How ‘Birds of Prey’ Flips the Script

How 'Birds of Prey' Flips the Script

The film looks rude and vulgar, possessing so many of the traits audiences clap for in male-centric movies.

Wait, did Harley Quinn just inhale cocaine? Indeed she did. The final trailer for Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) has arrived in all of its zany, energetic abundance of costume changes, ultraviolence, and yes, drug use. The film is shaping up to be an R-rated carnival, more in line with Deadpool than the Joker in terms of tone. But the film’s style appears to be uniquely Yan’s, a mix of pop glamour, funhouse disorientation, and a bit of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016) grunge for good measure. The first superhero film release of the new decade, in a year dominated by comic book films directed by women, Birds of Prey looks to break ceilings, smash in a few windows along the way, and of course cause a controversy or two.

The latest trailer features plenty for comic book readers to love. While some fans feared Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) would take a back seat to the more popular Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the film looks like the team-up it was always said to be. Additionally, Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) will be donning his trademarked Black Mask, which we can’t believe was ever a question, and Black Canary will exhibit meta powers with her sonic scream. A recent TV spot for the film even showcased Huntress in a more familiar costume, complete with a mask. Harley’s hyenas, who debuted alongside the character in Batman: The Animated Series, and Bernie the beaver, from Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti’s run, are also along for the ride. It’s obvious that Yan and writer Christina Hodson went all in on the comic book references while still making a film that doesn’t feel fixed to one specific story or take on the characters. The hemming, hawing, and handwringing over comic book accuracy over the last several months was ultimately all for nothing.

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