“Birds of Prey” crashes, burning brightly but boringly.

Summary: Since poorly-made films (like Captain Marvel) get a billion-dollar box office, Hollywood no longer even tries to make good films. Birds of Prey is dreck. Its target audience is women of all ages who enjoy seeing women beat up men. Past films have shown this to be a big market in America, so expect to see more of these.

“A harlequin’s nothing without a master.”
— Harley Quinn says this at the beginning. The film spends 109 minutes proving it.

"Birds of Prey" poster

Review of Birds of Prey:
And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
.

The latest feminism parable from Hollywood is Birds of Prey. Directed by Cathy Yan from a script by Christina Hodson, and produced by Margot Robbie. It tells the adventures of five young women who have been wronged by men. One was dumped by her boyfriend. One was cheated of credit by her male boss. One had her family killed by a man. One works for an evil criminal. Their primary characteristics are victimhood and love of violence. They are cardboard flat and boring.

In the center ring of the film is Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), an invincible cutesy kooky psychopath with a PhD. She is shallow, barely a character, without goals or motivations. She breaks legs for fun. Of course most of the reviewers love her: she is fourth-wave feminism in action: rule-breaking, selfish, purposeless, and violent.

“Women have a lot to be angry about: harassment, pay inequality, bad boyfriends – and that list is barely a black-glitter-nail-polish scratch on the surface of our grievances. …I just kept wishing the movie could be wittier as it goes about its vengeful business.”
Stehanie Zacharek at TIME. Like Harley Quinn and other fourth-wave feminists, she sees only her side. With no awareness of, let alone empathy for, the problems of men. Victimhood defines feminist critics’ world view, and gives them belief in their moral superiority.

The plot is an incoherent mess. They chopped it up into flashbacks so you won’t notice (so they hope). The rapid-fire repartee is repetitive and quickly becomes boring. The detective’s speech is accurately described in the film as “lines from every bad ’80s cop movie.” The dialog of the rest is no better.

Many superhero films resemble video games. Birds is a long music video: excellent cinematography, great sets, some good acting – and substitutes style for drama. To prevent the audience from getting lost in the mindless action, Harley’s voice-over narration makes plot points that in a good film emerge through action and dialog.

“If you found yourself internally screaming for Ryan Reynolds to shut the hell up during Deadpool, then the relentless, zany narration of Harley Quinn will likely send you gibbering and ruined towards the emergency exit after, oh, 23 seconds.”
Tara Brady at the Irish Times.

The other leads are an alcoholic tough-gal cop (Rosie Perez), the crossbow-wielding (?) vigilante assassin “Huntress” (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and the singer-superheroine Dinah Lance – Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). Perez and Smollett-Bell are good in their roles. Winstead is a block of wood. The bad guys are played as rug-chewing mindless evil bores.

“Judging from the audience reaction at the showing I attended, the killer moments here are the killer moments here – applause and laughter at this leg snapping, that body exploding.”
— At Movie Nation.

The film gives us the now-familiar Hollywood story showing evil men, women’s anger, and feminist solidarity. Plus the usual hyper-graphic violent fight scenes in which outnumbered women easily beat up much larger and more-experienced men – because grrl-power. Without getting a scratch, aided by the men who generously don’t use guns. They look like dances. This is not a film for anyone who feels empathy for the male cops, male guards, and bystanders (men, women, children) injured or killed in Birds’ fun fights and chases.

“‘Nothing gets a guy’s attention like violence,’ Harley says, and the action consists largely of female combatants breaking the limbs of hapless males and clobbering them in the groin. Thoroughly deserved, I guess, and about time, too …”
Anthony Lane in The New Yorker.

Even if you like the first fight scene, you might be bored by the twelfth. Only the Huntress (back left in below photo) looks able to last ten seconds in a fight with a (one) male thug. Robbie is model-thin. Perez looks ludicrous in the fight scenes; she is 56 and (to be charitable) not athletic.

No pandering to the male gaze in Birds of Prey.

The Birds of Prey

Before the modern era, Batman comics showed a Gotham overrun by criminals. Now Gotham looks like LA (unlike the vivid unique Gothams in the Batman films) but an LA besieged by psychopaths like Harley and film’s villains (who slice off people’s faces for fun). An LA where small-time crooks steal with impunity. Batman is not even an imaginary solution for this hellhole. Paging Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil) and Rodrigo Duterte (Philippines)! Please come to Gotham and organize death squads. Perhaps a sequel will show the citizens rebelling – and restoring order by force.

