First off, I’d like to thank Eli Sirota for the new moniker. I know it’s been confusing times lately kids, but what better way to bust it out than talking about a movie who changed it’s title mid week?
I think this is a movie that is suffering an identity crisis. DC hit it big with that faux Joker movie, which in turn added lots of pressure to whatever was next in line. It just so happened to be BofP. Joker’s girlfriend got her stand alone movie, and the pressure is on.
Made for $75 million, produced by Margot Robbie, reading that, you knew that there were going to be some changes in Harley from Suicide Squad. The writer was Christina Hodson, the director was Cathy Yan, the leads were all female and the villain was a male, so you KNOW that the nerds in their mom’s basement who are “experts”, were going to be all over this, and calling it a…gasp…feminist movie. Many others have called it “just awful”, attacking Ms Robbie for even thinking of making it, that she’s wasting her talents.
After the first week, it opened at $33 million US, $89 million overseas. After two weeks, the movie made $61.6 million domestic, $83.6 overseas, for a combined $145.2 million dollars, thus it is in the black. It will hang around a few more weeks, and probably close our around $200 million dollars.
I know what you kids are thinking, that “Joker” made a billion dollars. This is 1/5th of its revenue, and there is a reason. It wasn’t meant, or marketed to be a blockbuster. In fact, in my layman opinion, they put some hurdles in, so that it didn’t have a chance.
First and foremost, they wrote the movie so that it got an R rating. Now, logistically, that makes sense. Many of the young ladies today who love the fact that she is a female character, fun, and has her own book, think of her as the early stage, where HQ life was PG 13, and that was on a bad day.
Harley today is crass, swears a lot, is oversexed, and does like to drink a little bit. Other things are implied, but it is not a book for a 13 year old to read, boy or girl. I mean, most the kids that age have been exposed to all of those things in one way or another, but the parent in me thinks that avoiding it as much as you can in media is a good thing.
All said though, she is a hero to a younger audience. And unless they are 18, they can’t see it unless they are with a parent or guardian. I’m sure there are plenty of teen boys who were ready for round two of HQ, and they were somewhat denied as well.
Now, I don’t have regular TV, so I missed the TV ads, but for all the ones I saw online…well…it didn’t do the movie justice. I would say that the advertising was subpar at best.
Joker, though a different style of movie, got the grass roots going early. They were calling Phoenix an Oscar contender (Leo was robbed), way before the movie came out. The scene on the steps was made iconic by the time the movie hit the theatres, as well.
The ads for this, were underwhelming. Many of the scenes just didn’t translate well to put into advertising. They also came out early, made statements about not over sexualizing the characters, and making it about the story, and though I know what they are saying, personally, I would have done that, but not mentioned it publicly. It would come out after the first weekend, but by then, you’ve made a couple million more from all the nerds hoping to see Margot Robbie in skin tight short shorts.
And lastly, why did they change the title. There was no need. It’s Birds of Prey, and you can change it all you want, but it’s Birds of Prey.
Enough about marketing and numbers, lets get on to the show! Now, me, I love the character, and throughout her lifespan, she is definitely changed some. From cartoony, to a bit realistic in some books, to adult, and right now, she’s a cartoony adult. Her covers variants often show her with different body forms, from slim and sexy, to a bit chubby, though her personality comes across as light hearted and violent, but all at once.
So the movie starts out with Harley and Joker splitting up, and her getting the boot. The story goes back and fourth in time, because she spent a week drinking a whole bunch, and taking advantage of people not knowing that her and The Joker had split ways. In fact, you see the back of Jared Leto’s head briefly, and that is the only Joker sighting in the movie, and that was a flashback from Suicide Squad
So in the beginning, the movie bounces around a bit. It gives you back story, flashes back to give you set up the plot, all the while working around HQ getting her life together, living on her own. It also chronicles the problem’s she now has, not being the squeeze of The Joker.
At first, the movie is basically how my articles work.
Then we get to introducing the characters. Black Canary(Jurnee Smollet-Bell) is singing in The Black Mask’s(Ewan McGregor) club. She’s promoted to his driver from torch singer (does her own singing), because HQ broke his driver’s legs. Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez (mmmm)) plays Renee Montoya. She is a detective with a drinking problem, and spends time chasing down HQ , and Cassandra Cane (Ella Jay Basco), who is a teen orphan/pickpocket who’s family was slain by The Black Mask and Victor Asasz (Chris Messina). The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) comes from a mob family, who was killed by another mob family, and is getting her revenge against the shooters, all the while being called the “CrossBow Killer”.
