Birds of Prey: 2020 Hollywood Superhero Film

Birds of Prey: 2020 Hollywood Superhero Film

Movie Name: Birds of Prey Movie
Directed by: Cathy Yan
Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor
Genre: ActionAdventure, Crime
Release Date: 07 February 2020
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Budget: $75 – 84.5 million
Rating:

After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics team Birds of Prey. The film is intended to be the eighth film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and a follow-up spin-off to the 2016 film Suicide Squad, and is directed by Cathy Yan and written by Christina Hodson. Birds of Prey stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, and Ewan McGregor, and follows Harley Quinn as she joins forces with Black Canary, Helena Bertinelli, and Renee Montoya to save Cassandra Cain from Gotham City crime lord Black Mask.

Robbie, who also serves as producer, pitched the idea for Birds of Prey to Warner Bros. Pictures in 2015. The film was announced in May 2016; Hodson was hired to write the script that November, while Yan signed on to direct in April 2018. The majority of the cast and crew were confirmed by December 2018. Principal photography lasted from January to April 2019 and took place in Downtown Los Angeles, parts of the Arts District, Los Angeles, and sound stages at Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank in Burbank, California. Additional filming took place in September 2019.

Birds of Prey is scheduled to be released in the United States on 7 February, 2020, by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Premise:

Since the events of Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn has left the Joker. When Roman Sion is, a narcissistic crime lord known as Black Mask, places a hit on a young girl named Cassandra Cain, Gotham City turns upside down looking for her. Harley joins forces with Black Canary, Helena Bertinelli, and Renee Montoya to protect the girl and to take Sionis down.

Production:

In May 2016, ahead of the release of Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. Pictures announced a spin off film focusing on Harley Quinn and several other female DC Comics heroes and villains, such as Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Margot Robbie was attached to reprise her role as Harley Quinn, and would also serve as producer. British screenwriter Christina Hodson was announced to be writing the film in November. Robbie pitched the film to Warner Bros. in 2015 as “an R-rated girl gang film including Harley, because I was like, ‘Harley needs friends.’ Harley loves interacting with people, so don’t ever make her do a standalone film”. Robbie felt it was important for the film to have a female director. While Warner Bros. and DC Films had various other Harley Quinn-oriented films in development, Birds of Prey was the only one in which Robbie was directly involved with its development.

Robbie spent three years working on Birds of Prey and continued to present it to Warner Bros. until the studio felt the project was at the point it could be made. By April 2018, Warner Bros. and DC Films had finalized a deal with Cathy Yan to direct, making her the first female Asian director to direct a superhero film. Robbie was confirmed to be producing the film under her Lucky Chap Entertainment banner, as part of a first look deal she has with the studio; Sue Kroll and Bryan Unkless were also announced to serve as producers through their companies Kroll & Co. Entertainment and Clubhouse Pictures, respectively. Production was scheduled to begin by late 2018 or early 2019. The Penguin was intended to appear in the script at one point, but was dropped to preserve his DCEU debut in a Batman solo film.

By July 2018, the film was entering pre-production. Robbie confirmed the film would be titled Birds of Prey, describing it as “different” from the other DC films featuring Harley Quinn, and said it would be produced on a relatively small budget compared to other superhero films. She also stated that Harley Quinn would receive a new costume, and teased the casting of diverse actors. The line-up for the Birds of Prey team was revealed to include Black Canary, Huntress, Cassandra Cain, and Renee Montoya, with the villain set to be a Batman adversary who had not yet been seen in film. Casting began in August, with Warner Bros. considering a number of actresses to be cast as Huntress and Black Canary. Alexandra Daddario, Jodie Comer, Blake Lively, and Vanessa Kirby expressed interest. Roman Sionis / Black Mask was revealed to be the film’s antagonist. Janelle Monáe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jurnee Smollett-Bell were under consideration for Black Canary by September, while Sofia Boutella, Margaret Qualley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Cristin Milioti were being considered to play Huntress. Justina Machado and Roberta Colindrez tested for Renee Montoya, while Warner Bros. began seeking a 12-year-old Asian actress to play Cassandra Cain.

In late September, Smollett-Bell and Win stead were respectively cast as Black Canary and Huntress, Warner Bros. scheduled a February 7, 2020 release date, and Ewan McGregor and Sharlto Copley were under consideration for the role of Black Mask. During the U.S.-China Entertainment Summit in October, Yan confirmed the cast and that the film would be R-rated. She said that she “could not put the script down, it had so much dark humor to it which a lot of my work does, and there are themes of female empowerment which are so strong and relate able”. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique joined the film that month, as did Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya. Stunt coordinator Jonathan Eusebio and fight coordinator Jon Valera joined in November along with McGregor as Black Mask and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain. Robbie revealed that the full title would be Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), and that the subtitle reflects the humorous and unserious tone of the film. Production designer K. K. Barrett joined in December, as did Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz. Steven Williams, Derek Wilson, Dana Lee, François Chau, Matthew Willig, Robert Catrini, and Ali Wong also joined the film’s cast.

Principal photography began in Los Angeles, California in January 2019 under the working title Fox Force Five. Although filming was expected to also take place in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, the entire shoot took place in Los Angeles after the production received a tax credit from the state of California. Filming was expected to be completed by mid-April 2019. In February, Charlene Amoia joined the cast. Filming wrapped on April 15, 2019.

Jay Cassidy and Evan Schiff will serve as editors. Method Studios, Weta Digital, Luma Pictures, Image Engine and Crafty Apes will provide the visual effects for the film. In August 2019, Chad Stahelski joined as a second unit director for reshoots. Photography for the additional footage began on September 3, 2019.

