At its heart, Birds of Prey is a love story between a girl and her egg sandwich. With an almost all-female creative team to help make one fantabulous emancipation from the doldrums of the past few bat-related DC films, it’s also just a great distraction for these troubling times.
Of course, it’s only slightly bat-related. The Dark Knight — whichever version he may be — gets mentioned twice, and the Joker a few more times. But neither actually make an appearance, because it’s simply not their story. If you didn’t want to catch this in the theaters, then I’ll argue it’s simply not your story, either, but you’re missing out.
On second viewing through the digital release, Cathy Yan’s direction and Christina Hodson’s script only feel sharper. (Hodson has both The Flash and Batgirl screenplays lined up — so please, Warner Bros, go with them.) In several of the included extras, it’s clear that the way Yan, Hodson, and producer/star Margot Robbie built upon each other’s ideas is the way you get this kind of energy. That extends to Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis/Black Mask, given his own featurette to showcase how much he connected with the part and improvise a few memorable moments.
The extras quietly point out something else — there’s no behind-the-scenes drama or diva behavior. Robbie wanted to assemble a girl gang movie to follow Suicide Squad, and the cast came together as a true ensemble. Hodson balanced the script to give every one of the Birds of Prey fair time. Harley Quinn may narrate, but everybody’s memorable.
It’s also amazing how many stunts Robbie did herself. Athletic, balletic, and choreographed to match the character, Robbie’s work gives Tom Cruise a run for the money without calling so much attention to itself.
The only disappointing extra is the obligatory gag reel, but they tend to have become that. Just fast-paced quick flubs reminding us that yes, they had a good time making the film. I am glad of that, especially because alongside Shazam!, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (I can only type that full title once per article) shared that good time with the audience.
Normally I wait for blu-ray, but the digital download contains all the extras I would want. This movie would have been worth rewatching in theaters, and will get more than a few views at home. Available through the usual outlets, make time for Birds of Prey.