REVIEW: ‘Birds of Prey,’ a misguided mess of ideas and executions

"Birds of Prey," the film adaptation of the comic series by the same name, came out Feb. 7. (Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

On Feb. 7, audiences finally got to watch the film adaptation of “Birds of Prey,” a beloved comic series that centers around Harley Quinn’s messy breakup with the Joker.

This movie was equally as messy; it hit snags along the way, with many jokes that just don’t land. The plot missed the mark many times, with the narration and story coming from the queen of Gotham herself, Harley.

“Birds of Prey” initially follows a non-chronological sequence. However, this concept was abandoned about halfway through the film and began to follow events as they occurred. It felt as if the idea of the out-of-order sequence was forgotten.

This way of storytelling can be used to give audiences small glimpses of information, allowing the viewer to conclude the plot themselves.

While this type of sequence builds suspense in mysteries, this was not a mysterious movie — this choice felt ill-used and all over the place.

Unfortunately, not only did the delivery of the plot feel flat, the plot itself left some to be desired.

The story centers around Harley, the antihero. Just like “Suicide Squad” feels like a poorly represented “Guardians of the Galaxy,” this too felt like a poorly understood showing of “Deadpool.”

Where Deadpool has grace as a character, Harley falls short. She fails to gain a feeling of deeper empathy achieved in Marvel’s Deadpool. She lacks the careful background development that allowed us to better understand Deadpool’s actions. Harley Quinn’s character maturation felt rushed and incomplete.

I was more interested in the movie that I didn’t see about Harley’s life than the one that was right in front of me.

So, was it really all bad? Absolutely not. Where the plot fell short, the cinematography, set design and costume design were enough to make for an enjoyable viewing experience.

The shots were carefully crafted to have a feeling a vibrancy, fun and often felt like a classic comic book viewing. I had fun watching Harley parade through colorful, intense visuals.

Her design was filled with fun outfits, ranging dynamic colors and iconic visual elements.

Harley Quinn’s relationships also had some positive elements for me. Although the characters felt static and underdeveloped at times, they had some genuine moments together that landed some well-timed jokes.

In conclusion, “Birds of Prey” is messy. While there were moments of good humor and brilliant set design, they were often overshadowed by a jumbled plot and confusing storytelling that didn’t quite work itself out.

While this movie is one of the better ones out this week, plan on going into it with the expectation of a less-than-perfect experience.

Abigail Compton is a senior in fine arts. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to