The first full trailer for Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is here, and there’s a lot to unpack, which one would expect with a title like that.
Margot Robbie reprises her role as Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad, which was one of the few shining points to be plucked out of that cluttered film. From the first few seconds of the trailer, it’s clear Robbie (who pitched and is producing the project via her own LuckyChap) is bringing the character to the forefront of her own story. “The Joker and I broke up,” she says, which is a nice way of making it clear that Jared Leto’s v won’t be in this film.
Those filling the void of partner-in-crime in Harley Quinn’s life are what make Birds of Prey exciting: The film is based on the Birds of Prey DC comics, introducing a team of female characters that the male-dominated DC universe desperately needs to diversify its filmography. While it doesn’t seem like Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman would be buddies, she’s got Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollet-Bell as vigilante Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Gotham City detective Renee Montoya, and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain joining her instead.
Women are calling the shots behind the camera, as well. Christina Hodson (Bumblebee) wrote the script, and Cathy Yan becomes the DC Universe’s first Asian female director with the film.
The trailer features a kaleidoscope of colors that are probably giving grayscale devotee Zack Snyder a headache as we speak. Ewan McGregor is crazed and formidable as mob boss Black Mask as he hunts down Harley Quinn and her gang. Amidst the explosions, fighting and mayhem, we see Harley Quinn forging a new outward identity: She cuts off her signature pigtails, making them into, well, shorter pigtails, and gains an array of outfits including a dark imagining of Marilyn in her “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” scene from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The only remnant from Suicide Squad Harley is her trusty baseball bat she uses on skulls, not home runs. On an emotional level, Harley Quinn gains depth and autonomy through her ability to incite fear in her enemies, but also bond with her accomplices.
Overall, Birds of Prey seems like it’s going to be a surreal whirlwind in the same vein as the “it’s good to be bad” antihero films hitting theaters lately: the festival-favorite Joker, the critically flamed and commercially explosive Venom, Ryan Reynolds’ gleeful Deadpool movies, and Suicide Squad itself. These types of films have garnered some controversy, with some families of the victims of the 2012 Aurora shooting writing a letter to Warner Bros expressing concerns about the Joaquin Phoenix-starring Joker, due in theaters Oct. 4. Birds of Prey will be released Feb. 7, 2020, so it’s too soon to tell what reception will accompany its release. You can watch the trailer down below to form your own take, but it seems to us Birds of Prey complicates Harley Quinn’s status as a villain. We’ll have to wait till the film lands in theaters in February to discern her true colors, although one might argue Harley Quinn’s constant dance across the line of good and evil is what makes her exciting.
Watch the trailer below.