“Like Joker, Birds of Prey is sincere in its commitment to nihilism, but coy about the implications of that commitment.
— An apt observation by A.O. Scott in the NYT.

Feminist film critics (an almost redundant adjective) loved Birds of Prey.

“YAY for girl power! …To add to the female dominance, BIRDS OF PREY is directed by Cathy Yan and written by Christina Hodson. Two of the producers are Robbie and Sue Kroll – so take that all of you Academy members who won’t nominate women!”
Jeanne Kaplan at Kaplan vs. Kaplan.

“The film is a triumph of female-led filmmaking …”
Chris Knight at the National Post.

“This is a first: a Hollywood superhero movie written and directed by women, featuring a multi-racial female cast, with no male sidekicks or love interests, and a theme about learning to live without a man. It’s groundbreaking, it’s long overdue, and it’s bound to inspire a generation of girls.”
— Nicholas Barber at the BBC.

Inspire girls how? To do what? Barber doesn’t say. These reviews contrast oddly with those for Joker. Back then critics worried (or eagerly anticipated) that Joker’s mayhem would provide incels with a role model and incite them to violence. Today they are unconcerned that the more positively shown casual violence in Birds might incite violence. None mention the danger that films like Joker and Birds glorify anarchism, whose violence from 1878 – 1920 did immense damage. Are these films corrusive to our culture?

Mick LaSalle at the San Francisco Chronicle, where “normal” is only a setting on a dryer, provides a sensible summary …

“{Birds} is more than horrible. It should not exist. Money should never have been raised for it. The screenplay should never have been filmed. Margot Robbie shouldn’t have produced it. She certainly shouldn’t have starred in it. It’s just a terrible thing to inflict on audiences, who, after all, didn’t hurt anyone and just hoped to have a nice time. The movie …has style problems, story problems, plotting problems and tonal problems …”

Millions of kids will see Birds. It won’t help them become better people. It also will have a large adult audience. The combination probably means big profits. Historians will have the final word on whether that is a good thing.

Thought experiment

Imagine living in Harley’s Gotham City. It is a vision of a future for America. Take a tour of Gotham. It might encourage you to work for a better future.

Imagine the Birds of Prey, Harley, and Cassandra in ten or twenty years. What are their lives like?

The new Harley Quinn annimated series is worse

It is much worse. No sane parent would let their children watch this – excerpt in ClownWorld America!

If you have not seen it …

Poster for "Joker"
Available at Amazon.

See the film: Joker. Also see my review: Joker is a film of our time, but not the film we need. For a deeper look, see The philosophy of the Joker.

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see a story about our future: Ultra Violence: Tales from Venus.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  See all posts about heroes, about reforming America: steps to new politics, and especially these…

  1. Are our film heroes leading us to the future, or signaling despair?
  2. We like superheroes because we’re weak. Let’s use other myths to become strong.
  3. We need better heroes. They are there, in our past.
  4. Where we can find the inspiration to fix America?
  5. The sad reason we love superheroes, and the cure.
  6. Male and female heroes: separate but no longer equal.
  7. Women superheroes are Cinderellas.
  8. Fourth-wave feminism on TV, shaping a new America.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Available at Amazon.

The big book about heroes

The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

By Joseph Campbell (1949).

This is the book that sparked serious research in to the function and significance of myths. See Wikipedia. From the publisher.

“Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.

As relevant today as when it was first published, The Hero with a Thousand Faces continues to find new audiences.”

 

45 thoughts on ““Birds of Prey” crashes, burning brightly but boringly.”

  1. Excerpt from the best review: by Kevin Maher in The Times.


    “{Birds of Prey} offers a hundred different versions of Robbie gurning to camera — usually after bashing someone’s head in with a baseball bat — and not a single moment to elevate the proceedings above a scrappy, screechy, second-rate cartoon hotchpotch.

    “Instead, retreating into the cinematic equivalent of a Day-Glo crack house for simpletons, the spin-off unites Harley with a sorority of ass kickers …for a movie filled with needless fight scenes (Harley versus criminals, Harley versus the cops, Harley versus bikers) it doesn’t half limp along. It’s directed by the novice film-maker Cathy Yan, whose idea of choreographing an action sequence involves watching a never-ending supply of faceless extras (literally so — they wear masks) queueing up to get thwacked on the head by Harley’s bat or ineffectually kicked in the knee before collapsing politely to the ground. Atomic Blondeit ain’t. But Adam West’s TV “Batman” it almost is.

