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Film / Birds of Prey (2020)

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"I'm the one they should be scared of! Not you! Not Mister J. Because I'm Harley fuckin' Quinn!"
Harley Quinn

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), also marketed as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, is an action/comedy superhero film based on the comic book characters of the same name, and the eighth installment in the DC Extended Universe. It is directed by Cathy Yan, written by Christina Hodson (Shut In, Unforgettable, Bumblebee), and produced by Margot Robbie through her company, LuckyChap Entertainment. An uncredited Chad Stahelski (of John Wick fame) supervised some action scenes as second unit director.

Some time after the events of Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn (Robbie) starts a new life after breaking up with The Joker. When a teenage pickpocket, Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), unwittingly steals a diamond belonging to crime lord Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), Harley joins forces with a group of female asskickers consisting of Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) to protect her.


The film is rated R in the US for "strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material", a first for the DCEU, though Batman v Superman's Ultimate Edition re-release was also rated R. The film is also the shortest thus far in the franchise at 108 minutes long with the rest of the films clocking in at over 130 minutes.

It was released on February 7, 2020. Due to its early release date, Birds of Prey was ultimately one of the few major franchise films to be theatrically released worldwide in 2020, before the COVID-19 Pandemic shut everything down.

Previews: Teaser 1, Teaser 2, Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Soundtrack Trailer.

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Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) contains examples of the following tropes:

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  • 0% Approval Rating: The Black Mask is objectively worse, given the whole face-peeling thing and penchant for sexual assault; however, he's able to command a network of criminals who feel indebted to him or want to be paid by him. Harley, on the other hand, is more sympathetic yet universally loathed. Everywhere she goes in the film, there are multiple people out for her neck. And she's broke, so she can't pay them off to leave her alone.
  • Abusive Dad: According to Harley, her father traded her for a six pack of beer and when she kept coming back several times, he ditched her to the Good Sisters of St. Bernadette.
  • Action Girl: With the exception of Cassandra, all of the Birds of Prey count as this: Harley, Helena, Renee and Canary can beat the ever-living crap out of any mook stupid enough to go up against them.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • The Birds of Prey are having Mexican food for lunch. Harley and Cassandra excuse themselves to the bathroom... though that was a cover-up story for stealing Canary's car and making off with the diamond, plus ditching the bill for lunch for the other three to pay up. While Canary is distraught, Huntress laughs her head off at this.
    • Earlier in the movie, Zsasz laughs at the people Cassandra managed to pickpocket. He stops laughing once he realizes that he was one of them, and that she stole the diamond that becomes the movie's main MacGuffin.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Out of the main five characters, Helena, Harley, Renee, and Cassandra are all relative newcomers to the Gotham corner of the DC universe (given that it’s eighty years old). Helena Bertinelli was created in 1989 to replace Helena Wayne who was previously Huntress before the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot in 1986. Harley and Renee were created in 1992 for Batman: The Animated Series. Renee appeared in the main DC Universe a few months before she was in the show but Harley didn’t make the move until 1999. That was the same year that Cassandra was created for the Batman: No Man's Land Batfamily Crossover. Black Canary is the only “classic” character being used (created in 1947) but Dinah Lance didn’t get powers or take over for her mom until 1983. All of them are beating much older characters to appearing in this universe like Dick Grayson or Barbara Gordon.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In the film, the impetus for Huntress getting involved in Harley's problems is that Zsasz was one of the mooks who killed Huntress's family. In the comics, Zsasz had nothing to do with it.
  • Advertised Extra: Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress has only a handful of brief scenes before the third act. This is partially due to Harley being extra dominant in the movie and the actual Birds of Prey characters are in supporting roles in comparison.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Harley says that she has all of her best ideas while drunk. This includes stealing a tanker and using it blow up Ace Chemicals. This very public breakup with the Joker paints a huge target on her back.
  • Alien Lunch: Among the touches appealing to Harley in her bodega sandwich include that the cheese is six months past its expiration date and that it often includes stray hairs.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: When Harley blows up the chemical plant, it creates a bunch of very colorful, almost firework-like explosions. This isn't as silly as it seems, as many chemicals do create fire/sparks in different colors than the standard yellowish-orange fire when burned (indeed, burning chemicals like this is how fireworks are made in the first place.)
