“Birds of Prey” plummets in box office and expectations

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Courtesy of usatoday.com

The "Birds of Prey" team comes together in the final act of the movie.

The “Birds of Prey” movie poster. Courtesy of imdb.com

On Friday, Feb. 7, Warner Brothers released the eighth film in the DC Extended Universe, “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)”. The film is based on the Birds of Prey comic series and acts as a follow up to 2016’s “Suicide Squad” with Margot Robbie continuing to play the role of Harley Quinn.

The movie follows Harley living independently after breaking up with the Joker, which is an effective excuse to not have to see Jared Leto completely botch the character. In fact, he isn’t in this movie at all (thank God). 

“I didn’t like Jared Leto’s performance in ‘Suicide Squad’,” said Sahan Sahgal, freshman. “He turned the Joker into a Hot Topic employee.”

She is eventually faced with the main conflict of retrieving a diamond for Black Mask in order to not be killed. He’s portrayed by Ewan McGregor in such a predictable and forgettable way that I had to look up the name of his character while writing this. He’s a stereotypical rich white guy who has little to no charisma, and while he is easy to root against as a villain, that’s only because he’s so boring when he’s on-screen. 

Despite the movie being titled “Birds of Prey”, the actual “Birds of Prey” team doesn’t fully come together until the final act. In fact, most of the members in the team serve little to no purpose throughout the story, and some of them could be removed entirely and very little about the movie would change. As a result, it’s more of a Harley Quinn movie than anything else, and while Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the character is believable, it becomes easy to predict how she’s going to react to any given situation. 

“’Birds of Prey’ was pretty disappointing,” said Casey Ryndak, sophomore. “The movie was more fight scenes than plot.”

The movie received an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), with characters constantly dropping profanities and the violence being kicked up a notch. This was likely done to try and capitalize off of the financial success of R-rated comic-based movies like “Deadpool”, “Logan”, and “Joker”, as well as an attempt to be taken more seriously by critics after the harshly panned “Suicide Squad”.

However, this decision just left me wondering who this movie was supposed to be for. The humor and art style are still in line with the PG-13 rated “Suicide Squad”. Despite the added cussing and violence, “Birds of Prey” still feels like a movie aimed at a younger demographic. In fact, it could’ve easily been rated PG-13 and nothing in the story would have changed, which can’t be said for the mature character study that was “Joker”, or the wisecracking humor that “Deadpool” has always been known for. 

“[“Birds of Prey”] didn’t deserve an R-rating,” said Nick Blanchard, senior. “All of the swearing felt forced and like it didn’t need to be there.”

This decision proved to be detrimental to the film’s box office success, as it only made $33 million opening weekend with a budget of $84.5 million. In fact, there were only three other people in the theater when I saw it on Feb. 7. 

If there’s anything I can compliment the movie on, it’s that the fighting scenes (as overabundant as they are) are creative and well-choreographed. The movie was shot pretty well, and the lighting and color schemes made it look nicer than its predecessor. 

For the most part though, “Birds of Prey” fails at everything it tries to do, telling a bland and predictable story with writing that doesn’t appeal to its more mature demographic.