12. A film released in 2020: Birds of Prey (2020)
List Progress: 2/12 (+1)
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a superhero movie in theaters. I know I’m nowhere near alone in feeling numbed out by the constantly-released Marvel films and increasingly cookie-cutter plots and characters. But Birds of Prey caught my eye for one simple reason: it looked like it was intended to be enjoyable. Not ground-breaking, not full of twists and turns, not gut-wrenching, but fun. I did not see 2016’s Suicide Squad, which debuted Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but Birds of Prey gives you all you need to know about this interpretation and plunges you into a wild ride built on, but not dependant on, cultural familiarity with the Joker and the Batman mythos. It’s fun, and that’s what I went in looking for.
After making a public spectacle of her separation from the Joker, Harley finds herself the target of everyone who has a grudge against her and is no longer afraid of her connections. This creates a quick and concise way to keep the energy high, as there is always some new enemy with some new reason for revenge. Given the frenetic energy of the character, she needs a plot to match her, and this serves its purpose well.Ewan McGregor as the villain Black Mask has just enough nuance and threat to stand out, but the other titular Birds of Prey (Renee Montoya, Huntress, and Black Canary) stand out as a very charming core team.
I don’t know how much replay value they have going forward, as I could see the Harley character wearing out her welcome for some audiences, but I really loved her. She’s not a role-model, she’s not a perfect female character, she has style but is still sexed up, but goddamit, she’s fun and Margot Robbie is having fun playing her. At the end of the day, that’s what Birds of Prey is good for and that’s why I had a great time.
Would I Recommend It: Yes.