  • Ambiguously Bi: Roman. He has a preoccupation with various women's "pretty face[s]" and also has an ambiguously romantic relationship with Zsasz. Notably, the camera gives close-ups to Zsasz seething with jealousy both when Roman talks about bringing in Mr. Keo's boys and when Roman appears to develop a horrible Villainous Crush on the female Dinah Lance.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Zsasz is deeply devoted to Roman. He's shown being jealous more than once when Roman exhibits interest in other people, and goes on a lengthy tirade about how Roman needs him to take care of him.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The Joker and Harley once turned a fun house of the Gotham Amusement Mile into one of their lairs, as they often do in comics and animation. Harley decides to wait for Sionis there with Cassie, and the Final Battle eventually happens there, though in this case it's turned against the bad guys. The place is still ominous-looking with its Venetian mask-like entrance and the finale happening in a dark and foggy night.
  • Anachronic Order: The first two acts of the film jump around in time with plenty of How We Got Here, until everything comes together linearly in the third act.
    • Lampshaded at one point by Harley: "Hold up, hold up. I'm tellin' this all wrong. Let's rewind." *cue jump to a week ago*
  • Animated Credits Opening: Harley's backstory up to her break-up with "Mistah J" is depicted with traditional animation.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: According to Harley, the last reason Roman Sionis hates her guts is the fact that she voted for Bernie.
  • Art Shift: The illustrations for Harley's backstory with the Joker have the style of a children's comic book.
  • Aside Comment
    • While Harley is talking to Roman Sionis, she turns to look at the audience and says "I agitate his already delicate sense of mental equilibrium. That and his obsessive-compulsive need to be the center of attention."ng
    • Harley defeats several opponents who are trying to kill or capture her, including Detective Montoya. As she climbs a rope up to the second story of a building, she looks at the audience and says, as a Character Narrator, "Fine. It was dumb luck. But still..." and then says (out loud) "That felt pretty great."
    • At the end of the movie, Harley Quinn and Cassandra are driving away in a car together.
      • Harley turns to the camera and says " I know what you're thinking. You think I'm a dick after all that. But you heard what the cop said. Sionis is gone. And those guys? They're gonna be just fine."
      • At the very end of the movie, Harley looks into the camera and says via voiceover "Yeah, yeah. I made the kid my apprentice. Call me a softy." Then she says aloud "I dare you."
  • Aside Glance: Harley is talking with Cassandar Cain in a vehicle. When Cassandra says she can't give Harley a diamond because she swallowed it, Harley glances at the camera with a frustrated look on her face.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • All of Helena's targets were complicit to the murder of her family so they of course deserve it. Incidentally more than a few of them are out to kill Harley so it works to her advantage.
    • The sleazy pet shop owner who provides the hyena to Harley wanted sex with her as payment. She killed him and fed him to the hyena.
  • Attempted Rape: At least thrice in the film, Harley is implied to have been threatened with sexual assault. The first instance is most blatant, with a pet shop owner lasciviously asking her to pay him "in kind." (She feeds him to a hyena.) The second time, she's drunk and the sexual intent isn't as explicitly stated, but heavily implied. Third time is when she's pursued by a man whose grievance against her is simply rendered on the screen as an eggplant emoji that's crossed out, which could have been Harley fending off unwanted advances through violence, as with the first man.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Harley has a short attention span, as she's easily distracted by food, purses and cartoons.
    Canary: Harley, focus!
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: When Harley takes Cassandra back to her apartment, Cassandra asks "This is where you live?" in a disbelieving tone. Harley starts making a defensive comment about how she's lived in worse places, but then Cassandra finishes her comment by saying she's thinks it's awesome.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Harley, Dinah, and Helena all bare their midriffs for much of the film, including the climax.
  • Battle in the Rain: An indoor version. Harley Quinn accidentally triggers the sprinkler system inside the cellblock while attempting to open Cassandra's cell, creating a massive downpour. A few moments later, Cassandra's door springs open. It's only as she is helping Cass out of the cell that Harley notices that all of the cell doors have opened. The escaping thugs rush her and she fights back, all while being drenched by the sprinklers.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Completely averted, as all the main female characters get grubby, bruised and cut during the fight scenes.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: This may as well be called Beware The Silly Ones: The Movie. Harley is as loony as ever, but she's a veritable fighting machine.
