This article we’re breaking down the latest DC movie Birds Of Prey.
The film is the first big comic book release of the year and there’s a hell of a lot to unpack from it.
Throughout this we’ll be discussing all of the ins and outs on the character featured in the film, the themes behind it, it’s ending and the post credits scene.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you don’t want anything about the film ruined then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
Birds Of Prey Plot Recap
Birds Of Prey picks up in the wake of Suicide Squad after the defeat of Enchantress. When we last saw the clown couple, Mr. J was breaking the Harlequinn of crime out of Belle Reeve but since then the two have broken up.
Harley has been kicked out of her house and must now make it on her own without the protection of her former lover. This makes her a target and it’s not long before people start hunting for her.
She narrates the majority of the movie and it’s told mainly from her point of view.
Though the Joker or rather Jared Leto isn’t in the film, his presence still looms over it largely as do a lot of the male figures in the piece. On the whole Birds Of Prey is about the Patriarchy of society and how the females in the film overcome it.
It is a feminist message and whilst I can see that turning a lot of people off instantly, especially due to Get Woke Go Broke culture, personally I didn’t feel like it forced anything down the audience’s throat. It was there if you wanted to see it and wasn’t if you didn’t.
However, I don’t think you can deny that it does indeed exist, pretty much every male character in the film is bad whether it’s the police that Renee Montoya works with, Harley’s landlord or the villain of the piece Black Mask.
Black Mask in some way controls all of the women in the movie whether it’s appointing Dinah as his new driver, putting a bounty on Cassie’s head or forcing them to go after her he represents a white male in power who pretty does whatever he wants to the women in his employ.
Fans of the comics will know that this is a new direction for the character and the recent revelation in the marketing for the film that the villain is gay may put some diehard dark knight heads off. Again it’s not too heavy in the film but it definitely shows that this film is striving for inclusivity and representation.
Victor Zsasz is his henchman that gets far more…let’s call it preferential treatment than his female peers and is viewed almost as an equal by mask whereas the women aren’t.
In the comics Zsasz is a serial killer that carves a mark into his skin every time he makes a kill, they don’t play up quite how sadistic he is here but he does become integral to the plot after Cassandra steals a diamond from him.
This is a great example of a girl who represents the new wave of feminism going against her male overseers and making a stand that will benefit her rather than them.
Harley mirrors this and initially shows that The Joker has no control over her anymore by blowing up Ace Chemicals. This is, of course, the home of the character in many depictions and where she was created in Suicide Squad. It’s a blast in more ways than one that sends shockwaves through Gotham.
Black Mask views her a weak and defenseless female and thinks that now that she is no longer under the Joker’s protection that he can kill her without any repercussions.
Renee Montoya deduces that Harley and The Joker have fallen out and because of this she will be easy to arrest. Renee currently works in the corrupt GCPD and is very much at the mercy of her male superiors. They ignore her ideas, take credit for her work, hold her in place and thus she must break free of this which we will get into at the end.
Personally I think Renee is the weakest of the cast and there was just something that felt off about her. I’ve always been a huge fan of the character in the comics but whether it’s this, or the Dark Knight version, it’s rare that they get her right. Renee is a lesbian in the source material and she eventually ended up becoming The Question. She is far better than what the movie allows her to be and definitely the weakest out of the group.
However, that doesn’t mean that the rest follow this and I really enjoyed watching Black Canary and Huntress make their big-screen debuts.
Canary initially works as a singer but after demonstrating her skills Black Mask promotes her to his driver. In the film she discovers that she is a metahuman and can use her vocal cords to emit sonic screams. The character would eventually go on to marry Oliver Queen aka The Green arrow and I really enjoyed what they do with her in the film.
It’s revealed that Dinah is a mole in Black Mask’s organisation and that she has been feeding information to Montoya on the inner workings of his criminal activities.
Eventually see seems like a complete subordinate that will never leave the umbrella of Mask’s trappings however she manages to advance from beyond this and break the hold that he has over her and her life.
She’s a strong lead and if we get a sequel I would definitely like to see her take charge of the team as she’s a great depiction of the character.
Similar to this Huntress played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead steals every scene that she’s in. Over the years Huntress has taken on many guises and in some versions of the comic book lore, she is actually Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle’s daughter. This was retconned over the decades until it was eventually shaped into the version that we see on the big screen.
Helena Bertinelli has a reputation as ‘the crossbow’ killer but her skills go far beyond that and she is a master of martial arts. Similar to the comic books, Bertinelli was part of a rich mafia family and she watched her family die in front of her. Unlike the original work though her origins are tied more in with Black Mask and his mobsters in this movie. She was saved as a child and like Batman built her skills until she was in peak physical condition. However, unlike Batman, Bertinelli is driven by revenge and she now targets gang members in order to avenge her parent’s deaths.
Lastly is Cassandra Cain who is the biggest departure from her comic book counterpart. In the source material, Cain was the daughter of two world-class assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva. Cain was a mute that couldn’t read or write, however, due to the training she received from her parents she was a master at reading body language. Due to this, she could fight anyone on a hand to hand basis with ease because she could read what moves they were going to make, counter them and easily dispatch them.
She’s one of the coolest members of the Bat-Family and one of the best hand to hand fighters in the DC Universe. Here her portrayal feels alien and she’s devolved in several way. That’s not to say its a bad performance, it certainly isn’t it’s just a big departure.
