Blog Archives

IR Film Review: BIRDS OF PREY (& The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) [Warner Brothers]

The trajectory of “Birds Of Prey (& The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn”) is visualizing the identity of Harley Quinn and her journey to become that whom she truly is. The movie tries in earnest to portray this road of discovery in Quinn’s own special way which is undeniably entertaining and edgy in its own bizarro progression. The iteration at least for the for the first 2/3rds of the film is day glow brilliance and breakneck. While creative flourishes and structure is dynamic and interesting, sometimes the style of the film intrinsically does not keep up with the pace. Robbie knows her character in and out and doesn’t shy away from the character’s faults. Quinn still loves Mr. J but he unceremoniously throws her away for undisclosed reasons. She starts acting out logically (and at times illogically) which is where most of the fun comes from. Quinn (and Robbie) knows she is a clinically trained psychiatrist who has gone bonkers and boy crazy for Mr. J so it is an interesting paradox. While her journey to find her crew is important, it is not the goal. There is peeks of tenderness and at times hurt underneath Quinn’s brilliant smile. Robbie shows peeks of it but there is not so much dramatic tendency as there could be.

When the plot takes over about 3/4s of the way through, the film veers into more standard territory where it might have been interesting to see it in a nihilistic way or a trip that only happens in Quin’s head. It is a fun ride, more dynamic and entertaining than “Suicide Squad” but still is not fully exceptional. The only issues is that at times it feels, in a weird way, like a TV movie and not a film, which is not an insult since alot of TV is cinematic but it is missing a certain kernel that would make it jump more. The other Birds Of Prey per se are very apt with Mary Elizabeth Winstead making the most impact as Huntress. Her O-Ren stylings are great but Winstead plays her less cool and more odd in a way which is a creative choice but one which could have been amped. The reality is that none of the other Birds per se can shine a candle to Harley. There is a Moulin Rouge/Madonna ode of sorts at one point which is cool considering Ewan in the scene is a direct reference to that seminal movie of 20 years ago. Ewan has a bit of fun playing the flamboyancy of his baddie character who ultimately is the Black Mask. But despite the flourishes the character is inherently one dimensional with the weight of the villain having as much structure as Sam Rockwell’s captain in “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”…fun to watch without much motivation beyond simple carnage. Even Tyler Durden had an ethos.

Ultimately “Birds Of Prey” wraps around to the true nature of Harley Quinn which a loner with a soft spot who likes to get in trouble. At one point, she steals a gas filled truck drunk and runs it into Axis Chemicals. It is a multi tiered point both freeing, tragic, nihilistic and wonderfully lurid which is all the aspects that Harley Quinn should be. Even though it runs at throttle those at this and other points, the film reaches its zenith only rarely but not as a full fledged blow out.

B-

By Tim Wassberg

Sirk TV Graphic Novel Review: HARLEY QUINN VOL. 3 – KISS KISS BANG STAB [DC Comics]

harley-quinn-v3

The aspect of Harley Quinn is interesting considering her background. This is what is going to make her characterization in “Suicide Squad” very interesting to say the least. In “Harley Quinn Vol 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab” [Amanda Connor & Jimmy Palmiotti/DC Comics/176pgs], there is the necessarily more comical aspects that play in but what is below the surface, sometimes subtly, sometimes not so much, is the essence of her psychological tendencies, her workaholic leanings and her need for love. The great thing is that we don’t get the overwhelming stalkerish element of her obsession with the Joker. Despite her ADD approach and slightly violent tendencies, she comes off as a variation on certain normlaistic mind sets. Her friendship with Poison Iyy, her willingness to help friends (even Eggy) and even the Yodaesque musings of her “beaver” all create a slightly askew world that really works within the anthology. The Christmas stories are not necessarily the most engaging but the Batman/Bruce Wayne date story, her time management arc which evolves into her search for assistants and her dream sequences give this collection a balance of uniqueness despite a few not so cohesive stories. The different mind sets and the different art work they present are interesting as well. Harley’s perception of her dream life with Bruce and the colors that populate it versus Bruce’s dream sequence (which is photo real in certain ways) gives the reader a very interesting insight into the way Harley sees herself, the way that others see herself and the artist’s individual perception. The dialogue reflects this as well as the cadence is the more consistent throughout all the stories with Harley’s self distraction and twisted wistfulness propelling her along in her way. All said, this volume is an interesting read focusing on one of the more animated characters, albeit supporting, that populate this section of the DC Universe.

B
By Tim Wassberg
%d bloggers like this: