The newest Birds of Prey trailer kicked ass and gave us so many fantabulous moments. Here are some of our favorites!
We’re about a month out from the February 7th release of Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), and Warner Bros. has delivered a second, story-centered trailer filled with badass fight scenes, wild frenetic energy, and a whole lot of the Birds of Prey working and interacting together.
It does a fantastic — or should I say, fantabulous — job of building on the first trailer, which highlighted the tone and aesthetic of Birds of Prey, gave a quick introduction of the Birds of Prey team, but mostly featured the most popular character among general fans — Harley Quinn.
This second trailer is the story trailer, featuring a voiceover from Harley Quinn that gives the basic summary of Birds of Prey, while doing more to introduce the major characters and giving them all their to shine.
Let’s highlight all of our favorite moments!
The moment that makes it obvious Birds of Prey is R-rated
In the trailer, we see Harley being attacked by a bunch of henchmen and taking cover behind a huge stack of cocaine. The henchmen shoot at the cocaine and Harley takes in a big sniff of it and — well, you saw what happened next.
Scenes like this, along with the violence and what I’m sure will be a prodigious amount of curse words, show that director Cathy Yan is taking her R-rating and having a lot of fun with it.
This is great for a few reasons, the first being that one of the early things that got me excited about Birds of Prey was the fact that Yan stated that it would be a rated-R film.
This was still early in the film-making process, which means it could’ve gotten changed at any time; the fact that it didn’t shows to me that Warner Bros. has given Cathy Yan major creative control over her feature (as it should be), allowing her to tell her story in the exact way that she wanted to tell it.
I’m also pleased to see this because while I don’t think that every comic book movie needs to be rated-R (in fact, I’m of the opinion that many of them shouldn’t be), I do hate the line of thinking that comic book movies need to only be made one way or with one audience in mind.
Comic books themselves are a medium, not a genre, which means that they contain a variety of genres within them, all targeting vastly different audience types. Comic book movies should follow the same model, and fans should be excited to see not only R-rated comic book movies but different types of R-rated movies.
Birds of Prey has an R-rating the same way that Joker or Deadpool had R-ratings, but it will give us a wildly different tone and story than either of those films. That’s exciting — or should be exciting — for fans of comic book movies. I know it certainly is to me.
A cameo by Dr. Harleen Quinzel
Harley Quinn’s place in popular culture has always been at the side of the Joker, despite the fact that her most interesting stories have always been about her leaving him and living her own full, complex life away and outside of him. There’s also always the tendency to forget about who she was before meeting the Joker, another result of popular culture and general audiences only seeing her as the Joker’s girlfriend.
But before Harley Quinn was the girlfriend to the Joker, she was Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a competent psychologist who entered the profession as a way to understand her own dysfunctional family.
In the Birds of Prey trailer, we see a brief glimpse of Dr. Harleen who seemingly pulls verbiage straight from her psychologist background as she talks to Helena about the folly of vengeance.
It only lasts for a moment, and in the next scene, she shifts right back into frenetic energy of Harley Quinn, but that scene not only pays tribute to Harley’s psychology background but paints Harley as a fuller, more complex character who existed as more than just Joker’s girlfriend.
That’s something that Birds of Prey is obviously making one of its main goals, to the benefit of both Harley Quinn and audiences who will be watching.
Comic book accuracy
When the first trailer first came out, there were a certain contingency of fans who were anywhere from slightly upset to full on furious that the characters in Birds of Prey weren’t comic-accurate enough.
All of these complaints were silly (it was only the first trailer, why would they give everything away so early?), many of them were stupid (none of these complainers had even seen the movie) and some were just plain racist (people were mad at Jurnee Smollett-Bell being cast as Black Canary because she is black).
With the second trailer, at least two of the biggest “controversies” have been laid to rest. The first being that Ewan McGregor’s Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, was seen with nary a black mask in his vicinity in the first trailer. However, Roman Sionis was given two full scenes of him in a Black Mask, confirming that Roman will indeed make his debut as the Batman supervillain in the film.
The second major complaint had a lot to do with Black Canary being comic book accurate in terms of costuming, casting and her powers.
In general, I tend to roll my eyes at complaints about comic book accurate costuming or casting, as the first is generally men, mad that women aren’t scantily clad, and the second is generally racists, who are mad that their favorite lily-white actor or actress didn’t get cast. That was certainly the case here with Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s casting and costuming, which are complaints so stupid they’re not worth wasting any more words on.
Those complaints aside, there were a substantial number of fans worried that Black Canary would be disempowered, much in the way that Cassandra Cain — one of the deadliest fighters in the DC comics world — seems to have been.
However, fans — cynics and supporters alike — were mollified when Black Canary not only displayed her fighting prowess (she’s also one of the best fighters in DC Comics!) but showed off her iconic Canary Cry. It confirmed that Birds of Prey will fully lean into its comic booky-ness, and that we’ll definitely all come out of the movie stanning Black Canary (if you aren’t already).
Ladies supporting ladies
In the last 20 years, there have been a whopping 71 superhero films, and a grand total of four female-led ones. The most recent female-led film, Captain Marvel, was the first to have a substantial female friendship that got a good amount of screen time.
That’s frankly pathetic and makes me more than a little bit sad, which is why I’ve been so excited for Birds of Prey, a movie which features multiple women in leading roles, playing different types of superheroes (and anti-heroes, in the case of Harley Quinn), who find common ground and team up to take down an opposing force that’s bigger than any one of them individually, but has no chance against them collectively.
It’s the kind of story that male superheroes (and, I’ll be fair, the one female superhero) have gotten over the last two decades, and is now being given to all female superheroes.
And while I’m sure the initial drive to team up will be riddled with bickering and reluctance — as is par for the course for these team up films — I was thrilled to see scenes of all these different female heroes interacting and supporting each other. More female superhero team-ups in 2020, please!
Ladies kicking ass
I’m grateful to Birds of Prey for giving us a movie that will have a variety of complex, complicated women supporting one another and coming together to defeat a bad guy.
But I’m also grateful to Birds of Prey for giving us a movie where a whole lot of women will be kicking a whole lot of ass.
I’m just really so grateful for this whole movie and cannot wait to see it next month!