Birds of Prey | Is Harley Quinn’s Emancipation Worth the Visual?

The word emancipation is utilized as an act of freedom from control or power. Take for instance our country’s infamous Emancipation Proclamation. This act made America it’s own free entity. A term used in our culture for teenagers freed from parental control is an emancipated minor. In music the term has often been referred to as well, most infamously for Mariah Carey’s 2005 megahit album “The Emancipation of Mimi”; an album where Carey referred to herself as free from the restraints that previously defined her career. Similar to Mimi’s declaration of emancipation you will find our newest addition to freedom in Harley Quinn. Mostly known recently for her flamboyant presence alongside the Joker in Suicide Squad, Quinn has been a fixture in the evolution of Batman for quite some time. After tepid reviews of the aforementioned film, a film devoted just to her story began in the works and recently hit the big screen. The question is does her emancipation hit or is it a miss?

For those unfamiliar with the story of Harley Quinn, you will find that she is highly corky and with a great level of octane. She is vibrant in her colors to her personality. And most of all, she is rebellious in every sense of the word. All of that is exuded within the first few moments of the film. The movie kicks off with Quinn dealing with a breakup from Joker and her living in the aftermath in Gotham City. What eventually starts off as a quest to bring her to justice, later becomes a heist for a diamond that sees Quinn work with fellow female Fatales to defeat a male-dominated society. If you thought this film would follow the overly emotional flow of Joker, you are terribly wrong. Quinn fights off her heartbreak with cheesy cliches and ridiculous routines. 

What works for the film, however, is its dynamic cast and its impeccable visuals. The colors and vivid display brought to the big screen do wonder for what at times is a hard film to truly believe, even if it is based on fictional characters. The same can be said for the unlikely cast of females brought together for the film. If any other would’ve taken either of the roles, the overall product would’ve been deemed perhaps ineffective at best.

Is the film the greatest of the year? Far from. What it is, however, is a dynamic twist on the importance of mental health in a completely new light. Our protagonist is not stifled in depression, nor is she consumed with an obsession over her former lover. Instead, she turns her heartbreak into an act of feminism. Because of this, the end result is a pleasant sitter that will entertain even the most skeptical of critics. 

Welcome to emancipation, Harley. 

February 18, 2020

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