Take a breath, that was just my way of telling who is who. As you know, I am very loose with the stories, and don’t like to give too many details, because I want you kids to go to the movies and experience itself. I love going to the theatre, eating popcorn, and drinking gallons of soda. Streaming is robbing us of that. Movies don’t stick around, theatres are half full because they can wait three months and see it on Disney+. Go to the movies god damn it, it’s one of my few life pleasures, and I don’t want to see them dry up.
Story wise, I actually enjoyed it. I was worried, because I broke a rule and read what some of the monkeys had to say on the internet, and the lady who wrote it was on Twitter defending herself nonstop, so I was a little nervous. I can honestly say the story was solid. It really played out like a HQ comic book. I liked it, definitely above average. Fun, fast paced, and definitely rewatchable, because I am sure I missed a few things.
As for the feminist agenda, I didn’t see it. I guess because all the “heroes” were female, fighting male bad guys, but it makes sense. Historically, most of the villains are predominantly male, so this really makes sense. I know that there are female villains, but not many are big enough, or draw enough heat, that you want them to be the antagonist.
I will say, there were a lot of kicks to the balls. A few kicks to the vagina, a tit punch, but in my opinion, they make sense. As a male, the most sensitive spot that isn’t easily blocked is the nards, so I can see it.
Casting for the most part is really good, with a few exceptions. Margot Robbie is top notch as HQ. Black Canary was really good, she did her own singing, and moved very naturally when she was doing her fight scenes. Cassandra Cane was good. Really good in the role. I know that her character now, compared to her character in the book don’t match much, but I liked her in this role. Rosie Perez was great as Montoya. I especially liked the fact that she is the DCEU’s first full lesbian character, and they acknowledged it, but did not make a big deal out of it, just made it as a fact of life. (sad that I have to be excited for something like that, but Hollywood generally likes to pat themselves on the back for mundane things)
There were three castings I didn’t care for, or maybe how they were written. First was The Black Mask. I love Ewen McGregor. I think that he is a wonderful actor. I didn’t care for him in this role, and I think it was a bit of his acting, and a bit of the script.
He’s supposed to be the anti Bruce Wayne. He is supposed to be the person that Bruce Wayne pretends to be. And he is to a point. But I felt that he needed to be a bit more snotty, a bit more priveledged…he’s missing an edge that I felt he should have. And he is a criminal, he is known for killing, or at least having people killed…you expect someone a bit harder.
Next was Victor Zsasz. The character was written well, but he just under delivered. Maybe it was how it was written, but to me, he fell flat. I always picture him as more of an edgy psychopath, and he’s a psychopath, but lacks a bit of insanity that I felt the character has. He was a bit too quiet, but not in the proper creepy way he should be.
Finally, I didn’t like the Huntress character. I felt she was flat. I also felt that people missed the humor in some of her lines, because she was a hidden gem of humor. This was proven when I laughed out loud at one of her lines, and the guy in front of me looked back to see why I was laughing
Overlord John and Kentucky explained that her being flat and monotone in the role was her comic character, but I just didn’t care for her. Very stiff, didn’t move well, but maybe I’m splitting hairs.
I thought the sets were done well. Even in a city, the back scenery wasn’t repetitive, its colorful where it should be colorful, muted where it should be muted, and for 95% of it, it matched the mood of the scenes. I though her little apartment fit well, because after a relationship, you just want a roof over your head. And jam packed with crap, very realistic.
My only issue, was every time she was in a restaurant, nobody else was there. She’s going in the morning for the best egg sandwich, and nobody is there. She lives above a restaurant that’s only customer was The Huntress, who ordered the same thing as Harley, but instead of extra spicy, was bland, much like herself.
All in all, this movie was fast paced, fun, definitely some scenes that make you laugh, and some hidden laughs that I want to revisit. I thought that Margot Robbie really captured HQ’s essence, and the rest of the cast complemented her well, even the Huntress.
I don’t think that HQ has enough pull to be the anchor of the DCEU universe, but her portrayal in the last two movies has shown that she definitely has the chops to play a big part in it, from them using her in Suicide Squad to fight the baddest of the bad, or even her being the actual villain in a future Batman movie. It seems they want to distance her from The Joker, which I am all for, so her as a stand alone villain could draw in some fans that slipped away.
You can find me on all the social media, and in sleazy bars. @jaycanchu on IG and Twitter. Keep an eye out for articles by Sara K and The K Files. Her style and research are a nice change of pace from the ADHD nightmares I put down.