    “The climax arrives with an embarrassed sigh. It simply corrals the dramatis personae into a giant disused funfair and shouts: “Fight!” Cue more kicks and more polite falling. In the middle of the donnybrook Black Canary opens her mouth and unleashes the mother of all sonic screams. I’m guessing that it has metaphorical meaning too, and that it’s a scream on behalf of all of the women who have been denied their voices by Hollywood. It says that women will not be silenced any more. They will be heard. Because they have the right, just like all the men who have gone before them, to make vulgar, turgid crap. And they have.”

  2. Aren’t all superhero movies unrealistic, by definition?

    I am baffled by the “thought experiment” to “imagine the women characters in ten to twenty years.” The point is . . . what? That people age?

    1. Margaret,

      “Aren’t all superhero movies unrealistic, by definition?”

      I suggest reading the post. Do you object to any of the specific points made?

      “That people age?”

      I’m sure that you can imagine their future in more detail than that. Think of people’s lives, not just in terms of phenomena common to bacteria and people.

      1. Larry, I find your page interesting. I come here in good faith to engage with the content of your posts. And almost every time you respond with a statement along the lines of, “I suggest reading the post.” – as if my comment has no conceivable relation to anything you’ve written.

        But surely your familiar with your own post? Clearly, one of your criticisms of the movie is that its depiction of female superheroes beating up men is unrealistic. You state as follows: “Only the Huntress (back left in below photo) looks able to last ten seconds in a fight with a (one) male thug. Robbie is model-thin. Perez looks ludicrous in the fight scenes; she is 56 and (to be charitable) not athletic.”

        My response is: “Aren’t all superhero movies unrealistic, by definition?”

        Fine, yes, in future, I will point to exactly what it is I am that I am responding to. But, frankly, I do not think your constant accusation that I have not read the post to which I am responding is made in good faith. Indeed, in the past when I have provided the very specific statements to which I am responding, you continue to claim that I am not responding to your post. If you would rather not have a conversation with me, just say so.

        I am still curious about the purpose of your thought experiment and will read any comments that address it with interest.

      2. Margaret,

        “as if my comment has no conceivable relation to anything you’ve written.”

        Try replying, as I do, to direct quotes. Nobody is going to try and decipher your comments.

        “Clearly, one of your criticisms of the movie is that its depiction of female superheroes beating up men is unrealistic.”

        Films are not “unrealistic” in the sense you use. They build a world which differs in some respects from ours, then run with it. If the difference is extreme or unusual, they explain the diff. Differences in the film’s world have to be constructed with care, or people lose a sense of involvement. That’s why the actions have to proceed from the world presented. Films that don’t – such as absurdest films (eg, Mel Brooks’ work) are usually comedies.

        In Birds, the laws of physics apply – except to superheroes (eg, Black Canary). So there is no reason to expect an overweight 56 year old woman to beat up young male thugs within the context of the film. Nor is any explanation given. Ditto for Harley Quinn’s superstrength – eg, she kicks men with twice the weight across the room. (Note an explanation was given for the Huntress’ skills.) It is just sloppy writing.

        Also, this cuts against what so many critics considered “inspirational” to women, showing what women can do. These lessons have consequences. On youtube you can see many videos of young women who take Hollywood’s lessons to heart – that women can casually attack men for trivial reasons. It doesn’t end well for them (no videoes show, of course, the episodes with extreme consequences). My guess (guess) is that we are eroding away the cultural prohibition against men using forces against women – some pushing ahead in a crowd or line, some using mild violence (eg, slapping), to some using severe violence. Equality, treating men and women alike.

        That’s also a lesson of Birds: that only losers obey laws. I’ll bet that finds a place in the minds of some young people in the audience.

      3. You said: “Also, this cuts against what so many critics considered “inspirational” to women, showing what women can do. These lessons have consequences. On youtube you can see many videos of young women who take Hollywood’s lessons to heart – that women can casually attack men for trivial reasons. It doesn’t end well for them (no videoes show, of course, the episodes with extreme consequences). My guess (guess) is that we are eroding away the cultural prohibition against men using forces against women – some pushing ahead in a crowd or line, some using mild violence (eg, slapping), to some using severe violence. Equality, treating men and women alike.”

