When Suicide Squad made its debut in 2016, there were few things viewers actually liked about the film. One, however, was Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn, the Joker’s insane former-psychiatrist and girlfriend. A modern take on the character, who wouldn’t look out of place on your Instagram feed, she makes her comeback in Birds of Prey: and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, a film that strives to reinforce the strong women archetype we’ve seen a significant rise of recently.
From the sex symbol the character was used as in the first film, this Harley is back to her typical goofy ways. Robbie says she agreed to play Quinn again ‘on her terms’, and that while a Joker/Harley film would have undoubtedly been a success, she wanted a Charlie’s Angels-esque girl gang film, leading to her to produce Birds of Prey in addition to starring in it. Bringing Cathy Yan on to direct alongside a proportionately female crew, gone was the uncomfortable male gaze of Suicide Squad, making for a treatment that previously had mostly been reserved for male comic book stars.
With Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Huntress, Jurnie Smollett-Bell’s Black Canary, and Rosie Perez’s Renee Montoya completing the titular line-up, protecting child thief-prodigy Cassandra Cain, the lack of huge names doesn’t stop their talent from shining. There’s been a recent trend of big stars joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while it’s not an issue that Angelina Jolie, for example, has finally jumped on board that thriving ship, it’s nice to see some lesser-known talent shine. All three (and newcomer Ella Jay Basco as Cain) manage to hold their own, however, it’s hard to look away from the spectacle that is Robbie’s Quinn. Always making light of the situation, she breezes through the film like a hurricane in true post-breakup-power fashion.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.