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Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

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Since its inception, the DC Extended Universe has had recurring problems, largely relating to excess. Overly complex narratives, over-stylised but unimaginative depiction of abilities and drawn out set pieces have resulted in bloated and sometimes inelegant pieces like Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Aquaman. Perhaps appropriately, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn emancipates itself from the franchise’s conventions by having fun with being unconventional. Director Cathy Yan delivers a film that is knowingly witty and embraces the scrappy attitude of its characters. The titular figures of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Helena Bertinelli (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett) and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) do not fit any easy definition of superhero or even supervillain, with little regard for any higher purpose, largely self-centred and yet, when push comes to shove, able to bring their significant talents together for some pretty impressive work. For these talented but unappreciated and largely underestimated ladies to fight against crime boss Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) gives the film’s gender (not to mention racial) politics a progressive slant, and BOPATFEOOHQ integrates this opposition smoothly into its overall milieu, delivering a hugely enjoyable crime action flick of smack ‘em whack ‘em delights.


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