        I am very much in favor of eroding a special cultural prohibition against men hitting women. This ideal is a problem because it seems implies that it’s okay for men to hit each other or for women to hit each men (or each other). The ideal should be that NO ONE SHOULD HIT ANYONE, other than in certain very narrowly prescribed situations. This ideal is, in fact, enshrined in the law but is not nearly as universally accepted as it should be.

        A special cultural prohibition against men hitting women is why certain women don’t quite understand that it’s not okay to push or slap men. I don’t think these women are influenced by Hollywood. They think what they are doing is okay because they think they are relatively harmless and because they haven’t been taught not to hit.

        A special cultural prohibition against men hitting women also seems to correlate with a belief that it’s okay for men to settle certain differences with their fists. I am continually shocked and appalled by the respectable, middle-class men I know who have been beaten in bar fights or the like at one point or another. I am even more shocked when I hear certain men justifying it.

        (As for movies, I do agree with you in that I prefer more realism. Old time Hollywood’s frequent depiction of women as entirely helpless physically was also frustrating. I favor realistic depictions of the physical imbalance between the sexes, without exaggeration.)

    2. Larry,

      You said: “Try replying, as I do, to direct quotes. Nobody is going to try and decipher your comments.”

      Thank you for the advice! As you can see, I did exactly that in my previous comment AND I already said that I would do so in future. I think it’s silly to have to do so when the context of an entire post is clear but I will do so because this is your blog and that is your preference. This method does seem to enhance communication with you.

    3. It’s not supposed to make any sense. He’s thirsty for Margot Robbie and harbors deep resentment against women, particularly young attractive ones. Particularly the ones that remind him of the girls that wouldn’t give him the time of day in his younger days. Thus he fantasizes about

    4. Margaret,

      Here is an interesting thought for you.

      And to just give you some context here… my writing (some of which you can see on this site) Explores people who are mentally scarred, abused, suffer PTSD, and how they cope with it.

      I know enough girls my age, dating and friends, to see why Harley is an appealing character. She was created by circumstances that were mostly not her fault. She is clever and witty, but exhibits a lot of self destructive behavior. She touches girls in much the same way Joker touches guys. For me, social anxiety and past mental traumas (tho not as extreme as his fortunately) makes me absolutely sympathize with Joker, and see why he went past the point of redemption and became a villain. Joker is a tragedy that shows us how it can be prevented.

      Harley does the opposite, and that infuriates me. I assume the producer, writers, etc are educated upper middle class and affluent women. They could have created a positive story for girls to watch. But they chose to do the opposite.

      With a few relatively minor changes in the script they could have made this a very good and positive story. Imagine this: Harley gets dumped, and does the self destructive crime spree one would expect from her… but then she CLEANS HERSELF UP. She decides to be productive and help people.

      Then the enemies from her past life show up to kill her. She gets in the moral dilemma of having to make a terrible choice: be tortured to death… or kill a girl. If she kills the girl, she is not only safe, she gets the reward money, which is more than enough to start a new life. She decides to save the girl instead. She survives the fight, but has to start from scratch, and look over her shoulder for more people trying to kill her.

      Now wouldnt THAT be a nice and empowering story indtead of whatever the heck that garbage was they gave us instead?

      1. Ian,

        I would be very interested to read your writing! I had a PTSD diagnosis myself and still contend with some aspects of PTSD – but the process of dealing with it and doing what I can to get past it has been enlightening and growth-inducing in every area of my life.

        If you haven’t read it already, I HIGHLY recommend Bessel van der Kolk’s book “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma.” Not only does he vividly describe his conclusions and recommendations with a number of fascinating real life examples, but he also tells the fascinating story of the evolution of trauma studies over the last few decades.

        I love your version of the Harley story. I can’t comment on the movie itself because I have not seen it and generally am uninterested in superhero movies, though I perhaps I will check this one out. (I did dress as Harley for Halloween a couple years ago, though I thought when I bought the costume that I was just going as a court jester. Then 5000 people came up to me and said, “Harley Quinn!”)

    5. Concerned Citizen

      Margaret,

      You’re misreading female invasion of male spaces as proof of harmony.

