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Harley Quinn Birds of Prey review

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Harley Quinn birds of prey
Warner Brothers / DC
R                  109 min
Okay, being an old DC Comics fan I kind of knew Harley Quinn existed but had to look where she came from. And when.  Apparently, she first shows up in the Batman animated series in 1992, so just a little under 30 years which, I guess, is long enough to be a thing. We know, at least from her first feature film, that she was an intelligent woman who suffered some pretty rough times in childhood, went to college got a degree in psychiatry and met the Joker, and fell in love with him, as his therapist. Frankly it’s hard for me to wrap my head around anyone who is played The Joker having a girlfriend but crazy is crazy I suppose. Anyway, she’s now a villainesse (if that’s even a word) so the producers needed to find a way to make her charismatic enough to star in her own series. That works to a degree, she’s attractive even hot in a lunatic kind of way but more importantly she never kills anybody the doesn’t deserve killing. Bad guys, on the other hand, are a different story. As the girlfriend of one of the most feared criminals in Gotham City, the Jokers girlfriend she was given a pretty wide berth for her looney behavior but this film begins after she’s broken up with him and there are a lot of folks she’s pissed off who are now free to take revenge. 
Okay since the title of this film is HARLEY QUINN BIRDS OF PREY, we know that there are a few other women on various sides of the law. A torch singer turned gun moll called Black Canary (Jurnee Smollette-Bell sister of the infamous Jussie) who happens to have a superpower very similar to the hippo hurricane holler,(if anyone is old enough to remember Peter Potamus) an underage street thief (Ella Jay Basco) who has unwittingly stolen a very important diamond from some bad guys, and a good cop (Rosie Perez)  who has been disrespected by some members of the force. Their nemesis here is notorious mob boss (Ewan McGregor) 
So, without telling any more of the plot what did I like? I think Harley is an engaging character, the most charismatic of these ladies. I like the direction DC has gone; rather than two and a half hours of noise and smashing buildings on each other’s heads in the new Marvel tradition, they have centered on the villains. The villains and anti-heroes are always more interesting and more fun. Unfortunately, at least in this outing, Ms. Quinn doesn’t rise to the insanity level of the Joker or the rough humor of Deadpool. And while McGregor’s mafia boss / Black Mask and his henchmen on the antagonist scale, are more A-holes than terrifying. 
Also, while many of the stunts are impressive the actual fight scenes fall short due to one of the age-old film rules, I e “the bad guys must attack one at a time” giving it the feel of the old Batman TV series.  Actually, Margot Robbie the star of the film is also the producer so I don’t have much doubt the series will continue. They already have an R rating so it will be interesting to see which direction they go for the next outing. 

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