At the end of 2019 we were surprised by the fact that the TV universe and DC film were finally brought together through the Crisis on Infinite Earths story which is quite fantastic because it brings old characters that have appeared on TV and previous series (some of them like Smallville and Superman Returns). . This year, the DCEU (DC Cinematic Universe) continues its franchise with a spin-off film entitled Birds of Prey, which is the eighth film in the DCEU, after the 2016 Suicide Squad film. Because the theme of women empowerment is being intense, DC feels that this is the right time to release a film with the theme of team-up all female heroes by focusing on the character Harley Quinn who is the counterpart of the comic story of the same title. It was rumored that there was an option to make Gotham City Sirens other than Birds of Prey.
But in the end, Margot Robbie, the main star, chose Birds of Prey and Gotham City Sirens was postponed until further information, because Margot Robbie wanted her fans to know more about the ‘lesser known’ DC female character than Catwoman or Poison Ivy (which is more known because they are Batman’s foes. Birds of Prey was directed by Cathy Yan and screenplayed by Christina Hodson. The film stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, and Ewan McGregor. The story of this film focuses on the adventures of Harley Quinn who joins the Black Canary, Helena Bertinelli, After the events of Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has now broken up with the Joker and is no longer under his influence and protection. After breaking up, Harley was immersed in the routine rituals that people usually do after a breakup, namely cutting their hair, joining the Roller Derby team, and trying to have fun at the club owned by a ruthless but narcissistic mob boss Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), also known as Black Mask.
Harley is protected from the bad guys in Gotham thanks to his status as the Joker’s girlfriend. But that changes when a member of the roller derby mocks her as a clingy woman and will definitely return to the Joker’s arms. Hearing this, Harley decided to make an ‘announcement’ by crashing a truck into the Ace Chemical factory where he first transformed and became the Joker’s partner. After the incident spread, all the criminals in Gotham City chased and tried to make a calculation for what Harley had done to them, especially Roman and his henchman Victor Zsasz. But without realizing it, Harley is involved in a gem theft plot targeted by Roman because it contains information on the Bertinelli family’s wealth that Roman wants to control. Harley offers to help Roman get the gem as a guarantee for his life. The hunt for this gem leads him to Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) who is known to have brought the gem, He also has to deal with Dinah Lance / Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) who works for Roman, idealistic detective Renée Montoya (Rosie Perez) who wants to arrest him, and also Helena Bertinelli / Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who has a grudge against the criminals. the criminal who killed his family. In the midst of this chaos, can Harley Quinn keep her promise to Roman while staying safe?
Through Birds of Prey, DC tries to show another side of their films, which this time feels quite unique and ‘messy’ just like the character of Harley Quinn which is the focus of this film. Throughout the story, the film is filled with Harley Quinn’s voice narration so that the audience feels like watching and hearing the story from Harley Quinn’s POV (Point of View), which explains non-linearly but goes back and forth and seems at will. The decision not to make a solo film but to put Harley Quinn in a team-up film was the right one but this film is not suitable for all audience demographics, audiences who expect a complex story and spectacular action will not get it in this film and for male audiences it will definitely be different. responded with a female audience because the theme of feminism that he carried was quite obvious.
The term is like watching the action of the girl gang, each of which has a basic problem that is quite chaotic and how in the end, because of their lack of choice, they work together to solve a bigger mess. It takes foresight to capture the intent and message of the director in this film because on the surface this film seems sloppy, full of absurd humor, and dark comedy, but Harley Quinn’s character really becomes more alive and is given room to develop again in this film while the audience is introduced to it. other female characters. The duration of 109 minutes was really used by Cathy Yan to explore the character of Harley Quinn from aspects that did not appear before in Suicide Squad. The fun and playful tone of this film is unfortunately not matched by the plot in this film which is simple and predictable. This situation is one of the contributors to the problem of this film. For audiences who like superhero/antihero stories, they may have to lower their expectations when watching this film. This film is suitable as a release from boredom, just enjoy the story because we don’t need to think much.
The antagonist characters in this film ranging from thugs to snappers (Roman and Victor) appear “cartoonish” with violent scenes wrapped in dark comedy to reduce audience tension and stay on the path of ‘fun and playful’ but this does not work for all movie scene. Ewan McGregor as a talented actor is less optimized as a Black Mask character and seems trapped in playing the stereotype of a crazy mafia boss. Another element that needs to be criticized is the wardrobe selection that is less painstaking and appropriate for the personification of the Black Canary and Huntress characters. Harley Quinn’s costume does match her colorful, cheerful, and sloppy character, but when compared to other characters, the DC characters are quite sparse when they should all be made more ‘standout’.
It can be seen that Cathy Yan and Christina Hodson try to present feminist issues in this film by presenting a story that focuses on female characters who experience injustice and oppression in a relaxed and lighthearted style. How a person tries to escape judgment from the people around him and become independent is illustrated by the character of Harley Quinn, who in the story tries to prove that she is not a woman who can only take refuge behind the power of a man (Joker). Empowerment of women is shown through the characters of Black Canary and Renee Montoya, female police officers who experience conflict with their superiors in their work environment until they are finally able to take a firm stand to end the conflict. The unique and unusual style of storytelling is utilized by Cathy Yan, which is also his major debut in directing feature films, to give this film a unique and fresh characteristic, but the public’s assessment may be divided from satisfied to average. The message in the film Birds of Prey will relate to certain groups but not to other groups, to complete curiosity, there is nothing wrong with watching this film in theaters.