  • Big Bad: Roman Sionis (a.k.a. Black Mask) is the main antagonist.
  • Big Eater: Harley is shown to be obsessed with food throughout the movie. She is always looking for something to eat when she's not fighting bad guys, such as pursuing a bacon, egg, cheddar sandwich, taking refuge at a Taiwanese food shop where she orders extra-spicy Mongolian beef and robbing a grocery store because she's out of groceries (despite living in a restaurant!).
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: On one side is Black Mask, a Psychopathic Manchild, his Straw Nihilist hit-man Zsasz and every criminal and mercenary in the city. On the opposite side is a renegade cop, a former lounge singer who now works as Black Mask's driver, an Anti-Hero vigilante, a pickpocket, and Harley.
  • Black Comedy: Most of Harley's antics wouldn't be out of place in Borderlands.
  • Bloodier and Gorier:
    • For the "bloodier" part, some fights clearly spatter blood, which is a first for fights between humans in the DCEU (even Batman's warehouse fight scene was mostly a Bloodless Carnage in the theatrical version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).
    • For the "gorier", Zsasz's first scene has him cutting an unfortunate mobster's face off, and at the end Black Mask is blown to bits by a grenade.
  • Blue/Orange Contrast: In The Oner scene where Renee narrates a flashback of Helena's murders, the past is shot in orange while the present is shot in blue.
  • Book-Ends:
    • Near the beginning of the movie, Harley is having Margaritas with her Roller Derby teammates but takes off after she overhears them talking about how they don't believe she can make it on her own and how she'll be running back to Joker as soon as he snaps his fingers at her. When Harley and her new friends go for celebratory drinks at the end of the film, it's the same bar and the same tray of Margaritas. Also both times she ditches her friends and runs off.
    • The day after the Ace Chemicals incident, Harley fails repeatedly to have a bite of her perfect egg sandwich. At the end of the film, Cassandra hands her a sandwich and she finally gets to take a bite out of it as the two set off into the unknown.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Harley talks to the audience directly or glances at them a few times.
  • Break-Up Bonfire:
    • Taken Up to Eleven when Harley destroys the Ace Chemicals facility (where Dr. Harleen Quinzel was reborn as Harley Quinn) as a way to leave her previous life with the Joker behind. The place goes up in fireworks-like flames.
    • After Ellen rats on her to the police chief getting her suspended, Montoya tears up all the pictures of her ex from her mirror and is about to light them on fire when she gets interrupted by a text from Dinah.
  • Breast Attack: During one of their fights, Renee punches Harley right in the tit. Harley even lampshades it.
  • Brick Joke: When Cassandra gets out of her half of the handcuffs and leaves them both on Harley, Harley says "You've got to teach me that one." Apparently she did, as Harley later pulls it on Renee.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Harley loves wearing bright colors and dying her hair, and while calling her evil is a stretch, she is certainly not a good guy.
  • Broken Bird: Most of the main characters have tragic backstories that make them cold or distrustful of others.
    • Nobody from the GCPD was there for Dinah's mother when she was killed by armed gangs. On top of that, Dinah is implied to have painful experiences with past romance, judging by her first conversation with Harley.
    • Cassandra's adoptive parents constantly fight each other and are woefully neglectful of her.
    • Then there is Helena, whose entire family was gunned down by a rival mafia family and only surviving by being hidden by her mother's corpse and one of the men working for the rival family smuggling her out and training her to be an assassin.
    • As for Harley, this film reveals that in addition to all the trauma being with the Joker brought, she has serious Daddy Issues due to her father constantly trying to get rid of her and her always coming back no matter how much he abused her. She's also dealing with the fallout of breaking up with Mistah J with all the emotional and safety concerns it brought, so she begins the film in a much more vulnerable position than usual.
  • Bullying a Dragon: For some reason, some normal people in Gotham think it's a good idea to threaten or take advantage of Harley, despite knowing she's a violent criminal. Such people rarely live to realize their mistake.
