Birds of Prey: How Cathy Yan Set Her Film Apart From Other Superhero Team-Up Movies

When it comes to superhero team-up movies there's usually an emphasis on the team. With films like Marvel's Avengers or even with DC's Justice League, the focus of the film is less on the individual characters and more their interaction as a group coming together with a common goal. However, when it comes to Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) while the film does see Harley (Margot Robbie) come together with Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) as they try to rescue Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) from Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), the film is very individual character forward, something that makes this team-up unique.

Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan spoke with at the film's premiere event and explained that while other team-up films had great references for her, Birds of Prey really only sees the team-up later and in a way that is, perhaps, a little less unified.

"I watched all of them and they're great references for me and I think what's unique about this movie is that you spend so much time alone with all of these characters at first," Yan said. "You get to know them, you understand that they have different goals actually and different arcs and it's only kind of at the end that they come together and it's not always, it's more out of convenience than out of, like, the good of everyone's heart, certainly for Harley and so I think that's really nice. I think that it gives you time to really understand these characters separately before they team up and because of that like I think the collision of desires and wants and goals was really what was so fun about this movie."

It's this kind of individualized approach that helps Birds of Prey stand out in a different way. While there are connections between Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad, it's its own unique film and, on that same path, remains its own unique film even with James Gunn's upcoming The Suicide Squad coming up next year. According to producer Sue Kroll, Birds of Prey isn't setting up for The Suicide Squad. The film is its own, standalone offering.

"This was designed to be its own thing, standalone, singular, as is James's Suicide Squad," Kroll said. "But because the world is the world, there are these very interesting organic connections, I think, that end up evolving, but there wasn't any kind of consultation among the filmmakers on the movies. And they, of course, started much later, as we were getting close to wrap, and so things were done pretty much independently. But something like for example Boomerang, it's interesting, when they started shooting and planning Suicide Squad, it evolved, his photo evolved out of that kind of conversation. So those kinds of connections, but very organic."


Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) opens on February 7th. The Suicide Squad opens on August 6, 2021. Other upcoming DC Films projects include Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5th, The Batman on June 25, 2021, Black Adam on December 22, 2021, Shazam! 2 on April 1, 2022, Super Pets on May 20, 2022, The Flash on July 1, 2022, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.