You know how the halftime show at this last Super Bowl was supposed
to be all about female empowerment? Well,
that would be one way to describe the edgy antics by Jennifer Lopez and
Shakira, but many women would argue that they don't need pole dancing,
twerking, booty-shaking, and crotch-grabbing to prove that women can own
their own sexuality.
In “Birds of Prey,” we have the Super Bowl halftime show on
steroids. The outfits are all
“edgy,” women act outrageously and get away with it, they overpower
men in close combat, they cuss regularly, they drink to excess, and they
align themselves with mobsters whom they will later rob.
Whew. Wouldn't want to
meet any of these “ladies” in a dark alley.
The leader is Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), resplendent in pigtails
and tattoes and tight jean shorts, always with too much makeup and a
mischievous smile on her face. She's
just broken up from her longtime lover, The Joker, who's a madman in his
own right, but she breaks the caricature with her backstory of being
raised in an orphanage beaten by cruel nuns, then became a full-fledged
psychiatrist before deciding it was more fun to just be crazy herself then
listen to others enjoy it. Yes,
she tends toward freewheeling anarchy, which is decidedly selfish,
completely enthralled with doing whatever feels good at the time, whether
that's wrecking a stolen car or shooting a high-powered confetti gun in
Temporarily, Harley Quinn needs to co-operate with some other
women, notably the classic grizzled cop (Rosie Perez), the vengeful slain
mobster's daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the “Black Canary” (Jurnee
Smollett-Bell) who can sing, but also use her voice as a thuderous weapon?
(Well, this is comic book stuff, and we are in Gotham
City.) And the bad guy is none
other than a mean-spirited, psychotic killer played by Ewan
McGregor---who's a very long way from the wise Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi (in
Episode One, which is really Four—oh, never mind).
It's Harley Quinn who has the apprentice here, except that
Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) is actually a street urchin, a pickpocket
who would like to learn the elusive art of banditry from a skilled mentor.
The problem is that the character of Harley Quinn is hardly capable
of nurturing another person, or making sacrifices herself for the sake of
somebody else. That's for all
the losers out there, the ones who let other people define them.
Well, it's a statement, all right.
It remains to be seen how empowering it will be to anyone other
than those who make the money from it.