The Birds of Prey movie already looks like a disaster at the box office, and no less eyebrow raising as to where the filmmakers are coming from would have to be the nods to senator Bernie Sanders in the script, as revealed in the Washington Post’s interview with the director:
Who knew that one of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s most famous fans is an anti-status-quo fast talker with a Brooklyn accent?
Turns out, the mallet-wielding character Harley Quinn not only likes to set chemical plants ablaze. She also has felt the “Bern” for Sanders, the Democratic presidential candidate from Vermont.
In DC’s new superhero movie “Birds of Prey,” Harley (played by Margot Robbie) is in the clutches of narcissistic villain Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor). When the quick-witted Harley runs through a laundry list of ways she may have offended the bratty baddie, one of the possible reasons appears graphically on-screen for a split-second: “Voted for Bernie.”
“We just snuck it in there,” “Birds” director Cathy Yan says by phone. “I have to give all the credit to Christina Hodson,” she adds, referring to the British screenwriter (“Unforgettable,” the Transformers franchise film “Bumblebee”) who first showed Yan the script in 2018.
And we’re supposed to find this funny? Nope. Since Quinn’s a villainess though, their whole idea could give the wrong message.
It’s decidedly ridiculous why the filmmakers think Sanders would make a great choice for a nod when he’s failed to gather much influence with the left-wing electorate during the Iowa caucus, and turnout in New Hampshire was lower than 4 years ago. He’s boring, old, and wildy out of touch with middle-America.
John Nolte addressed the film’s failure so far with the following at Breitbart:
So what happened? What went so wrong?
Well, the Birds of Prey trailers were a problem. Style over substance. The entire exercise reeked of having a lot more attitude than wit or plot. There was a sheen of flop sweat all over it, the feeling everyone was trying a little too hard.
Another issue is that a character like Harley Quinn, a nihilist always putting on a flamboyant performance, is perfect for a supporting role, and a lot to take as the lead.
Moreover, as far as those “positive” reviews go, the overall Rotten Tomatoes score looked great… until you read the actual reviews. Most of them are more grudging than glowing. You see, there are two serious problems in the review community today: 1) Too many reviewers kiss studio ass to court favor, and 2) if the movie’s politics are “correct,” if it’s “woke” enough, it’s given a pass.
Anecdotally, let me add this: my Thursday night screening was 95 percent empty, and those who did show up were almost all young men. And I’m talking about young guys who wanted to see a sexy Harley Quinn in short-shorts and a truly edgy R-rated superhero actioner along the lines of Joker, Deadpool, and Logan. What they got instead was an appropriately-attired Harley Quinn and non-stop man-hating; not to mention monotonous action scenes and a plot so muddled it reeked of sweaty and desperate reshoots.
You’re probably wondering why Hollywood keeps doing this… Why do they keep making these woketard flops…
My guess is that at the height of the #MeToo movement, a bunch of these movies were somewhere in the pipeline, and a bunch of dumbass producers confused Twitter and CNN with real life — you know, confused a political movement with a change in thousands of years of human nature. The studios all wanted to jump on the #MeToo bandwagon, and so what we got was a pile of artless, sexless, joyless lectures. Heaven only knows how many more movies were affected.
You also have a case of veteran creations rendered unrecognizable (Black Canary and Huntress), and even economy choices like Cassandra Cain. That’s pretty much what WB’s DC adaptations have come down to. It looks like a sizable majority of women, if that’s who the filmmakers were banking on arriving, had no interest in attending.
Interestingly enough, Gail Simone, despite claiming to like the movie (you probably can’t expect much else from her), reportedly still had a gripe about how the film depicts Cassandra Cain:
I have held back commenting on this, mostly, because I wanted to see for myself. But essentially, this Cassandra Cain is a new character.
I like her, she’s fun to watch, the actress is adorable (Ella Jay Basco) is great in the role. But she bears no resemblance to Cass.
— GAIL SIMONE (@GailSimone) February 7, 2020
But she became so much more. She was also one of the first truly successful solo Asian heroes at either company. Her struggles with speech and reading and socialization were hugely meaningful to so many people. I love Cass dearly, and this is not a Cass I recognize.
