Birds of Prey (2020) – Film Review

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Director: Cathy Yan
Cast: Margot Robbie, Ewan McGregor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Certificate: 15

by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow

I had no idea of what the opposite of misogyny was, but “misandry” is apparently the answer. ’The hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men’.

Which sounds like a really political intro for a comic book movie as daft and lightweight as Birds of Prey. It’s not meant to be, but there’s a jarring feeling of something being not quite right amid the endless violence and littering in this follow up to the awful Suicide Squad from a few years ago.

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“Welcome antidote”

As with that movie, Margot Robbie steals every scene she’s in as the eponymous comic book character made flesh. The woman who inspired a million cosplayers burns up the screen in a film which is a welcome antidote to Joker, which I saw the night before.

The plot involves the anti heroine clashing with a crime lord (a mis-cast Ewan McGregor) and his army of goons, while eclectic other heroines join forces.

Robbie may steal the show, but Mary Elizabeth Winstead is glorious as the vengeful Huntress, who, for reasons that become apparent, is on a killing spree with her crossbow.

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There’s a wealth of set pieces, a lot of fourth wall-breaking, and a glorious sense of irreverence, but apart from a guy who makes a sandwich at the start of the movie, every bloke in this version of Gotham is a nutcase, gangster or double-dealing lowlife. Ms Robbie, who also produced, really could do with addressing such misandry in the inevitable follow-up movie.

The soundtrack is a pulse-pounding cacophony of classics and original work, while the stunts are terrific.

Hopefully James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad should give us a far better movie than Quinn’s original debut offering, but for now this derrière-kicking slice of escapism is good fun, as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

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Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is in cinemas now

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