  • The Burlesque of Venus: The poster released in early December 2019 mimics The Birth of Venus.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Due to the breakup, Harley loses the protection her Joker's girlfriend status granted her, and she keeps bumping into various vengeful people the Joker and her harmed or did unpleasant things to. She doesn't remember what she did to a number of them, but they surely do.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Harley Quinn, as being the Joker's former accomplice, everyone in Gotham is out to get her for the fact she has horribly mistreated everyone she interacts with. Because of all the new enemies she brought upon herself, she can't even have a moment to enjoy her bacon and egg sandwich, her biggest priority throughout the whole movie other than saving her skin. She notes that because of her Parental Abandonment by her father, she's become a Broken Bird and this is what's led her down a bad path of crime and violence.
    • Detective Montoya. She tries to arrest Harley for her arson act on ACE Chemicals, but fails miserably; her clothes are ruined and she gets stuck for the rest of the day wearing an embarrassing t-shirt that further undermines her authority and credibility. None of her colleagues back her up. This continues throughout the film as she gets her ass handed to her in humiliating ways whenever she fights until she joins Harley's side for the Final Battle.
    • Helena/Huntress. Everyone calls her "the Crossbow Killer" instead of "Huntress," she is only able to finish the introduction she practices in the mirror once without someone interrupting her, and she doesn't know to order the #32 extra spicy to cover up the horrible taste.
  • Call-Back: Harley sees a wanted poster featuring Captain Boomerang. She mentions that she's met him before (in the film Suicide Squad). Later, she 'very quickly' recounts the plot of that movie to Cassandra.
  • Camp: While not without its subtler or serious dramatic moments, the film is a lot more flashy, over-the-top, and zany than other films in the DCEU, exacerbated by the fact that Harley Quinn is its protagonist (and narrator). While an action scene featuring her contemporaries will likely be pretty straightforward, Harley's involves antics like mowing through some police station staff with a gun that shoots psychedelic confetti, or getting involved in a car-based Chase Fight on rollerskates.
  • Cardboard Box of Unemployment: Seen at the end of the film, when Renee Montoya quits the police force after realizing she's never going to be given any credit for her achievements.
  • Car Fu: When Harley starts chasing after Black Mask's Rolls-Royce on roller skates, she gets sideswiped by a car full of mooks who are following Black Mask.
  • Carnival of Killers: After Harley goes to retrieve Cassandra from the police station, Sionis posts a $500,000 bounty for bringing Cassandra to him alive and sends it to every hired gun in Gotham, who converge on Harley and her cargo.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: In a fight in a funhouse, Harley starts fighting while wearing roller skates. Dinah wonders how she managed to put them on so fast.
  • The Chanteuse: Dinah starts out as a singer at Sionis' club.
  • Character in the Logo: The font used for the title has some letters include weapons representing the protagonists in their shape. The bow and arrow represent Huntress, the mallet represents Harley, the baseball bat is Black Canary (the same one from Suicide Squad which she borrowed from Harley), the brass knuckles represent Renee Montoya. Cassandra doesn't get a weapon but is presumably represented by the diamond (which is what she stole from Black Mask).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Cassandra picks up some grenades before the Final Battle that she later uses to kill Black Mask.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • At the beginning of the film we're shown how Harley is a badass Roller Derby player and how her team whips her to gain speed. She (with the help of Helena) uses both of these skills when chasing Roman's car.
    • Cassandra's skills as a thief, demonstrated in the movie's beginning, come in very handy later on.
  • City of Adventure: Gotham City; in probably the first time since Burton and Schumacher's movies, Gotham isn't just a stand-in for real-world New York, Chicago, or Philadelphia, it's a weird place with giant chemical plants and amusement parks, while most of the populace seem to either be costumed criminals or so used to costumed criminals they don't bat an eye at them.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The film gets a lot of mileage out of its R rating in most aspects but it particularly gets it from the language. F-bombs are thrown around regularly.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
    • Zigzagged. Renee Montoya and Cassandra Cain are referred to by their civilian names, while the rest are introduced by their code names (Harley Quinn instead of Harleen Quinzel, Black Canary instead of Dinah Lance, and Huntress instead of Helena Bertinelli). Then again, neither Cassandra nor Renee use their comic book superhero identities in this story anyway.
