Harley Quinn flys high in action-packed ‘Birds of Prey’

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PHOTO FROM OFFICIAL BIRDS OF PREY TRAILER

Harley Quinn celebrates her split from Joker until Gotham's baddies begin hunting her down to settle their scores.

Brian Connors, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Harley Quinn breaks up with the Joker and breaks out onto the big screen in her first solo-outing, “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.” The feature film is fun, feminist and fantabulous from beginning to end. It began playing in theatres on Feb. 7.

Fresh off her breakup with the Clown Prince of Crime, the feisty DC villainess is living large and partying hard in Gotham City. The fun comes to an end when word gets around that she is no longer under the protection of Gotham’s most feared villain. Suddenly, Harley Quinn finds herself victim to several unsettled vendettas.

Hoping to get the target off her back, Harley strikes a deal with club owner and crime lord Roman Sionis to retrieve a valuable diamond from a local pickpocket, Cassandra Cain. However, the mission gets messy when Harley Quinn is forced to fight a few different groups also seeking the diamond. A mysterious crossbow killer, a detective looking for answers and an unlikely ally contribute to putting a wrench in a seemingly easy way to save her own skin.

“Harley Quinnn: Birds of Prey” is a breath of fresh air from start to finish. It is fun and zany but also dark and moody. It showcases the wacky adventure of a wacky character without making the finishing product appear cheap or unimportant.

Comic book movies have the tendency to lean either too comedic or too serious. If the movie is too focused on cracking jokes, fans miss the intensity of the action or feel the stakes are too low. If the movie is too dark and serious, it loses the fun and levity of the genre. “Birds of Prey” captures the perfect medium.

The film also perfects telling a feminist story without “shoving it in your face” as so many XY chromosomed haters often complain. There are nods to the double standards put on women, but the movie earns its feminist stripes by simply showcasing five fierce, bad-ass characters doing bad-ass things.

The film’s five female leads are each given some sort of complexity and are uniquely memorable. Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Black Canary and Rosie Perez’s Renee Montoya are awesome characters. Smollett-Bell’s performance exudes coolness with shimmers of vulnerability and heart peaking threw. Black Canary effortlessly fighting off a foe in tight gold pants was so badass and super sexy.

The fighting throughout the movie was amazingly choreographed and insanely exciting. Ditching tired backdrops, the movie’s big fight scenes take place in visually fun and appealing locations – an abandoned fun house and a soaking wet cell block to name a few.

The action was mostly hand-to-hand combat which proved much more exciting than guns and laser beams. Limbs were snapping in directions I thought impossible! Harley Quinn’s knack for using unorthodox weapons such as baseball bats and exploding, glittery beanbags provide the fight scenes even more delight!

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the comedic dark horse as the stone cold Huntress and Ella Jay Basco rounds out the leading ladies with an adorable performance as Cassandra Cain.

“Birds of Prey” celebrates women by letting them have their own fun, campy, wickedly cool superhero flick and allowing them to prove that their adventures are just as exciting as the boys. The script is hilarious, the action is mesmerizing and the soundtrack is straight fire. It is an enjoyable theatrical experience and I encourage everyone to check it out.