      They are not male spaces. They are human spaces.

      Don’t you see that you’re doing exactly what he’s saying? Not this blog, of course, Larry himself says it’s for everyone. But feminists love to invade males spaces. Real male spaces. Why does everyone need to share everything? What’s wrong with having male only or female only spaces? You say they are human spaces, but why should they be? Because you or feminists say so? And you say genders are more in harmony than ever, but what’s your proof? Gender quotas? More “female representation?

      1. Concerned Citizens,

        “But feminists love to invade males spaces.”

        I too have wondered about that. The First Amendment is quite clear about freedom of association.

        “Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble …”

        See the Cornell Law website explaining this. This right is in tatters, like so much of the Constitution.

  3. Yeah people age. Now watch some women age whose only emotion in life is hating men. That was his point. It’s a long, miserable life for them as they hunt around for scraps of things to hold grievances over, like starving wolves. It’s not life, it’s faux victimhood as recreation. Maybe you partake?

    Flip the script; Five rogue males who spend an entire movie physically destroying women and having it pass as entertainment.

    1. Westray,

      I have many female friends and I do not know anyone “whose only emotion in life is hating men.” If such women exist, I am sure that such a negative, all-consuming mindset would be just as miserable at 30 as at 50. Age has nothing to do with it. I will say I do know a couple of women who have been traumatized and who do harbor serious mistrust of or discomfort with men. I think it is truly unfortunate.

      I have no idea why you would ask if such applies to me.

      1. “I am sure that such a negative, all-consuming mindset would be just as miserable at 30 as at 50.”

        Good job Margaret! You did the thought experiment; proof that you read the post as well.

        “I will say I do know a couple of women who have been traumatized and who do harbor serious mistrust of or discomfort with men.”

        Men’s fault, right? LOL. No purely vitriolic, sexist women out there? Sorry, I saw the P-hat marches.

        “I have no idea why you would ask if such applies to me.”

        Because you’re transparent?

      2. Westray,

        One of the many fruits of social change of the last few decades are the many positive ways men and women collaborate with each other in a variety of contexts unthinkable in my grandmother’s era. If you are seeing vitriolic, man-haters everywhere, you are missing a lot.

      3. @Margaret

        Must be the people he knows are like that and this man hatred seems to pervade entertainment and media.

    2. Margaret,

      The relations between genders are at a historic low point. You’re misreading female invasion of male spaces as proof of harmony. It’s anything but that. Also, your ruse is very transparent. You take what you think are subtle shots (they’re easy to read) and then retreat to this false wholesomeness when you’re called out. Your disingenuousness is hilarious and we see it, loud and clear. It’s always the same pattern with you.

      1. They are not male spaces. They are human spaces.

        And I am not trying to take subtle shots. I am openly opposed to any sort of patriarchy or backlash against feminist progress. And yes, I would like to have an adversarial discussion about those topics for those who choose to engage.

      2. “And yes, I would like to have an adversarial discussion about those topics”

        Agreed. And you angle for one with every single response. Your matriarchy is showing. I’m not surprised that you have no qualms with women invading male spaces. You’re doing so right here. The big problem here is that it is not a forum for feminist energies. This is a forum for male issues. The entire world is your proper forum. Feminism is everywhere yet you still come here. You come here to attempt and quash our discussions and our progress. That is so evil.
        (Now you’re going to play the faux ingenue persona that you always resort to, aren’t you?)

      3. Westray,

        “The big problem here is that it is not a forum for feminist energies. This is a forum for male issue”

        This is a forum for everybody. Everybody and all views (except those advocating violence, treason, and other such bad stuff).

      4. They aren’t human spaces, whatever that means. Also, it’s obvious Margaret is a 45th wave feminist supremacist. She wants the female to receive affirmative action against the male, she wants the sons and brothers to be handicapped by discriminatory feminist teachers. She thinks a corporate job is the pinnacle of existence. She thinks the ability to kill your children or complain that waiting til your late 30s to 40s where miscarriages, complications and genetic defects increase is unfair. She is the epitomy of 4th wave feminist supremacy and her little act is always take.

      5. Hottip,

        Please, let’s stick to the subject. No personal attacks, no guessing about commenters. There will be no further warnings. Any more such comments will be deleted and further comments moderated.

