Instead of comparing Margot Robbie to any past, characteristic version of a woman on the verge of emancipation, we should instead be enamored and left stupefied over the fantabulousness created by a fully fronted female heroine cast (as well as the incredible direction of Cathy Yan).
One of the promotion posters for the film depicts the cast in a homage to the painting The Birth of Venus; perhaps this is the one insight as to exactly who Harley Quinn has been and will become. She is now on her own; she is no longer associated with The Joker, a long-time, powerful figure encompassed in Gotham villainy.
It’s absolutely true, that yes, Harley Quinn was the sun to the shadow of a cast in Suicide Squad (apologies to Will Smith and Co.) however, the benefit of showcasing such a dynamic and diverse story in 2020 helps to bring to light a chic, new look at the comic-influenced genre of film.
The best part about Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is that the glittering reflection of LGBTQ characters is ever-present. It’s in the art direction, and it’s most definitely in the costume design of each character. There’s a special detail to Ewan McGregor (of most recent Shining sequel notoriety) and Chris Messina (best known for his role in Six Feet Under as well as Mindy Kaling’s lover in The Mindy Project).
They share this particularly fun and queer dynamic; perhaps it’s a delineation or tribute to the comics, or maybe it’s some fun, unintentional sparkle that adds another beautiful facet of intrigue. They look good doing such nefarious acts; it’s almost a crime to look so good committing crime after crime.
The sheer guts it must take to ensure the successful manifestation of the comic-to-live-action process must go through its verification, and in regard to the queer imitation, Birds of Prey keeps the best of Harley Quinn and associates. There is no doubt how much past LGBTQ representation in film and TV (most recently the phenomenal return of The L Word: Generation Q) has influenced how to keep characters in media genuine and authentic in 2020.
A standout character is in Mary Elizabeth Winstead (comic credit: Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World) who is so very necessary in the emancipation narrative. She is granted the respect and admiration of a backstory and compelling scene after scene of introspection. It’s a gift to the LGBTQ audience, a new insight toward the legacy that Birds of Prey intends to project.
This film is made to make you laugh as much as it’s made to entertain. Acting as an introduction to a new group of characters that help Quinn invigorate everything that we love about Gotham, it also helps propel the narrative of the iconic character. The city is made to burn bright and explode in every delicious and savory gimmick possible; you will walk away from Birds of Prey celebrating the fantabulous presence of queer narratives, no matter how comic-al.