Birds of Prey Critical Reception and Rotten Tomatoes Thread

Discussion in 'Birds of Prey' started by TheGuy, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. TheGuy Dwelling under the Batcave

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    The first review is in, apparently.

    How the R-rated, women-powered 'Birds of Prey' flips the bird — and the script — in high-flying style

    How the R-rated, women-powered Birds of Prey flips the bird — and the script — in high-flying style
    A newly single Harley Quinn gets herself a girl gang in the 'Suicide Squad' spin-off.

    During one of Birds of Prey’s fight sequences, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) identifies a teammate’s vulnerability and provides a critical assist — by lending her a hair tie.

    This small act of sisterhood is as familiar in an everyday context as it is surprising in the DC Extended Universe. It’s one of the many ways that Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) differs from its superhero movie forebears: It not only stars women, it was made by them, too. “There’s more women in front [of] and behind the camera than any movie I’d worked on, which is pretty incredible,” says Robbie, who also produced the film. “It was partly a conscious decision, but it also always felt like the organic, right choice to make.”

    Director Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs) subverts expectations for a superhero flick, in part by creating “a more grounded, tactile quality” to her movie in response “to other films in the genre, where it can get very slick.” The story, too, isn’t a lofty battle between good and evil, but based in down-and-dirty human feeling. “Harley’s never just saving the world for no reason,” says screenwriter Christina Hodson. “There’s always something complicated and messy and sticky and character-driven behind it.”

    The messiest — and most universal — of emotions kick off this new chapter: A breakup. Harley’s split from Joker (played by Jared Leto in the DCEU, where he was last seen in 2016’s Suicide Squad) leaves her heartbroken and wondering who she is without him. “I think all of us, in relationships, sometimes mute certain pieces of ourselves,” Hodson says. Post-breakup, “it’s Harley Quinn in her full glory.”

    After a very public, symbolic severing of her emotional ties to Mr. J (hint: It involves a giant explosion), Harley becomes a target for all the Gotham baddies who had left her alone under his protection. Among them is sadistic crime lord Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), who demands, as reparations for his many grievances, that she bring him teenager Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a thief who picked the wrong pocket. Meanwhile, nightclub singer Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), disgruntled cop Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and mysterious vigilante Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) each have their own beef with Black Mask. When all four women’s paths cross, they join forces to protect Cassandra from him.

    This new girl gang is no “perfect, elite sorority” of powerful heroines, says Yan, who looked to the “motley crew of women” from Bridesmaids as a reference. “They’re still aspirational and cool, [but] the characters were drawn to be flawed women,” she says of the Birds. Nothing embodies that balance of relatable and ambitious, or the film’s approach of being both grounded and heightened, so well as the costumes from designer Erin Benach, who pointedly created the wardrobe from a first-person female perspective: “In my dreamiest of dreams, what would I want me and a gang of girlfriends to wear to kick butt?”

    With that emphasis on personal taste, joy, and comfort, Benach mashed up street style, high fashion, and — of course — the DC comics in dressing the Birds. “I had never seen that before, that level of understanding of the fashion zeitgeist in a superhero film,” says Yan. “We thought that was a really interesting way to speak to women without being overt. Just saying, ‘We got you,’ you know?”

    One of the most showstopping pieces is a dress of Black Canary’s, made from a thick mesh fabric in a nod to the character’s trademark fishnets. “I literally designed it on Jurnee,” Benach says. “It was one of those organic moments. Yan cites Harley’s high-waisted denim cutoffs, which took the place of notoriously less-wearable booty shorts, as a piece that “can speak to women right now.”

    In a very telling move, Harley throws away her “J” pendant and wears an edgy, chunky collection of chains throughout the film (fans can even score pieces of Harley’s new hardware from Benach’s jewelry line, Billie Valentine). The designer embraced the character’s “punk-rock anarchy sort of vibe” as well as her DIY ethos, like with a voluminous jacket made partially from strips of caution tape. “She might have taken caution tape away from some sort of crime scene, chopped it up herself, and made this,” Benach says.

    With Harley’s expressive wardrobe and idiosyncratic narration, Birds of Prey makes the historically hypersexualized, newly liberated character its clear subject, not object. “We wanted people to get a taste of what life could be like when you see it from Harley’s point of view,” Robbie says. “It’s just this bright, poppy, heightened, fantastical world.” Her distinctive perspective brings not only rainbow confetti and singsong speech, however, but also an R-rating’s worth of madcap violence.

