situation, or watched as the action continued to unfold in an on-foot chase scene.

One thing I didn’t expect to say was, ‘I really enjoyed this movie.’ But I did.

I realize I gave “Suicide Squad” a decent review, even though I was furious that Adam Beach’s character was on screen for a way too short of a time. Quite a few people disagreed with me as to that movie, even a former editor told me he was mad at me that he wasted his money to go see “Suicide Squad” due to my review, so I ask you not to hold my past against me.

I suspect if you go to see “Birds of Prey,” you might be surprised to have been entertained.

There are a few jokes that play out a bit too long, the detective, portrayed by Rosie Perez, wears an offensively-worded shirt for too long, and a kid who was given laxatives lended itself to too many ‘hurry up and poop’ references, etc.

But I enjoyed the fight scenes immensely and enjoyed the sarcasm toward the unsuspected alliance of the Black Canary, the Crossbow Killer and of course Harley Quinn. Even if there was one cut scene where she was doing flips in a fight, then it cut to her as if she did the flip, I thought, ‘A multi-million dollar movie needs to do better than that.’

But all said, I had a great time at the movies and didn’t mind setting aside some of my criticisms to enjoy a film that I suspected was going to be horrible. I mean, based on the preview, I really did think “Birds of Prey” was going to be this year’s worst movie.

And though Harley’s weird hairstyle bugged me the entire movie, and yes, I get it, she is supposed to be emerging from a terrible relationship with the Joker, and perhaps reaching out to find her own emancipation as a person, I really had a hard time getting over it. Not because someone doesn’t have the right to wear their hair anyway in the world they want, which they do, it just didn’t seem to fit the character’s choices. I just didn’t buy it.

So though my criticisms seem to be more evident in this review than my compliments, I actually am recommending this movie with a clear conscience. Minor criticism aside, I had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed “Birds of Prey.” I suspect you will too.

I’d love to know your thoughts. Let me know in the comments section here or send me a note on Twitter.

Native Nerd Phone

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling and Instagram - @VinceSchilling

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com


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Comments (1)
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