    • In an ironic twist, everyone refers to Helena as "The Crossbow Killer" even to her face despite her chosen moniker of Huntress.
    • On the villains side, Roman is only ever referred to as Black Mask once, and by a less than credible source.
  • Composite Character
    • Harley has one hyena pet instead of the usual two.note 
    • Roman Sionis takes Santo Cassamento's place as The Man Behind the Man to the death of the Bertinellis.
    • This version of Black Canary is explicitly Dinah Laurel Lance, but her initially working for the bad guy before revealing herself as a hero is taken from her mother, Dinah Drake; Dinah Sr isn't explicitly named but she is referenced as having operated as a vigilante before.
  • Continuity Nod: To the film Suicide Squad.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: It's implied the chemical plant was unoccupied when Harley blew it up, as most people would considering killing hundreds of innocents in what's basically a terrorist attack to be a Moral Event Horizon, not to mention there would be a lot more people from law enforcement than just the Gotham Police after her if she did do that.
  • Cool Pet: Harley adopts a pet hyena and names it "Bruce" (after "that hunky Wayne guy"). This is a staple of the character going back to Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Corporal Punishment: The child Harley is shown being paddled by a nun in the animated intro.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: The soundtrack includes a dark and moody cover of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" when all the female characters and Roman Sionis are heading towards the Amusement Mile for the final showdown.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Holy shit. Szass flays the Keos' faces off while they are still alive, although he at least slits the wife's throat first. Later on, he's interrogating Harley and waving a knife in her face, implying he plans to do the same to her. While she tries to act like her normal, snarky self, it's clear she's scared out of her mind.
  • Curbstomp Battle:
    • An entire police station against Harley by her lonesome. No surprise who's getting the worst of it.
    • Dinah versus the thugs trying to kidnap Harley. They don't have a chance. It even impresses Sionis to the point of appointing her as his driver on the spot.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Harley throws knives at a crude drawing she made of the Joker's face and pinned on a wall of her apartment following their breakup.
  • Dead Foot Leadfoot: Happens when Harley knocks out all of the 'Mercedes gang', including the driver. He slumps forward on the steering wheel, with his foot still on the accelerator. The car continues to accelerate until it crashes and explodes.
  • Dead Man Honking: Harley jumps into the back of a Mercedes while its moving and beats up the goons inside, intermittently pounding the driver's head against the steering wheel causing it to honk each time, until he's eventually knocked unconscious and falls forward making the horn blare constantly.
  • Delayed "Oh, Crap!": Both Harley and Roman need a second or two to realize what Cass meant when she said she took one of Harley's rings before holding up her hand to show the ring with the pin of a grenade Cass had previously swiped from Harley's arsenal hooked on her finger.
  • Destructive Romance: It isn't presented as a quick and easy justification for her current villainy and amorality, but the movie does explicitly depict the Joker-Harley relationship as a toxic, abusive one.
  • Determinator: Montoya is fired for tampering with evidence, but that doesn't stop her from still working to bring Harley to justice.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Harley admits this word-by-word when she threw away her Mr. J necklace at the Ace Chemicals compound that she blew up with a tanker truck. The necklace is all the evidence needed for GCPD forensics to not only identify Harley as the perpetrator, but that something happened between the two. Immediately after discovering it, Renee remarks that given how her relationship with The Joker was her life insurance by that point, Harley just declared open season on herself.
    • Cassandra's final resort to hide the diamond even after everyone knows she stole it is to swallow the diamond whole. Of course that just angers everyone who wants the diamond and now want to cut her open.
  • Dinner Order Flub: At Doc's restaurant, Harley advises Cass to always order his Mongolian beef with extra hot sauce to completely mask the taste. A few minutes later, Huntress enters and, having no idea what she's getting into, orders the dish "mild".
  • Disney Death: When Harley's apartment is attacked it seems as though Bruce is killed. In the ending Harley explains that she subsequently finds him wandering around Chinatown.
  • Ditzy Genius: Harley's book-smarts are consistently displayed in this movie, but she's prone to making stupid, reckless, emotionally driven decisions, no doubt because of all the damage her Destructive Romance with a guy known for his love of genocide has wreaked on her psyche, not to mention her abusive childhood.
  • The Dragon: Victor Zsasz is this to the Big Bad Roman Sionis, AKA Black Mask.
