How Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey could have been so much better.

My wife and I went to see Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey for Valentines day. And yes, it was at least 50% her idea. The movie wasn’t bad, and had several good moments, but it could have been so much better.

My wife appreciated “the girls” kicking a lot of male ass, but several of the fight scenes went on for too long with too much gratuitous gruesome violence. (Maybe not as bad as the Myth Busters diving suit episode, but did Harley Quinn really need to break a bad guy’s leg in three different places with three different hits?) The bad guys were sick and gruesome as well, which served as their only character development and justification for getting their asses kicked.

The best parts of the movie—where they didn’t take themselves too seriously and embraced the camp without actually putting “Bam” and “Pow!” on-screen — almost rose to the level of Tim Burton’s Batman. Quirks like the ode to the breakfast sandwich,  stealing a mini-van as a getaway vehicle, Huntress being socially awkward, or one-liners such as “Hair-band?” shone like lighthouses in the fog, indicating where the movie could have gotten things so much better. Some of the action shots were amazing: Glitter Bomb bean-bag riot gun attack on the police station, baseball bat floor bounce, the fun-house fight scene, and the roller skate car chase. But many of them wore out their welcome and went on too long and over the top with violence.

I understand that the source material is dark, gritty and violent, but really, who has actually read those comics? Forget the canon, and pander to the crowds. Make it fun and campy, go for a PG-13 rating, and develop the other characters a bit more. Margot Robbie does a great job with Harley Quinn, but the other actresses didn’t have enough to work with.  As my wife said, “It’s no Wonder Woman”.

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