Birds of Prey First Reviews: John Wick, Deadpool Comparisons

Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn in the first DC Comics film since the blockbuster success of “Joker.”

Warner Bros. has screened its latest DC Comics tentpole “Birds of Prey” for press, and the first wave of reactions on social media from film critics and journalists are universally strong. “Birds of Prey” is directed by Cathy Yan, making her studio debut after the indie drama “Dead Pigs,” and finds Margot Robbie reprising her role of Harley Quinn following David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad.” In the upcoming comic book action comedy, Harley is newly single from Joker and teams up with fellow heroes Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and Renee Montoya (Rose Perez) to protect young Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) from the villainous Black Mash (Ewan McGregor) and his henchman after she steals his precious diamond.

“‘Birds of Prey’ is delightfully unassuming and unconcerned with its place in a larger context. It’s a bonkers, bananas crime comedy and a genuine party movie,” writes Forbes’ Scott Mendelson about the film. LA Times critic Katie Walsh adds, “The film is a totally campy and brutal carnival ride; a colorful, chaotic and cheeky blast.”

Many of the “Birds of Prey” first reactions compare the movie to hit action films “John Wick” and “Deadpool,” the latter of which similarly earned an R rating for over-the-top violence and dirty language. The comparisons to “John Wick” make sense as it was reported last summer that “John Wick” director Chad Stahelski was overseeing some “Birds of Prey” reshoots to help make the action scenes pop more. Director Cathy Yan said in December that some of her calling cards of inspiration for the film were Quentin Tarantino and Akira Kurosawa.

“The way that I sort of talked about the structure of the film is a bit like ‘Pulp Fiction’ meets ‘Rashomon.’ So it’s an unconventional structure,” Yan told /Film. “For me, there’s a lot of my favorite filmmakers that have influences on this film, so like Tarantino, obviously. ‘The Professional’ for sure, especially the relationship between Harley and Cass. We actually have a few like, oh I guess I would say, like odes to certain films in the movie. Watch out for that.”

Warner Bros. is opening “Birds of Prey” in theaters nationwide February 7. Check out the first reactions to the movie in the posts below.

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