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Blu-ray Review: Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

May 13, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Blu-ray Review: Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Birds of PreyNo more Mista J for Harley.

Coming off the unmitigated success of Joker, Warner Bros. elected to jump right back into the R-rated superhero genre with Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, which serves as a follow up to 2016’s Suicide Squad. Outside of the rating, the two films couldn’t be much more different, which proves to be both a blessing and a curse.

THE PLOT

Following the events of Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) breaks up with Joker in a very public manner, blowing up Ace Chemicals to announce her liberation. Unfortunately, Quinn had amassed a long list of enemies that were held at bay by her association with Joker. Now that she’s no longer under his protection it’s open season on Quinn from all manner of lesser crooks that were wronged by her.

At the top of the list is Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), who runs a club that Harley frequents and also doubles as a crime lord under the name Black Mask. He captures Quinn and is ready to kill her, but she convinces him that she can recover a precious diamond, which had been swiped by Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a teenage pickpocket currently in police custody. Quinn succeeds in breaking her out only to discover Cain has swallowed the diamond.

As Quinn waits for Cain to pass the diamond, the pair are a target for both criminals and cops alike as Detective Montoya (Rosie Perez) searches for them. The former finds them first, though, and Quinn’s apartment is destroyed, leading her to reach out to Sionis to cut a deal for protection in exchange for Cassandra. The situation is further complicated by the presence of Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), who works for Sionis but lives in the same building as Cain, and Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who is taking out Gotham scum on a revenge mission of her own.

THE GOOD

Robbie once again leans into the role of Harley Quinn, and free of Jared Leto‘s work as Joker it’s easier to appreciate and enjoy her manic performance. She gets a few more layers this time around as well, which helped give a bit more depth to the character. The other “Birds of Prey” are each given limited time to shine, too, particularly Smollett-Bell. Winstead is fun in a fairly small role while Perez gets a more serious role.

That being said, McGregor is the most memorable part of the film. His antics are no less over-the-top than some of the Joker stuff, but the delivery is completely different, and it’s tinged with a unique humour. Chris Messina is menacing as his right-hand man Zsasz, always looking to feed into Sionis’ psychotic side. They make a good on-screen pairing and once again prove that DC’s biggest advantage over Marvel is its villains.

Birds of Prey doesn’t have a great plot, but it’s enough to serve as a backdrop for lots of crazy battles, off-colour jokes and interesting visuals. The interplay between the characters is consistently snarky, and it feels like everyone gets their chance in the spotlight . It’s a fun movie.

THE BAD

One of the things that Marvel has done so well is intertwining stories and characters while giving each of them story arcs and making even secondary heroes seem important. It also makes everything feel connected. DC, meanwhile, seems to be doing the opposite. Joker and Birds of Prey both take place in Gotham, but they have nothing in common. It’s the centre of the DC universe, and yet nobody else appears: no Batman, none of Harley’s Suicide Squad teammates, nothing.

THE BONUS FEATURES

Nearly an hour of extras is included, though there are no deleted or alternate scenes. It’s a pretty standard assortment as there’s one for costume design, creating the look of the film and general “making of” stuff. It’s fine as supplemental material, but there’s nothing vital.

OVERALL

As a standalone, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is an action-packed, enjoyable romp and one of the better DC Universe films to date. We just wish there was a stronger story and more overlap with the other movies.

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Video Game Review: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered

April 6, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Arguably the best CoD of all-time gets a fresh coat of paint. As unbelievable as it seems, we’ve reviewed thousands of games over the last decade-plus. In that time, only a handful has ever achieved a perfect score. One of those games was 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, so we were definitely excited […]
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Video Game Review: Nioh 2

March 30, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Video Game Review: Nioh 2
Challenging combat is the hallmark of Nioh 2. Despite critical acclaim and solid sales, Nioh always seems to get overlooked when talking about top PlayStation 4 exclusives and Dark Souls style titles, dwelling in the shadows of games like Bloodborne and, more recently, Sekiro. Now, developer Team Ninja, which cut its teeth on the always-tough Ninja Gaiden […]
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Video Game Review: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

March 19, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Video Game Review: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Another forest needs saving in Will of the Wisps. Since the launch of the Xbox One back in 2013, Xbox Games Studios has released dozens of sequels and new IPs. Among the latter, 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest sits at the top for us, narrowly edging out the criminally underrated Sunset Overdrive. As such, we’ve been […]
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Blu-ray Review: Richard Jewell

March 16, 2020 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Blu-ray Review: Richard Jewell
Acting is once again first-rate in Eastwood’s latest film. Following much of Clint Eastwood‘s later work, Richard Jewell is another biographical drama telling a story that Eastwood finds interesting in the same vein as Sully, The 15:17 to Paris and so on. Given Eastwood’s involvement, you can be sure there’ll be no shortage of talent to […]
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