Warner Bros. has screened its latest DC Comics tentpole “Birds of Prey” for press, and the first wave of reactions on social media from film critics and journalists are universally strong. “Birds of Prey” is directed by Cathy Yan, making her studio debut after the indie drama “Dead Pigs,” and finds Margot Robbie reprising her role of Harley Quinn following David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad.” In the upcoming comic book action comedy, Harley is newly single from Joker and teams up with fellow heroes Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and Renee Montoya (Rose Perez) to protect young Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) from the villainous Black Mash (Ewan McGregor) and his henchman after she steals his precious diamond.
“‘Birds of Prey’ is delightfully unassuming and unconcerned with its place in a larger context. It’s a bonkers, bananas crime comedy and a genuine party movie,” writes Forbes’ Scott Mendelson about the film. LA Times critic Katie Walsh adds, “The film is a totally campy and brutal carnival ride; a colorful, chaotic and cheeky blast.”
Many of the “Birds of Prey” first reactions compare the movie to hit action films “John Wick” and “Deadpool,” the latter of which similarly earned an R rating for over-the-top violence and dirty language. The comparisons to “John Wick” make sense as it was reported last summer that “John Wick” director Chad Stahelski was overseeing some “Birds of Prey” reshoots to help make the action scenes pop more. Director Cathy Yan said in December that some of her calling cards of inspiration for the film were Quentin Tarantino and Akira Kurosawa.
“The way that I sort of talked about the structure of the film is a bit like ‘Pulp Fiction’ meets ‘Rashomon.’ So it’s an unconventional structure,” Yan told /Film. “For me, there’s a lot of my favorite filmmakers that have influences on this film, so like Tarantino, obviously. ‘The Professional’ for sure, especially the relationship between Harley and Cass. We actually have a few like, oh I guess I would say, like odes to certain films in the movie. Watch out for that.”
Cathy Yan DID THAT and she did it good.
— Katie Walsh (@katiewalshstx) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is delightfully unassuming and unconcerned with its place in a larger context. It’s a bonkers bananas crime comedy and a genuine party movie. Everyone is having a blast but Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Huntress like a supporting character from THE TICK. It rocks. pic.twitter.com/7MRMKkZ0oi
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is like if John Wick were run through a crazy funhouse filter and stuffed full of glitter and f-bombs. It’s everything you could ever want from #HarleyQuinn and her badass girl gang. Into this movie completely. 🤘🏻 pic.twitter.com/Y2DZgPYN2Y
— Alisha Grauso (@AlishaGrauso) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is so up my street it’s RIDICULOUS – fashionable, weirdo ladies breaking men’s shins & aggressively complimenting each other!! Yes please and thank you!!!
— Clarisse Loughrey (@clarisselou) January 29, 2020
#BirdsOfPrey has terrific action, humor & some of the more memorable characters we’ve seen in a DC movie, but the biggest highlight is Margot Robbie. She is fantabulous as Harley, while also proving that sometimes our most valued relationships are the ones we have w/ good food pic.twitter.com/EDQ3sr5JtL
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) January 29, 2020
If you like your violence often and a lot of dirty language you’re gonna love #BirdsofPrey
It feels very DEADPOOLish in that way, but then add Chris Messina chewing every piece of scenery in sight!! pic.twitter.com/h1pR1jseMa
— Jason Guerrasio (@JasonGuerrasio) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is a riot – oozing with attitude and some of the most inventive, bone-crunching fight sequences in the superhero genre to date. I went in with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but has style to spare.
— Laura Prudom (@LauInLA) January 29, 2020
#BirdsOfPrey: winning characters, above-average action, and a killer soundtrack hampered by uneven tone and pacing. The girls at their best together, and they’re not together enough. Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Huntress is the not-so-secret MVP. 💕
— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) January 29, 2020
Birds of Prey is solid. The unpredictable structure keeps the first half moving and the action boosts the rest. Robbie is excellent, as is McGregor. It’s tamer than expected and the basic story can get lost in the complex setups but it works more often than not. #BirdsofPrey pic.twitter.com/H6TxjiudjI
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is a blast. Stylish, kooky, and gut-bustingly funny, it sings when it lets it’s cast just go ham, especially the gonzo Margot Robbie. Lulls a bit in the middle and is a little on the slight side, but a completely fun watch
— Hoai-Tran Bui (@htranbui) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is a ridiculous and rad superhero film. The fight scenes are phenomenal and the villains are delicious. It shouldn’t have taken this long to get the Birds of Prey on film but it was a lot of fun.
— Jill Pantozzi (@JillPantozzi) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is KILLER. A slow start and awkward plotting doesn’t stop the movie, and these characters, from soaring in the end. Wildly violent, F bombs out the wazoo, and the best bat fight scene since The Raid 2. If Margot Robbie could control this part of the DCEU, she should. pic.twitter.com/bewnj8npaJ
— Eric Francisco (@EricFrancisco24) January 29, 2020
So #BirdsofPrey was an absolute blast. Harley feels exactly like the human Looney Toon she ought to be, Black Mask is a scene stealer; Dinah, Helena, Cass, and Renee all rule. This was everything I want from DC movies and then some.
— Meg Downey (@rustypolished) January 29, 2020