The Margot Robbie-led Birds of Prey movie hits theatres on Friday, and although many doubted the film initially, early reviews suggest the stand-alone DC movie is much better than expected. With that in mind, we thought we’d take some time to collect a few spoiler-free excerpts from a handful of critics we respect to give you an idea about what people are saying.
Ian Fraser of Empire wrote:
At the behest of star and producer Margot Robbie, the working title for (deep breath) Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) was ‘Fox Force Five’. For the uninitiated, ‘Fox Force Five’ is Mia Wallace’s (Uma Thurman) never-aired TV pilot in Pulp Fiction concerning five female secret agents each with a distinct identity and skill – a knife thrower, a kung fu master, a demolition expert and a French girl whose “speciality was sex”. It’s a particularly apt part-time alias for Robbie’s passion project, the first big-screen outing for DC’s all-women superhero squad. Because Birds Of Prey not only shares the DNA of a girl gang who can kick your sorry ass – Cathy Yan’s film also boasts some of the subversive and rockabilly spirit of QT’s ’94 classic. It doesn’t all work, but it’s a gaudy, muddled, mostly entertaining glitter-grenade celebration of just how women can fuck shit up.
CBR’s Brandon Zachary wrote:
Each piece of the filmmaking process comes together and gels incredibly well in this movie, leading to an effective and effortlessly enjoyable film. Each member of the titular Birds of Prey is looking for something they need, and each of them finds surprising but believable depths in themselves during their missions. None of this feels forced or artificial, either. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is a shot of adrenaline right into the heart of the DCEU, giving it a sense of style, emotion and color that feels wholly unique, but still fits within this version of the DC Universe.
Molly Freeman of Screenrant wrote:
Birds of Prey is a true ensemble in the sense that it doesn’t work because one person or one part is excellent, but because they all are. In addition to Hodson’s script, what truly elevates Birds of Prey is Cathy Yan’s directing and vision for the film, which is realized in the action, costumes and music. The fighting sequences are absolutely brutal and choreographed in a way to showcase the characters’ respective abilities. Harley’s gymnast moves make a return, and when she gets her hands on a bat, the Cupid of Crime really lets loose – and it’ll leave audiences breathless with exhilaration.
Alson Duralde of The Wrap wrote:
Yan keeps some tricky plates spinning: With the anarchic Quinn on the loose in a somewhat straightforward crime piece, “Birds of Prey” is required to jump from serious to silly and back again at a moment’s notice, and the director always has a firm grasp on the material. As for her female gaze, it’s most apparent when Roman humiliates a female guest at his nightclub; the camera pulls back discreetly, refusing to be his accomplice. (Here, the drooling close-ups are reserved for breakfast treats.) When it comes to the film’s titular wonder women, however, we are firmly drawn in as they fight for their lives and for their own agency. And if we don’t get quite enough insight into Renee or Dinah or Cassandra, hey, that’s what sequels are for, and “Birds of Prey” left me wanting one, which is about the most anyone can hope for in a big-screen comics adaptation.
/Film’s Hoai-Tran Bui wrote:
Birds of Prey certainly errs on the side of style over substance – if you dig too far into its flashy surface, you may not find much underneath. It’s not saying anything deep or groundbreaking about the female experience or the nature of revenge. Birds of Prey is reveling in being as gonzo and stylish as it can be. But when the fights are this thrilling and the humor this absurd, whatever’s underneath the surface doesn’t matter all that much.
EW’s Leah Greenblatt wrote:
It’s still mostly up to Robbie, though, to carry the story, and she does it with a giddy mix of mad-dog ruthlessness and girlish glee; a kiss blown with a brass-knuckled fist. Her Harley isn’t looking to be redeemed, but beneath all the red-lipped nihilism, she doesn’t want to be alone, either – even if her closest companions are the Taiwanese takeout guy down the street and a pet hyena named Bruce. Does the movie’s pop-feminist message need to be as consistently, cartoonishly violent as it is? Almost definitely not. But in a world gone mad, the catharsis of Prey’s twisted sisterhood doesn’t just read as pandemonium for its own sake; it’s actually pretty damn sweet.
We can’t wait to see the film and have believed since day one that Margot Robbie and Ewan McGregor to steal the show, but as we learned above, it would appear the entire cast delivers a strong performance, which only makes us that much more excited to see the film.
Are you planning to watch Birds of Prey in theatres this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.