theshire’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Fantabulous Emancipation of one, Harley Quinn.
To be honest, I have been struggling to put together coherent thoughts and that's why It took me a while to manage to even put words on them. Did I like the movie ? Yeah, I mean yes I did enjoy the movie, my initial out-of-the-theater reaction was that ; it is a very enjoyable flick, I spent a great time , it was fun, it was light that's the word it was just loose.
When I say « loose », I don't necessarily mean it in a demeaning way but more in a neutral way, in this case it's not a bad thing but it's not positive either. We already established that I liked the movie but I didn't love it, I didn't come out of the theater blown away by what I had just watched like the initial Rotten Tomatoes score could have indicated but I didn't come out of the theaters hating the hell out of it like the pro syner and anti sjw brigade did (without even watching the movie for the record). No I was on none of these two extremes because this movie has its good and its bad like a lot of movies actually and that's the only takeaway one can have.
So what did I exactly dislike then ? It's gonna sound crazy and kind of messy but I really sturggled with the characters in this, bar Harley Quinn who is portrayed as beautifully as ever by the one and only Margot Robbie, I have found the character work to be lacking and to my own blunder be the one thing that really kept the storyline to take off.
Was it because the movie title misguided the audience into thinking this would be a Birds of Prey movie when it was in fact in everything but its own title a solo Harley Quinn flick ? Maybe but that doesn't mean the characters present in this couldn't have been fleshed out, still. Despite Black Canary who was in my opinion incredibly well portrayed which helped with the lack of characterization, all the other characters were as a result uninteresting for some and borderline annoying for the others (Cassandra Cain comes to mind, what were they thinking?)
Then, there is also this plot, the plot was simple and pretty basic and honestly it wasn't an issue because a strong character like Harley could hold it together. Despite the script being as basic and frivolous as it is, it didn't bother me all that much either. You know what did ? The pacing actually highlighted these flaws, you kind of struggle to compehend what took so long for the action to kick start. When I am talking about action I am not referring tot the actual action sequences which were undoubtedly the best part of this whole thing.
The movie spends too much time establishing things we already suspected, at one point I wonder why the character of Harley is narrating so much becomes it's quite frankly grating but instantly understand that it's an effective way of setting the scene. So despite the narrating why did it feel like it was draggin for a good hour or so ? Why did we stay in a time loop for over 20 minutes when the narrating could have sufficed ? So many questions....
As far as the antagonists go, caricatural, yes just straight up ludicrous. Do I agree about the movie being anti-men ? Yeah because its fits. This is Harley Quinn's story after she tragically broke up with the Joker. All the men in this story behave outrageously, and even the only one who appears to be decent ends up disappointing us and letting her down. So yes, I think we can conclude that this film portrays men in a rather unfavorable way.
Did that bother me? Not at all. Why? Because it is a purely artistic choice that fits perfectly with the atmosphere that wanted to be set. It makes no sense in my humble opinion to argue about the moral value of a story or a pitch, it's art, it's fiction, it's a creative bubble that is left to the author to describe the world as he sees fit, and in this world, men are dreadful. In any case, all the men who get involved in this part of Harley 's story.
Few were those who stood up to question the veracity of the world in Phillips's recent installment where everyone was portrayed as abominable to marginal people, so I don't see how it should be now? Sometimes a story is just that, a narrative, a painting and the only thing to draw from it is just the image that we wanted to establish.
In the end, Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey is a nice Harley movie where other characters end up getting lost in the tumult of her own emancipation