Birds of Prey Review The Buff and The Blazer
If you’re a Harley Quinn fan, you’re probably familiar with Batman: The Animated Series. Harley’s creator Paul Dini and artist Bruce Tim defined the core elements of the bombshell Doctor gone mad. Since then, she has appeared in a range of cartoons, animated movies and comics. In 2016, Harley Quinn would make her live-action debut. The character was played by Margot Robbie who was earning a reputation as one of Hollywood’s new young talents. Margot’s performance in Suicide Squad was enjoyable and close to her animated predecessor. However, there seemed to be something missing from the Harley that many fans had come to love. Her recent appearance in Birds of Prey gets the character closer to her roots and adds even more to love.
In Suicide Squad, it’s clear that Margot Robbie was the perfect actress to play the live-action character. She was gorgeous, full of energy and extremely fun to watch. However, there seemed to be something off about the way the character was written in the film. Of course, Harley was crazy, unpredictable. But at times, she seemed a bit too sure of herself. In the animated series, Harley always had a delicate and vulnerable quality to her as well. In Suicide Squad, Harley was a badass. She would not hesitate to swing a bat at anyone posing a threat. One thing that seemed to be missing was the trait of vulnerability from the animated series. Regardless of that, Harley Quinn had become a live-action pillar for DC’s cinematic universe. Audiences immediately craved more of her.
If we fast forward four years to the present, Harley Quinn is back on the big screen with a whole new ensemble cast of DC women. In Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, it feels like Margot Robbie absolutely nailed the character that fans fell in love with from the animated series. The basic premise of the story allows for all of Harley’s most enjoyable qualities to come through on screen.
What we can say, since it’s revealed in trailers, is that Harley and the Joker have broken up. Their breakup allows Harley to exhibit a rollercoaster range of emotions. She can appear extremely carefree, reckless, depressed, angry, and ecstatic all within the span of a single scene. All those traits and emotions are emphasized further by her extremely unpredictable nature. What we are left with is a Harley Quinn that is indistinguishable from the animated character, aside from the obvious difference in mediums.
Perhaps one of the most likable things about Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey is the fact that she is unashamedly vulnerable to the audience. One scene that comes to mind is when Harley brings out drinks to a group of girls she believes to be friends, only to drop in on them talking behind her back. At that moment, Harley is clearly hurt, and you get the sense that she just wants to belong on her own without being associated with the Joker.
That’s just one example of several in the film that allow you to empathize with Harley Quinn. Those subtle elements in Birds of Prey while easily ignored, give real depth to her character. Not only does she become the character we wanted, but she is also someone we root for. If this is the case for a character that is unstable and psychotic, then all the creators involved, especially Margot Robbie, did something extremely right.
Birds of Prey is in theaters now!
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