Most know Harley Quinn as the Joker’s girlfriend or as his sidekick, but who is she without the criminal mastermind?
The newest edition to the DC Extended Universe, “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn,” answers this by telling the tale of Harley Quinn’s life after her breakup with the Joker. Australian actress Margot Robbie, reprises her role as Quinn from “Suicide Squad.”
“Birds of Prey” is about a bat-wielding, hyena loving, cage pushing rollerblader Harley Quinn forming an unlikely alliance with killer songstress Black Canary, a vengeful huntress and detective Renee Montoya, a woman who’s been betrayed and taken for granted too many times.
Before their relationship, Harley Quinn was Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychologist in Arkham Asylum to Gotham City’s most notorious villain and the arch-nemesis of Batman. Little did she know, the Clown Prince of Crime would be her lover.
Throughout the film, Quinn narrates moments in her life including being an orphan, getting her Ph.D., and her transition into a life of crime. This leads up to the events of “Suicide Squad” which lead up to her current situation.
Her past tricks on other criminals are catching up to her now. This is because she is no longer under the protection of the Joker.
However, the main conflict Quinn deals with throughout the film is finding her identity.
The Harley Quinn that she and the world have come to know is tied to the Joker and even though the two are not together, no one believes it. This is because Quinn is always going back to the Joker due to her unrequited love for him.
To show Gotham City she is serious about the breakup; Quinn decides to make a statement by blowing up ACE Chemicals. This was the same chemical plant she threw herself into when she became Harley Quinn.
Quinn’s final gesture doesn’t go unnoticed. Her action set into motion a chain of events such as all the black hearts of the city crawling out of their dens to collect a ransom at the price of a child’s head.
Navigating life on her own since she is single is a new challenge for her. She doesn’t handle it well by using alcohol as a coping mechanism.
At one point in the film, she unexpectedly experiences a date rape drug that’s slipped into her drink. Before anything escalates, Quinn is saved by a woman who goes by the stage name, Black Canary. Canary’s actions are used to emphasize the importance of women defending other women.
The theme of the film is female empowerment and makes it a point throughout the film to highlight the powers the girls possess as the story progresses.
Other serious matters such as slut-shaming, unity, forgiveness and not remaining silent in the face of injustice are seen in the film as well.
In Harley’s emancipation, we watch her find herself in the crimes she commits while also realizing that she doesn’t need a man to be somebody. She is a one-of-a-kind lunatic all on her own.