In September 2019, Daniel Pemberton was announced to serve as composer for the film’s soundtrack.

Release:

Birds of Prey is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States on February 7, 2020.

Marketing began on the January 21, 2019, when a first-look production video of the characters and costumes titled “See You Soon”, was released by Warner Bros. via YouTube. DC Comics published a promotional trade paperback anthology featuring stories based on the film on November 12, 2019. The first teaser debuted exclusively in theaters on September 5, 2019, in front of screenings for It: Chapter Two, with Quinn stating that she is “so *POP*ing over clowns”, in a collective reference to It / Penny-wise the Dancing Clown and the Joker.

A short teaser was released on the film’s social media pages, announcing the first official trailer would be released on October 1, 2019. A series of posters, which also announced the trailer debut, was released the same day. On December 5, 2019, Birds of Prey held a panel at the annual CCXP in Brazil. They debuted the opening 5 minutes of the movie as well as a new trailer, which is set to be released to the public in January 2020.

Birds of Prey Movie Trailer:

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Birds of Prey Movie Review:

The DCEU cuts ties to Jared Leto’s Joker with this violent and vibrant comic book film, starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.

Combining all the ingredients that make comic book bros break out in hives, Birds of Prey is a candy-coloured curveball of a movie that doubles as a feminist fable and an apology for the poorly received Suicide Squad.

It does away with that film’s convoluted tone and embraces the nuttier aspects of the monumentally mishandled DCEU, a series with which Birds of Prey has barely any connection — tonally and narratively. In fact, it spends its opening minutes literally cutting any ties it has to Suicide Squad, and, metaphorically, to its toxic legacy.

I liked Suicide Squad. It reminded me of Batman: The Animated Series, a show that I watched obsessively growing up. Harley Quinn was created specifically for that show by writer Paul Dini. He’d be happy with what director Cathy Yan has done with her in Birds of Prey.

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Once again played by Margot Robbie, Harley is having a difficult time getting over the Joker, with whom she has broken up sometime between the events of this film and Suicide Squad. But she hasn’t told anyone yet — partly because she’s still in denial, but more importantly, being the Joker’s girlfriend afforded her a certain immunity in the seedier corners of Gotham City, immunity that Harley is convinced she’ll lose the second she announces that she is no longer under Mr J’s protection.

Birds of Prey is essentially the story of Harley emerging from under the Joker’s shadow. Much has been written about the emotional abuse Harley has had to suffer as the Joker’s partner in crime over the years — in comics, video games and cartoon shows. But by removing the Clown Prince of Crime (the Harlequin of Hate, the Jester of Genocide) entirely from the narrative, Yan and her writer, Christina Hodson avoid confronting some of the more interesting aspects of their relationship.

It’s a missed opportunity, because despite never appearing in the flesh, the Joker haunts her like a particularly stubborn wart — unshakable and irritating. His face is visible on a dart board on Harley’s bedroom wall and his name is mentioned by dozens of characters throughout the movie. Curiously, however, Jared Leto’s likeness is never used; the Joker in Birds of Prey appears to be a campy composite of sorts.

He looks like the Joker of the ‘90s; a mixture of Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill’s versions. This is also a good indication of the film’s tone. It’s interesting to note how, in the span of just over a decade, the pendulum has swung from Joel Schumacher’s lurid Batman films to the gritty realism of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and back again. Designed by KK Barrett and vibrantly shot by cinematographer Matty Libatique, Birds of Prey has more in common with Schumacher’s kitschy aesthetic than the grounded tone of Nolan’s films. But the similarities are limited to the visuals, thankfully; Birds of Prey is infinitely better written than both Batman Forever and Batman & Robin combined.

Hodson’s screenplay channels the early films of Guy Ritchie, complete with a valuable MacGuffin, snazzy visual graphics, an overly complicated and non-linear structure. She even has Robbie serve as a relatively reliable narrator, and our guide in this densely populated world. The trio of women charged with spearheading the film — Yan, the director; Hodson, the writer; and Robbie, the producer — inject the film with a spirit of pride. It’s the sort of film in which one character, sensing another’s discomfort during a fight, offers her a scrunchie to keep the hair out of her eyes. In another scene, a character admires a cohort’s ability to fight in tight pants.

But it takes a while for the gang to get together. For the most part, Birds of Prey is a Harley Quinn movie. And that is its biggest flaw. Because we know so little about the character — barring a hasty narration that hints at a troubled childhood, Harley’s life is a mystery — it is difficult to stick with her as she goes on the run from Gotham’s criminals, tracks down an elusive diamond, and tries her best to be a ‘not so terrible person’.

The ethics of rooting for a villain aside, Robbie brings an inherent likability to the character, but it’s Ewan McGregor who delivers the film’s standout performance as the flamboyant gangster Roman Sionis (Black Mask). Yan, despite her relative inexperience — this is her first studio film, and her second feature ever — appears to have a decent grasp of tone, although most of the action sequences seem to be the handiwork of John Wick director Chad Stahelski, who was roped in at the last minute to oversee reshoots. A warehouse brawl and a climactic car chase, in particular, are trademark Stahelski — intricately choreographed and edited with patience.

Birds of Prey has virtually no bearing on the larger DCEU; it’s baffling to me why Warner Bros. wants to insist on it even being part of the franchise at all. But as a standalone adventure, it’s a terrific showcase for Robbie’s talents as an actor. Her performance here is better than the one she’s currently nominated at the Oscars for.

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