The new DC movie Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (yes, that is the actual subtitle) just had a new trailer released, and there is so much to say about it.
Not only does this movie take from relatively obscure source material, but the trailer itself left so much open for interpretation. And, of course, it was jam packed with tons of hidden details and references to DC comics and movies. So why don’t we quickly go through some main points that just have to be gone over, and maybe answer some questions along the way…
What is Birds of Prey?
Birds of Prey is based on a DC comic series of the same name which centers around an all female superhero group. The movie’s group will feature a more “anti-hero” line-up including the insane Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), glass-shattering singer Black Canary (Jurnee Smolllett-Bell), crossbow wielding vigilante Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and the young girl Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). The villain in this movie is crime lord Black Mask (played by Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor) backed up by his right hand man, Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina). The movie is being directed by Cathy Yan and written by Bumblebee screenwriter Christina Hodson.
What do we know about the plot?
Birds of Prey will mainly center around Harley Quinn–after she quote “broke up” with the Joker–as she attempts to help the young Cassandra Cain escape from Black Mask and his devious crime organization.
Theorists have speculated that Harley Quinn might be a sort of “unreliable narrator”, citing a particular moment in the trailer when Harley imagines herself in a fantasy that pays homage to Marilyn Monroe’s performance of “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
What movies should I watch before I see this one?
While watching the entire DC Expanded Universe is most likely not necessary (or fun), Suicide Sqaud (2016) plotpoints and characters are brought up in the trailer so it’d probably be a good idea to give it a watch (or rewatch). This movie is mostly being labeled as a Harley Quinn spin-off from Suicide Squad and will continue her story arch that started in the film. This movie will, however, not tie into the new 2019 Joker movie which takes place in its own universe.
What’s with the crazy long subtitle?
Screenwriter Christina Hodson explained in an interview that the subtitle was originally a placeholder title but the name stuck. Hodson explains “when we were talking about a title and brainstorming, we all kept drifting back to that one”. The subtitle most likely refers to Harley carving out her own path and becoming her own type of villain instead of blindly following The Joker’s wishes.
What are some things to note from the trailer?
First off, the music in the trailer is Edith Piaf’s “Hymne à l’amour” which Piaf recorded for her lover Marcel Cerdan after he passed away in a plane crash. The music reflects Harley Quinn’s love for The Joker who similarly was a part of a helicopter crash in Suicide Squad only to later free Harley from prison at the end of the movie.
Another thing to note from the trailer is the vivid colors director Cathy Yan chose to use. One shot in particular shows Harley and Cassadra walking down a street reflecting reddish pink light with blue steam hovering above. These colors reflect Harley’s two-toned ponytails and perhaps her two-toned, unstable personality.
Also in the trailer are the first big-screen appearances of Harley Quinn’s hyenas, Bud and Lou.
What’s up with Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask?
Black Mask, despite his name, is not wearing a black mask in the trailer as he does in the comics. His partner-in-crime Victor Zsasz is similarly portrayed differently than his comic book counterpart. This could be DC’s way of grounding their characters more in reality. However, mask imagery is repeatedly shown in the trailer. McGregor’s portrayal of the character will still maintain Mask’s crime-lord background and hints of insanity.
What can I expect from this movie?
Explosions, violence, and dark humor. This movie is rated R meaning Harley Quinn will be able to cuss all she wants. That also means R-rated violence and gruesome fight scenes. The trailer also had a contrasting dark/light tone to it (similar to Suicide Squad). All and all, look forward to colorful fight scenes and some (literally) insane characters!