Birds of Prey may not have set the box office on fire, but it received good reviews from audiences and critics. One of the aspects that drew particular praise was the action scenes, which were like a cross between a gritty John Wick action montage mixed with Deadpool-style violent humor. In an interview, director Cathy Yan revealed the action was initially going to be even more out there.
"When you set an action sequence in an evidence room, it's really fun and you can come up with so much stuff. We had so many different ideas. At one point [screenwriter] Christina Hodson wanted a giant double-ended [adult toy] that [Harley] had to fend off. I wanted her to have a big fluffy bear stuffed with drugs that she used as a pillow to fight with. We had to show some sort of restraint. It's a cheeky movie - unapologetically so."
The evidence room scene is one of the highlights of the film. Harley enters the Gotham police department building in search of Cassandra Kane, the young pickpocket who had swallowed the diamond coveted by crime lord Roman Sionis. Harley wants to get Cassandra back to Sionis to square her debt to him, but first must deal with a plethora of policemen and escaped convicts who corner her and Cassandra in the evidence room.
What follows is a gloriously choreographed battle between Harley and her pursuers, as she uses bags of cocaine, outsized bats and anything else she can get her hands on to maim and destroy her enemies. The scene is already a frenetically over-the-top collection of moments of Harley inflicting severe bodily injury to her male opponent's most sensitive body parts. The sight of the anti-heroine fending off the attack of giant dildos would have only exacerbated the claims of critics that the film is filled with anti-male symbolism.
The Cathy Yan led cast and crew of Birds of Prey, as well as its supporters, have hotly contested the claim that the movie is anti-male, but the fact remains that the lack of positive male characters in the story, even Batman or Commissioner Gordon, who are closely associated with the Birds of Prey crew in the comics, led certain parts of the movie audience to react negatively.
Debates will rage on for some time whether the movie was a box office dud because it went too far, or did not go too far in depicting the twisted worldview of Harley, and its treatment of male characters. With the recent digital release of Birds of Prey, perhaps the film will see a surge in popularity and gain the honorable status of 'cult hit'.
After all, despite the film's performance, Harley remains one of DC's most popular characters. Her animated series is getting a second season, with a third season likely in the works. Also, Margot Robbie will return to the big screen as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad 2, being directed by James Gunn. Digital Spy