  4. After I read the post, I read some other reviews, for background.
    The plot of Birds of Prey- strikes me as kind similar to a Little Mix video I saw, or, some would quickly point out, Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’ video.
    Hardly the stuff that a serious mind need pay attention to. No?
    I am ashamed I can make these references. That said, I’d will avoid ‘Birds of…’ even when it comes on broadcast TV.
    It’s probably a loss to American life that the concept of a serious mind is hardly evoked.

    1. Good points. I like FM’s ability to demonstrate how these movies relate to our culture, but you won’t catch me watching anything from Hollywood. They are a hostile tribe.

      I like the idea of trying to maintain a ‘serious mind.’

  5. Good analysis, but question: but in what way does Joker promote anarchy?

    -Gotham starts as a dysfunctional society on the verge of collapse
    -collapse in social networks, cuts in social services, bad parenting, well-meaning but oblivious sneering plutocrats (Wayne Sr.), incompetent police, and, most of all, a vapid media that revels in abusing vulnerable people on the fringes of society… these are all blamed as factors in the collapse of Gotham

    -The drunk Wayne Enterprise employees (the brock Turners of the world) are portrayed as people who know they’re above the law, and contribute to the failure

    -The protesters are portrayed as frustrated, and violent criminals use the chaos as an opportunity to commit crimes (like the thug who murders the Wayne family for no reason except its fun)

    -Through his sociopathic behavior, the Joker accidentally becomes a folk hero. The same outbreak in violence creates Joker’s enemy Batman (but interestingly, shares some of the disregard for the rules)

    Not sure how this glorifies anything except telling a story of a disastrous and largely preventable social collapse

      1. James,

        Harley and Joker ARE similar in one key aspect… they both address victims of a broken society. Harley is a mentally dysfunctional, broken person… much like. many young women today. Joker is a mentally ill incel who, honestly, doesnt even want sex. He just wants to have people in his life who like him for who he is. His attempt at comedy, even tho he is no good at it, is a desperate attempt at validation.

        Joker is a tragedy. Harley is a vapid and pointless revenge fantasy. Joker had a clear plot arc. He becomes a villain, but shows a clear development has he addresses his various mental issues (tho clearly the wrong way)

        Harley is just as useless a person as she was at the beginning. That tells a lot about the film makers. I sympathize with how society has broken so many young women… this movie teaches broken girls that they can engage in a bizarre revenge fantasy but not actually grow in any meaningful way.

        One big difference is violence:

        In Harley, violence is sensationalist, gratuitous and serves no purpose except as a bitter revenge fantasy.

        Joker shows violence in a calculated way with artistic purpose. The WE employees like to bully weak people… they end up killed by a victim who snapped.

        Murray is like a modern Robespeare. He built his career on publicly destroying people… but gets guillotined on his own show. He was killed by the society he helped create.

        Wayne is a rich elitist. He makes platitudes about helping people but doesnt do anything constructive. He believes as a rich member of the 1%, the problems of the underclass will never affect him. At the end, Gotham broke down into a total war zone. Wayne and his wife die. Not by a calculated assassin. It was a purely random act of violence. Wayne didn’t die a special way. He was just another victim out of dozens of people killed in the riots.

        That is a compelling message rich people should listen to. They are safe for now, but it society ever collapsed into chaos, NOBODY is safe. No matter how rich you are, you can still get murdered outside a theater in a nice part of town. The violence spread like a fire everywhere, even into the “good part of town”

      2. Ian,

        I agree on all points, and would emphasize one point. SPOILER ahead. SPOILER ahead. SPOILER ahead.

        SPOILER ahead. SPOILER ahead. SPOILER ahead.

        SPOILER ahead. SPOILER ahead. SPOILER ahead.

        “Harley is just as useless a person as she was at the beginning. That tells a lot about the film makers.”

        The ending is horrific. Harley is still mad. She drives off with Cassandra Cain – age 13 at filming – who she adopts as a “protege.” Guaranteed to ruin her life. Since much of the Gotham underworld wants to kill Harley, this partnership is likely to end Cassandra’s life. The film treats this as a happy ending.

        The film is toxic waste dumped into the minds of America’s youth.

      3. James,

        “You’re a lot more insightful than your dad.”

        It’s a generational thing. Birds speaks to generations raised in a world radically different than that the Boomers come from. We Boomers can intellectually analyze it, but that does not produce the level of insight from living in it.

