Birds of Prey Will Have a Grounded and Character-Driven Conflict

Gotham City has always been a darker and more grounded place than most of the other fictional worlds in the DC Universe -- and that's a tone that the upcoming movie Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will be toying with a bit. The movie, which centers on Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), and Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), who face off against Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), and other members of the Gotham underworld. It will be the first time that the DC movies have really explored the city and its vigilantes, given that even in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Dark Knight went to Metropolis.

In addition to having a less polished look than something like Aquaman or Shazam!, the movie will deal with characters who are more morally gray. Harley Quinn may have been a "hero" in Suicide Squad, but in the scheme of things she is an amoral lunatic who was in league with The Joker. Of course, at the start of Birds of Prey, she isn't with The Joker anymore, and the decision to break it off with him is a big reason that she has put a target on her back.

Director Cathy Yan says that Birds of Prey will create "a more grounded, tactile quality," compared to "other films in the genre, where it can get very slick.” If that sounds a bit like the way Arrow and Batwoman exist relative to The Flash and Supergirl -- or even how Deadpool functions relative to X-Men, that is probably not a coincidence (even leaving aside the blood and the R-rating).

"Harley's never just saving the world for no reason," added screenwriter Christina Hodson. "There's always something complicated and messy and sticky and character-driven behind it."

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The new film is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) lands in theaters on February 7th.

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