— GAIL SIMONE (@GailSimone) February 7, 2020
So that was my only major gripe. I love Cass, I think she’s very special and precious as a character.
However not everyone writes her well and the first TWO times I wrote her, I messed it up completely (bugs me to this day).
Which leads me to my final point…
— GAIL SIMONE (@GailSimone) February 7, 2020
If she loves Cass, I wonder what she thought of that nasty hack job they did on her shortly after the War Games crossover that saw Spoiler/Stephanie Brown tortured with a drill by Black Mask? Something that could make moviegoers feel glad they didn’t go see the BoP film, even though a fictional villain can’t be faulted any more than a fictional hero for a tasteless action in the comics proper. She’s now claiming all citing her take on the film resorted to “clickbait” headlines, even though the ones I’ve read so far make it clear her issue centers on Cass, including Cinema Blend. But, here’s the part in her Facebook followup that’s really bizarre:
For the THREE DAYS SINCE, there have been dozens, I kid you not, dozens, of website articles that ignore MONTHS of me saying I love this film more than life itself, with clickbait headlines like this:
BIRDS OF PREY WRITER ON THE MASSIVE GRIPE WITH THE MOVIE
GAIL SIMONE ON THE SIZABLE GRIPE WITH THE BIRDS OF PREY FILM
I mean, from CBR, Movienews, IMDB, all kinds of websites that should know better.
It is SO COMPLETELY disingenuous and insulting. If they have read a goddamn word I have said about this movie, they would know it has NO bigger supporter and fan than me, but they take the three tweets (out of hundreds) where I said, “Oh, it would have been nice if they had used a different name for this character,” and make it sound like a huge scandal, a completely condemnation of a film I have been DREAMING about since seeing, waiting to see it again.
Wait a minute. If she just saw the film recently, how could she love it ahead of time? Makes no sense to me. Clickbait is a valid issue, but with her politics, I’m not sure she’s fit to whine about it. And Science Fiction did make clear her problem was with one character’s depiction.
As far as the film’s concerned, if it does this badly with its $33 million opening, chances are there won’t be a sequel. In any event, it’s regrettable this had to happen, because it could discourage people from reading the early comics material, no matter how good it was when Chuck Dixon and Jordan Gorfinkel first launched it.
Since we’re still on the subject, a Forbes writer claims the film fails to utilize the “unique appeal” of Harley Quinn:
Margot Robbie was perfectly cast as Harley, but after Jared Leto made a laughing stock out of the Joker, his removal from the franchise severely limited Harley’s story. Harley’s struggle to disconnect herself from a poisonous human being, her battle against her own worst impulses, is what makes her so sympathetic.
Without the presence of her toxic ex, Harley’s complexity is diminished. She is no longer the girl struggling with herself, questioning why she put up with an abusive relationship for so long, and why she feels compelled to return. Instead, she’s a one-dimensional hot mess.
Funnily enough, this is exactly how Harley was conceived, as the sexy crazy girl, introduced as Joker’s lovesick sidekick in Batman: The Animated Series. After proving popular with fans, she stuck around, and subsequently, her personality evolved, flourishing after breaking up with the Joker.
No, I don’t think that’s the problem here. What’s wrong with the picture is that it spotlights, first and foremost, a villainess while the real stars of the show are given second-third billing, and again, rendered unrecognizable for the sake of a PC/SJW quagmire whose very marketing alone deep-sixed it. They threw away golden opportunities to draw inspiration from the stories Dixon conceived for the sake of a cheapskate tale of a young pickpocket who’s gotten into trouble with a villain played by an actor repeatedly touting it all as a feminist film without real substance. Worst – it’s the kind of film built on the premise that sex appeal in itself is bad, but jarring violence is allowed; hence the R-rating.
And now, all those mistakes, along with the stealth politics, have led to a huge misfire that’s unlikely to prompt a sequel in the future, much like the Jonah Hex and Green Lantern films of the past decade never got one. You could argue the Harley “endorsement” of Sanders is actually embarrassing, since she is a villainess, and it makes it look like that’s the kind of people voting for him. Not a good way to craft the movie.
Originally published here.