        When young,we Boomers experienced this in reverse. Our parents couldn’t understand the young Boomers in the 1960s and 1970s. Now the wheel turns…

  6. Larry – you are the biggest loser I have ever encountered on the internet. This is pathetic. Are you really that addicted to public humiliation?

  7. The Man Who Laughs

    We’ve had our disagreements, but in my experience, your movie reviews tend to be quite accurate. I’m not sure there’s a lot of points of comparison with Joker, which ended up being sort of a Rorschach test of a movie where what people saw in it told you more about them than it did the movie itself. No inkblots here. it’s woke, it probably deserves to go broke, and maybe it will.

    They played the preview trailer when I went to see 1917, and it got some laughs out of the audience, but preview trailer is a science and they can make anything look good these days. Box office projections are fairly modest. It won’t bomb nearly as bad as The Rhythm Section did, but I wouldn’t bet on it making its money back.

    You can sell a female led action ir superhero movie, it’s been done. I’m not sure you can sell it like this. I guess we’ll find out.

  8. Great write and comments Larry.

    I would throw this out there and see what you think. Historically most hero movies follow a generic script which is outlined in Campbell’s hero of a thousand faces and in the book iron john and others. The hero does x,y and z. Meets a wizard / mentor, faces a set back, overcomes it etc.

    Stories that follow the script tend to resonate with us/ be successful. Stories that dont usually arent.

    So does this movie follow the script? Apparently not. So then Hollywood is all surprised that these movies flop.

    What do you think?

    1. Sven,

      “So does this movie follow the script?”

      True, it doesn’t, but that’s because most films about female heroes follow a different template than Campbell’s. They are Cinderella.

      https://fabiusmaximus.com/2019/12/04/women-superheroes-are-cinderella/

      “So then Hollywood is all surprised that these movies flop.”

      They don’t all flop. The Alien series, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel – and perhaps the many more coming to theaters in the next few years – were big hits.

      1. Alien yes. Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel might have tapped into the fondness for the characters that are a part of the shared culture, plus the fact that they were installments in the wildly popular Avengers Marvel Universe. I wonder how well CM would have done had it been a stand alone.

      2. As for the “Alien” series, Ripley was always a protagonist I respected. She earned her outcomes and triumphs at the cost of much danger, suffering, and even death (“Alien 3”). When we first encounter her, she’s not some awesome wunderkind with inexhaustible altruism. She’s some cynical corporate employee concerned for self-preservation whose predominant struggle is running for her life. The aliens/xenomorphs were terrifying and worthy opponents, not bumbling cartoonish chauvinists. The first two “Alien” films were impressive cinema and I think they both deserve their status in sci-fi film history. “Alien 3” divided fans for its dark story and killing off beloved characters from the prior films, but I think it has definite merit as a film. When Ripley is corned by the alien and only spared because we realize she’s already been impregnated by them, that’s definitely not some story of unending Mary Sue triumph.

        Of course, with the fourth film, “Alien Resurrection,” the whole thing went off the rails into cartoonish girl power territory, before “woke” was even a recognized term. When you find out that Joss Whedon wrote “Alien Resurrection,” you’re not at all surprised.

    1. Durasim,

      It took in $31 million from the preview night and Friday, globally. vs. an est production cost of $85 million. Too soon to say, but the studio will probably make some money (total cost is roughly 150 – 200% of production cost).

      On the other hand, Doolittle is a bomb. After three weeks, it has taken in only $132 M globally vs est production cost of $175M.

      In Hollywood, a film is a “bomb” if the studio loses money. See Wikipedia.

      1. Durasim,

        “Blomb” is afilm that lost money. Most films don’t make enough money to warrant a sequel. But collectively they generate enough profits to cover the operating costs of the studio. The blockbusters generate the studio’s profit.

        That’s how most businesses work. In the retail brokerage biz (under the traditional model), the commissions covered the firm’s costs – margin interest produced the profits.

        Re: changing Birds name.

        The all-female team can’t have audience tested that stupid original title. Also, an “R” rated max-feminist film whose concept has a core audience of teenage boys – was not going to fly.

        Hollywood has become an agitprop manufacturing shop, and is no longer very good at making films.

  9. I just wanted to drop this here: “Birds of Prey is a garbage movie” by The Critical Drinker. He is very funny and sarcastic.

     

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