The new DC comic book movie Birds of Prey is receiving a hugely positive response from film critics after early screenings.
Margot Robbie is being singled out for praise for her “fantabulous” performance as lead character Harley Quinn, banishing the memory of the trashing received by Suicide Squad — in which she first appeared.
The film is the latest attempt by DC to move clear of the extended universe model, delivering another R-rated movie with an eye on the box office and critical success of Joker.
Read more: How Trainspotting inspired Birds of Prey
In the director’s chair is Cathy Yan, making her blockbuster debut after indie success Dead Pigs, and the script was written by Christina Hodson, who penned Bumblebee.
Critics have embraced the story thus far, making connections with John Wick, Deadpool and even The Raid 2.
The #BirdsofPrey embargo is up, so let me just say that this film is a crazy thrill ride, a little Deadpool, a little Tarantino, and 100% badass. Leave the kids at home for this one! And look out Joker, your ex might be collecting a little Gold statuette of her own next year!— Jesse Hawken (@jessehawken) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is like if John Wick were run through a crazy funhouse filter and stuffed full of glitter and f-bombs. It's everything you could ever want from #HarleyQuinn and her badass girl gang. Into this movie completely. 🤘🏻 pic.twitter.com/Y2DZgPYN2Y— Alisha Grauso (@AlishaGrauso) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is a riot - oozing with attitude and some of the most inventive, bone-crunching fight sequences in the superhero genre to date. I went in with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but has style to spare.— Laura Prudom (@LauInLA) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is KILLER. A slow start and awkward plotting doesn’t stop the movie, and these characters, from soaring in the end. Wildly violent, F bombs out the wazoo, and the best bat fight scene since The Raid 2. If Margot Robbie could control this part of the DCEU, she should. pic.twitter.com/bewnj8npaJ— Eric Francisco (@EricFrancisco24) January 29, 2020
#BirdsofPrey is an absolute blast & undeniably fun live wire jolt of adrenaline. Delightfully devilish & deliriously wicked,this irreverent, rule-breaking riot delivers a contact high. Cathy Yan is a genius. Robbie, Smollett, Winstead, Perez & Basco are perfection. @birdsofpreywb pic.twitter.com/D72F2D1apY— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) January 29, 2020
#BirdsOfPrey has terrific action, humor & some of the more memorable characters we’ve seen in a DC movie, but the biggest highlight is Margot Robbie. She is fantabulous as Harley, while also proving that sometimes our most valued relationships are the ones we have w/ good food pic.twitter.com/EDQ3sr5JtL— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) January 29, 2020
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the movie though, with a couple of reviews noting that Birds of Prey isn’t quite as slick a package as some other comic book stories.
#BirdsOfPrey: winning characters, above-average action, and a killer soundtrack hampered by uneven tone and pacing. The girls at their best together, and they're not together enough. Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Huntress is the not-so-secret MVP. 💕— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) January 29, 2020
Our own @JimmytotheO flew in for an early screening of @birdsofpreywb. “While ultimately it’s a fun time, the film itself is a bit of a mess. Thankfully it’s occasionally a beautiful disaster, one that offers the cast the chance to shine. Ewan McGregor is terrific, as is Robbie” pic.twitter.com/FKPUD7auA8— JoBlo.com (@joblocom) January 29, 2020
The story picks up Harley Quinn after a split from the Joker and sees her joining forces with other super-powered women to save a young girl from a crime lord portrayed by Ewan McGregor.
The rest of the supporting cast includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya.
In the wake of Shazam and Joker, this is the latest DC-inspired movie to largely steer clear of inter-connectivity with the wider universe, though all of the films feature nods to the rest of the franchise.
Wonder Woman 1984 is due to arrive later this year for DC, with the currently filming The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson, and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad coming in 2021.
Robbie first pitched DC the idea for Birds of Prey as far back as 2015 and fought for a female director to have the chance to helm the movie.
Birds of Prey will be released in UK cinemas on 7 February.
A pop-up roller disco is currently in place in London to promote the release of the movie.