  • Drop the Hammer: Harley uses her mallet against Black Mask's mooks in the climax, notably throwing it straight in the face of a masked attacker. She also used it to smash balloons in the Trailer Spoof part of the leaked teaser.
  • Easily Forgiven: Rather pointedly subverted. Shortly after Harley Almost turns Cassandra to the bad guys, only for Montoya and the Birds to show up and make this unnecessary,, she has the audacity to ask "So, do you forgive me yet?", to which Cassandra responds by shoving her away and saying "get off me!" While she does eventually forgive Harley, it's only after Harley saves her multiple times and offers to take her away from her neglectful parents.
  • Eat the Evidence: After being arrested, Cassandra swallows the diamond she stole off Victor Zsasz while she is in the back of the patrol car.
  • Enemy Mine: As Harley puts it, the Birds of Prey are forced to put aside their differences and band together near the end to fight back against Roman/Black Mask and his army of ex-prisoners.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Black Mask is a creep, but he's not one to think twice about hiring women. Besides employing Dinah, initially as a singer before promoting her to driver/muscle, a couple of his mooks are shown to be women as well.
  • Et Tu, Brute?:
    • Renee not only has to deal with her GCPD superior who denies her a promotion every time—she finds out, too late, that her ex-girlfriend Ellen is working with him to suspend her from the GCPD.
    • To her dismay, Harley finds out that Doc, the friendly Chinese restaurant owner whose house serves as her hiding spot and who has "zero grievance" towards her, is willing to sell her out to Sionis if it means he can move to greener pastures.
    • Cassandra is understandably hurt after Harley tricked her into a handcuffing so she can hand her over to Sionis, realizing that she befriended her because of a deal.
    • A villainous example: Sionis goes apeshit when he is informed by Zsazs that Dinah never had any loyalty to him and personally leads a whole gang to kill her.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Harley really does love her pet hyena Bruce, who behaves just like a normal dog.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Doc, the Taiwanese restaurant owner who was sheltering Harley with a room on the second floor of his building, decides to stop doing so when he gets bribed by Roman to give up Harley's location. He justifies it with "It's just business" and packs up his things to open up a second restaurant elsewhere with his bribery money.
  • Evil Is Petty: Roman is smart enough to create his crime syndicate from nothing. But when people don't let him get his way he vows revenge on them. When Mr. Keo refuses to join him he tortures and murders him and his family, and when his daughter blows a snot bubble during her Inelegant Blubbering, he's so disgusted he orders her killed again after he got some snot on him.
  • Evil Overlooker: On the DVD and Blu-ray covers, Black Mask can be seen looming over the Birds of Prey.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: Discussed during the epilogue. After Roman Sionis' death, the Birds discuss the possibility of another villain showing up to continue his work.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: There is a lot of flashbacks and other use of Anachronic Order, but the bulk of the film is only a couple of days.
  • Fake Shemp: Joker is seen mostly from the back in the flashback of he and Harley tattooing the face of the big mafia thug Harley later bumps back into. Indie rocker Johnny Goth stood in for Jared Leto.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: When grabbing Cassandra from the police station, Harley uses a "Fun Gun" with a mixture of beanbag, smoke, paint and glitter rounds.
  • Fan Disservice: An attractive woman dancing and stripping on a table would normally be a rather enticing scenario. Except that Black Mask is forcing her to do it to humiliate her.
  • The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.
  • Fed to the Beast: The sleazy pet shop owner who provides Harley with the hyena suggests that he'll take sex as payment. Gilligan Cut, and Bruce (the hyena) is feeding on the man's leg in Harley's apartment.
  • Feminist Fantasy:
    • A number of bad guys treat women quite awfully (especially Sionis), and get their comeuppance from a bunch of female asskickers.
    • The film is about Harley redefining her identity after her previous life, which was heavily reliant on that of the Joker, hence "Emancipation" in the full title.
  • Flaying Alive: Before Sionis kills an ex-business partner, he cuts the skin off his face first. Though the deed itself is not shown, we see Sionis disposing of the skin, while the gutted face is briefly visible as Sionis is walking back to his car.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Harley, Cassandra, and The Birds of Prey eventually become these.
