2020 was unsurprisingly light on superhero movies, and, in fact, this was the first year since 2009 that no Marvel movie hit the big screen. But that doesn’t mean we were completely lacking in quality cape-and-cowl content–far from it. While the MCU may have been MIA through 2020, the vacuum was filled by an unexpected bright spot by the name of Birds of Prey–or, perhaps more accurately, called Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, the title it held onto for about a week or so after it hit theaters. But it’s just Birds of Prey now, and that’s what really matters.
Birds of Prey was a movie that nobody saw coming, especially given Margot Robbie’s introduction to the role of Harley Quinn back in 2016’s Suicide Squad. The movie really had no right to shape up the way it did, not with so much stacked against it. Sitting down in a theater to finally see it at release–just a month or so before the pandemic really took hold in early February–there was an overwhelming sense of both trepidation and curiosity from the crowd. Everything about this could so easily go south, or just become a Suicide Squad Part 2. It could have brought the DCEU’s winning streak to a crashing halt and regressed all the progress made right back to the rain-slicked, grey-toned monotony of days gone by.