The final trailer for Cathy Yan’s directorial, Birds of Prey has arrived with a whirl, and with an abundance of costume changes, ultraviolence, and also, drug use. The film is looking to be an R-rated carnival, more in line with Deadpool than the Joker in terms of genre. But the film’s style is uniquely Yan’s, a mix of pop glamour, funhouse disorientation, and a bit of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016) grunge as well. The first superhero film release of the new decade, in a year dominated by comic book films directed by women, Birds of Prey looks to cause a whirl, and of course cause a controversy or two.
The latest trailer features plenty for comic book readers. While some fans were skeptical that Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) would shine a tad bit less to the more popular Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the film looks like the team-up it was always promised to be. Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) will be wearing his trademarked Black Mask, and Black Canary will show her meta powers with her sonic scream. A TV spot for the film even showcased Huntress in a more familiar costume, complete with a mask. Harley’s hyenas, who debuted alongside the character in Batman: The Animated Series, and Bernie the beaver, from Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti’s run, are also along for the ride. It looks like Yan and writer Christina Hodson went all in on the comic book references while still making a film that doesn’t fixate to one specific story or take on the characters. The debate over comic book accuracy over the last several months was all for nothing.
There have been speculations and claims between the audience that films like Deadpool and Logan receiving R-ratings are understandable, but not for Birds of Prey. Technically, there aren’t any superhero films from Marvel or DC that need an R-rating. Comic writers and artists have managed to keep language and violence in the teen range over the years, and a lot of that comes down to sales and merchandizing. But even comic creators have found freedom to go darker with Marvel MAX, and the current DC Black Label, which has had a recent run of excellent R-rated Harley Quinn content, and Kami Garcia, Michael Mayhew, and Mico Suayan’s Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity. Even DC Universe’s recent animated series, Harley Quinn, has gone for a mature take.