Review: 'Birds of Prey' is a messy delight of a superhero film

(L-r) MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD as Huntress, MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn, ROSIE PEREZ as Renee Montoya, ELLA JAY BASCO as Cassandra Cain and JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL as Black Canary in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN),” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Cathy Yan
Writer: Christina Hodson
Starring: Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Genre: Action, Crime
Rated: R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Having broken up with the Joker, Harley Quinn finds herself the target of everyone she’s ever wronged. Only a pact with criminal mastermind Roman Sionis will protect her now.

Review: Despite being a cinematic mess, 2016’s “Suicide Squad” was a financial success as it earned $746 million worldwide against a $175-million budget. The film’s gravest sin was that director/writer David Ayer forgot to make the film about supervillains forced to do good fun. The silver lining to that black rain cloud being that we discovered that Margot Robbie was perfectly cast as Harley Quinn.

So, here we are three and a half years later with Robbie headlining “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn,” an R-rated romp that, unlike its predecessor, has a sense of humor. It’s a bit of a mess, but anyone expecting a completely coherent story from a narrator as unreliable as Quinn is as crazy as she is.

Yes folks, “Birds of Prey” is bonkers. It’s brightly-colored chaos with intermittent glitter. It’s a little disjointed and likely to cause whiplash but never to the point that you can’t connect the dots. The fight sequences are excellent, art design is fantastic, and the cinematography is great.

The actors take turns chewing scenery and kicking butt. Robbie is still a solid Quin, there’s not nearly enough of Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s The Huntress, but we do get an enjoyable amount of Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Dinah Lance and Rosie Perez’s Renee Montoya. Ella Jay Basco isn’t asked to do much beyond looking overwhelmed and pick a few pockets, but her natural charisma shines through he straight-faced performance. Ewan McGregor appears to be having the time of his life as Roman Sionis. Chris Messina’s performance as Victor Zsasz is all over the map, but that’s Zsasz.

Many will compare “Bird of Prey” to the Deadpool films. There are some surface similarities, they’re both littered with vulgarities and over-the-top violence. But Deadpool’s humor is almost entirely sexual. “Birds of Prey” is far more physical-screwball humor.

“Birds of Prey” is exactly what it wanted to be. It’s not a perfect film, but it is a fun experience that is infinitely better than “Suicide Squad.”