  • Flipping the Bird: Harley gets drunk and flips off with both middle fingers at Roman Sionis's club.
  • Food End: The movie ends with Harley taking a bite out of a sandwich — one similar to a sandwich she was trying to eat before her chase with Renee — while winking to the camera.
  • Food Porn: Harley lovingly watches her favorite sandwich (with bacon, eggs and cheddar) being made... then she takes losing it in the chase with Renee Montoya as dramatically as losing a loved one.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Renee sees Cassandra at the police station, the girl clears her throat before talking. When Harley rewinds to show how Cassandra got there, we see that she'd dry-swallowed the Bertinelli diamond just minutes before.
    • Dinah tells Cassandra to be more careful or that next time she might pickpocket the wrong guy. The next time we see her, she proceeds to do just that.
    • When Harley tells Cassandra that Doc is the only person who cares about her, he responds with a confused "I do?" This gives the viewer a hint that he's not as loyal to Harley as he seems.
    • When Montoya glares at Harley for her garish red and black vest she says "What? I gotta protect the girls!". It turns out it's a bulletproof vest.
    • In the scene where Dinah Lance sings at the nightclub, her final note causes cocktail glasses to shatter, foreshadowing the nature of her power.
  • Gayngster: Although it's never explicitly stated, Roman Sionis and Victor Zsasz are very physically and emotionally intimate and affectionate with each other and it's strongly implied that they're an item.
  • The Ghost
    • Joker is often mentioned, but never appears outside of the brief Ace Chemicals flashback (and he's seen from the back in this one) and he's seen from the back in the flashback of the big mob thug he and Harley tattooed the face of (it's a Fake Shemp in that last one).
    • Batman is brought up a few times, but only in passing (Harley mentions being captured by Batman back in Suicide Squad) and not with any significance to the story.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: In the scene where Dinah Lance sings at the nightclub, her final note causes cocktail glasses to shatter, foreshadowing the nature of her power.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: It's definitely averted in the film itself, which features Cluster F-Bomb, but this trope is zigzagged in the marketing. In the first trailer, where Harley Quinn lets out an uncensored "shit" and "bitch" but there was a clip released of Helena saying "fucking" that got dubbed over with "freaking" while Dinah saying "shit" just got bleeped.
  • Grenade Tag: Cassandra uses her pickpocketing skills in reverse to kill Roman by planting a grenade on him.
  • Groin Attack: Harley and the gang don't really hesitate to attack such weak spots in combat.
    • During her attack on the police station, Harley Quinn first kicks a police officer in the groin and then hits him in the nads with a grenade laucher.
    • During a fight in an alley, Black Canary first hits a man in the groin and then kicks another man in the balls.
    • During the battle in the fun house, Harley hits one of the male opponents in the groin with her mallet.
    • Harley and Renee kick each other between the legs in their second fight scene, averting the usual avoidance of this with women.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Harley knocks out about a dozen officers when she breaks Cass out of jail, but no backup comes in nor anyone else at the precinct tries to stop her while she's fighting the other escaped prisoners nor when she's fighting the other mercs after the diamond in the evidence locker, only Montoya tries to stop her. We're shown that several dozens of officers work there yet no one seems to have radioed for backup after Harley broke in.
  • Hall of Mirrors: The final fight between the Birds of Prey and Black Mask's mooks starts in one of Harley's old safehouses, which is a funhouse in an amusement park. This includes a hall of mirrors, and Montoya winds up shooting a mirror instead of the thug she thought she was aiming at.
  • Harmful to Minors: As a child, Huntress witnessed her entire family get killed in a bloodbath. The audience thus gets a surprising yet logical Pet the Dog from Huntress, pre-Took a Level in Kindness, when she shields Cassandra from the violence of the climactic battle; acknowledging that children shouldn't be exposed to such things.
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: In the aftermath of her breakup with the Joker, Harley sits on her couch in her pajamas, squirting Easy Cheese directly into her mouth while sobbing.
  • Heel Realization: Not long after selling out Cassandra, Harley feels remorse for once and straight up says she's a horrible person, complete with tears. While she doesn't do a Heel–Face Turn, she does basically "adopt" Cassandra (whose foster parents are implied to be abuse and/or neglectful), which she explains at the very end by saying "Call me a softie".
