This is just my own personal two cents about Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Harley Quinns. I will keep it basically spoiler free.
I thought it was decent, but nothing spectacular. I’m not so married to canon that I cannot enjoy comicbook movies where things have been changed. That said there has to be SOME CONNECTION to the original content…don’t just pull a name out of the comics and give it to a character who shares NOTHING with that character (Cain).
I think Margot Robbie has fallen into the same trap Hugh Jackman did with Wolverine at the beginning. While their initial performance garnered them kudos for an accurate representation, they tried to expand that character past the scope of what makes them special. What I mean is Jackman tried to make Wolverine a straight hero rather than an anti-hero and he ended up diluting the very thing that people enjoyed about that character. I think he was able to course correct later on, but when he started giving too much input to the scripts he made mistakes. To me, Harley is the spice that goes into a dish rather than the protein…the right amount makes something special, too much ruins dinner.
The treatment all the other characters got was criminal (pun intended). Literally no one was anything close to what they were conceived as (I guess Huntress was the closest which isn’t saying much). Ewan McGregor was completely wasted in his role as Black Mask. Just no character development or drive shown whatsoever. Which leads me to the costuming by Erin Benach (Drive, The Host). This was a train wreck from the start….horrible, horrible costume choices for everyone from Black Mask down Huntress. I understand they were trying to make some sort of statement, but it just fell flat IMHO. When you have a character like Huntress who has gone through many costume changes in the comics, you have the freedom to make changes and do something cool without ruffing the feathers of the diehard fans. It just seems like a missed opportunity to have her run around in baggy leather pants and a bad sports bra. With as much complaint that came from Robbie over the costume choices in Suicide Squad she has an odd way of following it up here. Someone needed to step in and just say “No!”.
There are plenty of other R Rated crime thrillers that capture the sort of madcap rollercoaster ride Birds of Prey COULD have been. Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) has made it an art form. If you take Snatch for example, that even includes the plot device of a diamond that has been ingested, you see what can be done with a movie with no real “hero” and nothing more than a bunch of bad guys being bad guys. Harley Quinn just lacked anything in the script really clever and was sort of a lazy (albeit manic) walk from beginning to end. All of this coupled with a lacking soundtrack and you end up with something worth watching once, but not really special in any way.
On the plus side the fight choreographer Jon Valera and stunt coordinator Jonathan “Jo Jo” Eusebio had some really inspired moments in the film, hats off to these two pros! While Cathy Yan came up a little bit short with the direction, I am looking forward to seeing what she does in the future. It sounds like I am being overly harsh on this movie and maybe that is true. The fact is I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t like it as much as I had hoped. DC again puts out a subpar product in a long line of subpar products. I desperately want to see them break out and produce better movies, the kind of movies I know they can make and the kind of movies we deserve.