The DC Extended Universe (DCEU), a superhero film franchise created by DC and Warner Bros. Pictures as a counterpart to the MCU of Disney and Marvel Studios, has had an uneven quality in terms of its constituent films. But they also try to share a commonality with the MCU by adapting superhero stories with varying genres. There are the epic cosmic-level adventures of Superman, Wonder Woman and the Justice league, and the more street-level misadventures of the “Suicide Squad,” particularly its breakout hit character Harley Quinn as portrayed by Margot Robbie. The Australian actress is now taking center stage in “Birds of Prey,” with a new trailer released this week.
One thing about the upcoming DCEU movie, full title being “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” is that it serves as a follow-up to 2016’s “Suicide Squad” according to The Washington Post. Some changes were made to the status quo at the end of that film however. Where “SS” ended with an appearance from Batman and Harley Quinn reuniting with Joker (Jared Leto), the first “Birds” trailer (and the teaser that came earlier) established that the two broke up between films, with Harley trying to make ends meet as an independent woman in Gotham City.
Any attempt to live “normally” as life for Harley Quinn can get is ruined, as the trailer shows, when she befriends young Cassandra Cain (Korean-Filipina newcomer Ella May Basco), who has stolen something valuable from psychotic Gotham crime boss and torture fetishist Richard Sionis (Ewan McGregor), aka Black Mask. Her attempts to help Cass evade Sionis’ mob only makes Harley the latest object of obsession for Black Mask; and worse, neither her ex Joker nor his nemesis Batman are around. Harley is thus forced to look for any available backup.
They come in the form of Gotham police detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), mafia princess and anti-mob vigilante Helena Bertinelli aka Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), plus super-powered rock star and street hero Dinah Lance/Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). The result is an ultra-violent yet blackly humorous rampage on the streets of the most crime-ridden city in superhero comics, as Harley tries to keep Cass safe, lead her dysfunctional little team, and take down Black Mask before he reminds her too much of “Mister J.” Deviations from the characters’ comic origins aside, the film looks to be a revamp of the “Suicide Squad” atmosphere tailored around its most famous personality. Time will tell if it works out.
Margot Robbie also co-produces “Birds of Prey” under the direction of Cathy Yan from a story by Christina Hodson. The film premieres February of 2020.
Image courtesy of Indie Wire