By Kaylee Brewster
Three stars out of four.
Being bad has never looked so good.
Move over Batman and your evil villain Joker, there’s a new girl in town, and her name is Harley Quinn. Batman and the Joker have had their time in the spotlight; now Harley, played by Margo Robbie, tells her story in “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.”
Since Harley broke up with the Joker and is no longer under his protection (“Suicide Squad,” 2016), every villain, hit man and cop in Gotham city is searching for Harley. No. 1 on that list is Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor).
Luckily for our heroine — er, villain — he has plenty of other enemies. As Harley’s paths cross with Sionis’ foes Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), they team up to bring him down and save a young girl, Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), who accidentally got in too deep with a real bad dude.
Harley narrates the story in a high-pitched, sing-songy Brooklyn-esque accent and has some breaking-the-fourth-wall moments as she addresses the audience directly.
The narration moves the story along and gives the audience the necessary background information (so no, you don’t have to watch “Suicide Squad” to get up to speed — for which you should be grateful). However, Harley isn’t the most reliable narrator. Sometimes she backtracks to clarify something she forgot to mention; other times, the audience gets to look at the madness inside her head during a brief song-and-dance number.
“Birds of Prey” is one of the few films that successfully uses voice-over narration, providing insight and plenty of laughs as the story unfolds.
Though Harley is the star, this movie also tells the story of other women in the DC universe. Perez, Winstead, Smollett-Bell and Basco all shine, bringing to life a script that lays down developed and diverse characters.
The film doesn’t skimp on action, either, with butt-whooping fight scenes in slo-mo and real time that are wonderfully choreographed and beautiful to behold.
This is a comic book movie that blurs the hero/villain line as a diverse cast of women support each other and work together to stop evil. In the recent movie “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the so-called “heroes” fight each other for half of the movie. Not so in “Birds of Prey.” It will only make you wonder why it took so long for Harley Quinn to make her big screen solo debut.