Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) ★★★★

2020 is a landmark year for superhero films, with four of the major superhero film releases being directed by women. Birds of Prey: and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn kicks off this history making event with gusto, and can proudly lay claim to the fact that it’s the only one both written and directed by women, with Christina Hodson and Cathy Yan respectively behind the creative wheel for this DC flick.

For anyone who skipped Suicide Squad (namely, this writer), Birds of Prey kicks off with a brief scene setting rundown as to why Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn breaking up with the Joker is important. The toxic relationship between Joker and Harley Quinn being torn apart is a welcome reminder that abusive, manipulative, controlling boyfriends can quite positively go take a long walk off a short pier. As the ultimate act of ‘burn all of his shit to the ground’, Harley Quinn destroys the ACME Chemicals facility where she sacrificed her past self to become the Joker’s servant. This act announces to all of Gotham that this iconic, unshakeable couple are no more, and Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) and just about all of the street thugs around, want their piece of Harley Quinn.