The first full Birds of Prey trailer just dropped and, oh boy, it looks Harley Quinn is about to spread her wings! But might be asking, “What is Birds of Prey? Is it a Suicide Squad sequel?”
The answer to the second question is yes and no. In typical spin-off fashion, a la Marvel, Birds of Prey is a means of expanding the DC Extended Universe. However, due to the critical failings of seven out of eight previous DCEU films, this one has undergone some cosmetic changes.
In its vibrant mishmash of scenes, featuring a roster of badass female anti-heroes, Margot Robbie is shown reprising her role as the chipper psychiatrist-turned-psycho, only this time Jared Leto’s laughable rendition of the Joker is nowhere to be found.
And thank God.
Instead, Quinn’s got a new gang. Batfleck has fled the scene as well, meaning Gotham has descended into crime, again. Only this time more crime? Regardless, Quinn’s new friends include Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the crossbow-toting Huntress and Jurnee Smollett-Bell as a singer with killer pipes, known as Black Canary. It’s therefore up to Quinn and her friends to stop crime lord Black Mask, played by Ewan McGregor, who appears to be taking notes from David Tennant’s unhinged portrayal of Killgrave from Jessica Jones.
The film ultimately tracks a similar story about a small team of women who seek to free themselves from the extended reach of evil men. But in case that wasn’t clear, there’s a parenthetical subtitle to make sure everyone knows, committing the film’s official title to the polysyllabic: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
The film will be the first film from the DCEU to be R-rated, which is exciting because it looks like breakout-director Cathy Yan has gone all the way with this dark action-packed comedy. And what’s more, the word “dark” is only applicable to the tone of this trailer! Clips of various set pieces boast shots of daylight, unobstructed by fog or gross special effects.
McGregor pops against the deep red interior a club with a flamboyance that feels reminiscent of Moulin Rouge (2001). Meanwhile, echoes of Leto’s Joker reverberate over Edith Piaf’s “Hymne a L’amour,” creating a sense of mania amidst the ever-present neons that characterized Suicide Squad (2016).
Also, there are hyenas. So there’s that.
Birds of Prey is set to release on February 2020.