Birds Of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn is the 8th film of the DC Extended Universe. The film stars Harley Quinn, along with one of the Batgirls (Cassandra Cain), three members of the Birds of Prey (Office Montoya, Black Canary, and Huntress), and the villainous Black Mask.
Where the Characters Came From
Harley Quinn didn't come from the comics. She was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for the 1992 show, Batman: The Animated Series. She was so popular, that she became a regular characters in the comics. Renee Montoya was also a creation of Batman: The Animated Series. Huntress and Black Canary are both members of the Justice League, who have been around for decades. Cassandra Cain, Victor Zsasz, and Black Mask are all characters from the Batman comics.
What The Film Does Differently
Birds of Prey is the name of a popular comics series, as well as a short-lived TV show. Unlike those properties, this film has Harley Quinn as the central character of the film. Black Mask is the main villain of the film, but he's usually a member of Batman's rogues gallery and so is his henchman, Victor Zsasz. Cassandra Cain doesn't actually become Batgirl in the film.
What I think of the plot
The plot has been accused of focusing too much on Harley Quinn and it does. However, the members of the Birds of Prey have appealing subplots and go through a solid amount of change in the film. Having Black Mask be the center of the conflict adds excitement to the film.
What I think of the cast
This might surprise you, considering I'm one of the world's most obsessive Batman fans, but when I was growing up, I was never really fond of Harley Quinn. Since I considered the Joker to be the most entertaining character from any superhero franchise, I failed to understand why he'd need a comedy-relief sidekick. Plus, Harley is really dumb for somebody that was supposed to be a brilliant psychiatrist, considering she fell for everything the Joker told her. However, I started growing a stronger appreciation for Harley, thanks to Margot Robbie's unique and fun performance in Suicide Squad. I was looking forward to Harley getting her own film. However, I wasn't a big fan of Harley in this film. Making her the protagonist didn't really work well, in my opinion. She wasn't very likeable, charming, or funny. Although a portion of her jokes were funny, this film made me want Harley to stop appearing in stuff. However, Margot Robbie continues to give a talented, committed performance.
I was expecting Cassandra Cain to be annoying, because even when I was a kid, I thought a majority of kid characters to be annoying (not counting the cast of Ed, Edd, and Eddy). Thankfully, Cassandra wasn't annoying. Although I was disappointed she didn't become Batgirl, she was a sympathetic troublemaker and had good chemistry with Harley. Huntress managed to make a strong, good impression, despite having a limited amount of screen time. Her backstory was very good and she had a really cool personality. Black Canary's backstory isn't explored enough, but she's likeable and gets to shine in the film, especially when she gets to sing and use her powers. Officer Montoya had a good character arc, although her voice was pretty distracting.
I've been wanting to see Black Mask have a major role in a film for years, since I'm in love with Batman and his rogues gallery. Black Mask is a very compelling villain, that hasn't been allowed to shine in the past. The closest thing he has gotten to a big role in a film is Batman: Under the Red Hood, which he had an awesome role in, but it still didn't give him the spotlight he deserved. Thankfully, he's the main villain of a theatrical film! Although I wish he was the villain of a Batman film, I'm just so glad he got to be in a live-action DC film. He stole the show and consistently made the film better. However, Black Mask has one of the greatest backstories and this film doesn't go into it enough. Hopefully, his origin will be better explored in a future Batman property.
The Joker was originally supposed to be played Jared Leto in this film. Due to various problems, Jared Leto didn't come back. Instead, Joker is reduced to being played by a body double and is only used in the opening and in a couple of cameos.
Thank you, DC, for putting underrated, underappreciated characters, like Black Canary, Huntress, and Black Mask, into a mainstream film. That's more than enough to make this film worthwhile. Also, it's a film with connections to Batman, which also makes the film worth watching.