Cain steals a rare and valuable diamond that has the location of the Bertinelli fortune and she sort of becomes the MacGuffin of the film.
The Story Summary
After Black Mask places a big bounty on her head pretty much the whole of Gotham and Harley go after Cassie. Harley becomes fond of her after growing an attachment, introduces her to her Hyena named Bruce Wayne and eventually, the group ends up being formed after they realise that Mask is controlling everything and will kill them no matter what.
The plot is rather simplistic however it is told in non chronological order to keep things engaging. This method of storytelling has been used in Deadpool and more recently The Witcher and it keeps the rather basic storyline from feeling too predictable.
It all comes to a head at a handover in which Harley promises to hand over Cassie in exchange for being free of having to constantly look over her shoulder. Canary and Zsasz go to retrieve her and Mask goes back on the deal by instructing them to betray her. It’s during this that Zsasz learns of Canary’s alliance after seeing a text message involving Montoya and he turns on her. Huntress shows up at the last moment and kills him, however Montoya arrives at the location and goes to arrest them.
Harley manages to convince the group to work together and fight of Black Mask’s incoming goons. They all team up as one and it’s an awesome action scene to finish the film with. There’s just a bone-crunching, satisfying kick to this battle and it’s arguably one of the best action scenes in a DC movie. It was filmed by the creative team behind John Wick so this does make a lot of sense and it gives the finale a real kick to it.
However Black mask manages to capture Cassie and there’s a car chase…well roller skate chase in which Harley manages to destroy his ride.
At a pier he holds Cassie hostage but she is able to kill the character with a grenade.
Birds Of Prey Ending Explained
Now to me this symbolises how feminists are almost taking the weapons of men and using it against them. Mask was pretty much someone who lorded his power over women but he was literally taken out by someone insignificant using his own power against him.
It’s a symbol that even the weakest can stand up against the strong and whether I necessarily think that’s a subtle message to end the film on I do think it that the true meaning behind it holds a lot of weight to it.
The Me Too Movement is about unity and taking toxic men out by exposing the thing that they fear the most, the true face of themselves and there is some subtext to it.
Black Mask throughout the movie is someone who lords himself like the life and soul of the party but he hides a true, violent and manipulative face that becomes exposed during the finale of the film. This symbolic gesture of a group of women making him reveal his true face and then taking him out with his own weapons does have a lot to it and yeah, DC are clearly putting more thought into their showdowns.
Or it could just be a simple action scene and yeah I might be reaching.
Birds Of Prey Suicide Squad Tie-In?
The movie ends with an epilogue of Montoya, Dinah and Huntress forming the birds of prey. This is from using the Bertinelli accounts linked directly to the diamond. Harley and Cassie pawn the Jewel and go off to start their own company together.
I did always wonder why Harley was in a Birds Of Prey film as typically she is associated predominantly with The Suicide Squad and Gotham City Sirens, however, in retrospect it was there in front of our eyes the entire time.
The full title for the film is Birds Of Prey and the Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn, therefore we know that it was about the BOP as one entity and Harley as another.
Emancipation actually means an effort to procure economic and social rights often for equality and this is pretty much the main message of the film which as we’ve discussed sees women overcoming the domineering male figures in their life.
Where Harley is going exactly we don’t know just yet however the next film featuring the character is James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Cassie will not be starring in this, at least that we know and it is unlikely that she would be wanted for Task Force X as it is mainly use for highly dangerous criminals.
It is likely that Harley will be captured once more by Amanda Waller and locked up. She is still serving a sentence and will be wanted for the team so I can see them going in this direction for the future movie.
Harley is definitely going to be different in the next film as she has sort of had a change of heart since breaking out of the toxic relationship she had with The Joker and going forward it looks like she is going to be much more of an Anti-Hero. She is definitely a mentor to Cassie now and she’s evolved in many ways.
Cassie is of course Batgirl in the comics and they could potentially go this route with the audio at the end of the film which I’ll get into in a bit.
The film also leaves room for a Birds Of Prey sequel that is more focused on the group rather than Harley and I would love to see it after this entry.
Birds Of Prey Post Credits Scene
Ok so the film doesn’t really have a post-credits scene but there is some audio and a continuation of Harley Quinn’s narration who thanks everyone for sticking around.
She reveals that she knows a secret about Batman but before we ever learn what it is the movie cuts out.
Now Harley did name her Hyena Bruce Wayne so it is likely at this point that she knows who he is. If you’ve read the Scott Snyder Batman graphic novel run that was part of the New 52 then you will know that The Joker did know who Batman was, however, he didn’t really care as he viewed it just as a facade.
In this universe, both Harley and Joker were complicit in the death of Jason Todd and it isn’t a huge leap to guess that they figured out he was connected to the billionaire.
Now what this could do is allow for Cassie to go under his wing and be trained as Batgirl similar to her comic book counterpart. We don’t know what they’re doing with Batman due to the Robert Pattinson Reboot but they could be bringing him across and potentially tying Cassie in.
I don’t know how that will happen but overall I really enjoyed the film and it made for a great watch. I was expecting this to be quite bad but I’m pleasantly surprised by it. As I said the themes I’ve mentioned in this video are there if you want to look but if you want to just turn your brain off you can enjoy the film for what it is.
Birds Of Prey is a real blast and I had a good time watching it and therefore it gets a…
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on the film and what you wanna see in the future. Comment below and let me know!