Is ‘Birds of Prey’ an Underrated Film… or Did It Just Suck?

Screen Rant’s taken to sugarcoating last year’s abortive Birds of Prey film, starting with its exact reception:


Birds of Prey, or the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, directed by Cathy Yan, was a modest box office and critical success. Based on Birds of Prey comics, it starred Margot Robie as Harley Quinn, Rosie Perez as Rene Montoya, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the Huntress. The Huntress is Helena Bertenelli, the daughter of a notorious mob boss, who, when her family was ruthlessly gunned down, swore vengeance and became the vigilante known as the Huntress. The film featured a darkly comic tone, and part of it was a running gimmick involving the Huntress’ code name, and it finally comes to the DC Universe in Detective Comics #1035.


The film also featured quite a bit of alarming violence, while sex appeal by contrast is considered bad. I notice no box office sale figures are cited here, for a movie that took in little financially. That’s no better than comicdom’s news coverage omitting the same. Now about that joke, if it matters:


The second story, titled “Mary Knox,” written by Mariko Tamaki, with art by Clayton Henry, colors by Jordie Bellaire and letterer Aditya Bidikar, sees the Huntress attempting to foil a mugging. As she swings into action, the mugger calls her that “Arrow #*@$%” to which she replies, “It’s Huntress!” She is able to foil the mugging attempt and becomes friends with the woman she saves. Fans who saw Birds of Prey may recognize this as a shout-out to a running joke involving the Huntress throughout the movie. Set at the beginning of her crime-fighting career, she finds herself quickly caught up with Harley and the other Birds of Prey, including Black Canary and Cassandra Cain. Her codename has not been revealed to the public at large; when she attacks her victims, they call her a variety of names, including a variation on what the mugger this issue called her. Every time, she would become frustrated and reply “It’s Huntress.”


Sounds pretty stupid to me, honestly. It only compounds the harm done to the Huntress over the past decade, along with many other DC cast members. At the end of the article:


Birds of Prey is an underrated movie in the DC Extended Universe, and now the Huntress’ best gimmick from that film comes to the comics in Detective Comics #1035, on sale now in print and digital.


Nope, it’s merely a bad movie that didn’t make much money at all, because nobody cared about a film whose makers believe sex appeal is bad and should be watered down, while jarring violence by sharp contrast is entirely allowed. Did I ever mention how irritating I find Margot Robbie’s facial expressions as Harley Quinn? This isn’t going to change my perception of what’s become a dumbed down take on a series originally begun by Chuck Dixon, for which he receives almost no credit or thanks from the filmmakers.



Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1