    “She’s very feminine in a very superficial way…At the same time, she’s such a badass,” Yan says. “I liked that tension of it. It was exhilarating to create an unfiltered version of Harley Quinn.” Though lacking a filter, she does have a moral compass, one admittedly as off-kilter as the rest of her worldview. In one scene, as she storms a building to capture Cassandra, she uses only non- fatal weapons (e.g., beanbag gun, glitter bombs) to blast everyone in her way; throughout the film, the truly disturbing, needlessly cruel acts of violence are left to the (male) villains.

    But don’t think for a minute that Harley’s gone soft — our pigtailed antiheroine still serves plenty of bone-crunching hits with girlish glee. “I think sometimes we equate femininity with being polite,” Yan observes, “but that’s not the same thing.” You can bet your last hair tie.
     
  2. brandeezy89 Registered

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    That's not a review, it seems like a set visit. Press screenings take place tomorrow and throughout the weekend.
     
  3. pixen Registered

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    Oh please let this be well received. I want it to do well...

    When is the embargo lifting on the reviews?
     
    #3 pixen, Jan 24, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  4. psylockolussus Spice Mutant

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    Its probably going to get a rotten consensus but I'd like to be wrong.
     
    Grimmijaggers likes this.
  5. pixen Registered

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    Let’s not assume the worst...
     
  6. Blackman C'mon Son

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    IF I had to put money down, it'll get a fresh rating
     
  7. Fincher Inner Circle

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    I'll say 72%.
     
    Blackman likes this.
  8. Johnny Frost Registered

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    RT score in the 60s is my prediction
     
  9. hellblazer103 Nasty Piece of Work

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    That's pretty generous :o
     
  10. Blackman C'mon Son

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    I really think a lot of critics will give it points for being "weird" and "kooky"
    I agree with Fincher at 72. But I can see it getting into the mid 80s
     
  11. Micromind New World New Rules

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  12. Blackman C'mon Son

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  13. kguillou Registered

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    I predict 60’s...Aquaman like score. Fresh but a little divisive with some not really jiving with the tone and vibe of it.
     
  14. Iceman Daffy Duck Vs The Joker

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    Sounds reasonable. I can't imagine it not being divisive in any way at all.
     
  15. Micromind New World New Rules

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    It's R rated movie inspired by Tarantino movies, what do people expect while going in ? If they have totally different expectations, then it's possible that they might be shocked, however it would be odd for a professional reviewer to go into such a movie screening expecting a fantasy-feel good film without any violence.
     
  16. Gothamsknight Registered

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    I really hope this does well. I feel like this film has been unfairly judged before it's even out.
     
  17. Zarex Registered

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    Swap out an icky romance for a trio of Helicarriers and it pretty much is.
     
    #17 Zarex, Jan 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
    Schlosser85 likes this.
  18. kguillou Registered

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    its not so much that, the R rating and violence is not what i think will be off putting to critics. Quite frankly i think it will be Robie’s Harley. I think the movie is going to live and die with how Robie plays this weird, quirky character and how she carries the film. She was really good as a supporting player in SS but her front and center in this very quirky, stylized film...idk it could be a coin toss.
     
  19. Schlosser85 Watchful Protector

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    You've even got Robert Redford. Albeit in Winter Soldier he's switched around as the kind of character who'd have been the villain in Three Days of the Condor.
     
    Zarex likes this.
  20. Blackman C'mon Son

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    Not really. No.

    Other than "What if theres a CIA within the CIA/What if there's an evil org growing inside of SHIELD" they aren't the same at all
     
    #20 Blackman, Jan 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  21. Zarex Registered

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    TDOTC is a classic that "mostly" holds up - the aforementioned "romance" does not - but TWS is a better film in most aspects. Better characters, more interesting and realistic relationships among said characters, vastly improved action sequences (it peters out with the Helicarrier software swap.....But before then!!!!!), cooler costumes and Georges St. Pierre/Batroc.

    And on that note, I am looking forward to a Tarantino-esque Birds of Prey!
     
  22. emc5466 Registered

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    Review embargo lifts the day before release.
     
  23. Blackman C'mon Son

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    I never said anything about the quality of either movie so I don't know why quote me in this.

    But I maintain that critics will like BoP
     
  24. Blackman C'mon Son

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    Eh I think that's fine. After how it worked for DC all those other times, might as well play it close to the chest
     
    Limonade likes this.
  25. Zarex Registered

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    It makes sense if there are strong similarities like in the Redford spy flicks. And anyhoo, the comparison came from an excited fan. It's not like WB is pumping this narrative.
     

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