  • Hero Antagonist: Renee Montoya is this for most of the movie, being a cop tasked with catching Harley. She is eventually suspended but still pursues her, until the end when she, Harley, and the other Birds of Prey have to join forces to fight off Black Mask.
  • High-Speed Hijack: Harley wears roller skates and gets towed behind Huntress' motorbike before being launched onto a car full of mooks to wreak havoc. Shortly afterwards, they repeat the trick with Huntress using her bike to whip Harley forward to catch hold of Black Mask's Roll-Royce.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: The animated opening sequence details Harley's miserable childhood in a deliberately dissonant style (colorful, pretty, with cheerful-sounding narration). Her father is undeniably abusive and the nuns at the school he eventually drops her in are vicious as well. Yet, given the aforementioned style, it's Black Comedy.
  • Holy Halo: When Doc is introduced, a halo appears around his head to signify his grievance against Harley: none.
  • How We Got Here: Used aplenty during the first two acts, with narration by Harley. Examples include the scene of Harley assaulting the GCPD headquarters, which has no buildup. Instead, it's explained later with Harley being blackmailed by Sionis into finding Cassandra Cain (who's detained at said headquarters).
  • Hurt Foot Hop: Harley's reaction when Montoya kicks her in the foot during their fight at the Amusement Mile.

    I to Z 
  • I Am Not My Mother: A less run-of-the-mill example in that Dinah loves her deceased mother and thinks of her highly, but is actively avoiding being like her due to how other people exploited her ultrasonic powers, to the point that it killed her.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Black Canary says of Huntress, "I love this chick, she's got rage issues," Huntress's response is to scream "I DON'T HAVE RAGE ISSUES!"
  • Idea Bulb: Harley Quinn gets three pink animated idea bulbs when she gets the idea to destroy the Ace Chemicals Factory in a fiery scene of fireworks to announce her breakup from Joker.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Roman Sionis being informed by Zsasz that Dinah is about to betray him is the catalyst for him putting on the Black Mask. He doesn't even know yet that Zsasz has been killed when he rounds up all of his criminal friends; Dinah's betrayal pisses him off this much.
  • I Have No Daughter!:
    • Harley's father traded her at birth away for a six-pack of beer and refuses to even see her.
    • Cassandra is a milder example, in that she lives with foster parents who neglect her and fight with each other so often they don't pay any attention to her - leading Cassandra to a bad path as a pickpocket.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: When Dinah finds Cassandra, Zsasz (having surmised that she betrayed Sionis) orders Dinah to prove herself by literally cutting Cassandra open to retrieve the diamond from her stomach.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Harley Quinn is outright selfish as usual, but getting blackmailed by Roman to retrieve Cassandra is what leads to Harley having a change of heart when she starts befriending the child and chooses to shelter/protect her, evolving into a Mama Bear Parental Substitute to Cassandra.
  • Imagine Spot: After Sionis slaps her on the face hard, Harley briefly imagines herself reenacting Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
  • Immune to Drugs
    • Harley marvels at how Cassandra goes the whole movie without pooping out the diamond despite all the laxatives and prune juice she's been given.
    • Also not quite immune, but Harley sure shakes off the tranquilizer dart Zsasz shoots her with in fairly short order.
  • Important Haircut: Harley shortens her pigtails after the breakup.
  • Inappropriate Role Model: Cass looks up to Harley, even though the latter is hardly someone to look up to, her Hidden Depths buried in Ax-Crazy villainy. Just as a taste, Harley's "first lesson" for Cass is robbing a grocery shop, and not even with finesse.
  • In Name Only: Cassandra Cain as portrayed in the film only shares her name with her comic book counterpart and nothing else. She speaks normally and doesn't know how to fight, whereas the comic book version of her has trouble speaking and is a living weapon. She also has little in common with her in terms of backstory, personality, ethnic backgroundnote , appearance, abilities, narrative function, or even age.
  • Insistent Terminology: Helena Bertinelli prefers to be called "Huntress", thank you very much. Please don't call her the "Crossbow Killer". And she doesn't like getting her weapon called a "Bow-and-arrow", it's a crossbow.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: This exchange between Black Canary and Huntress:
    Dinah: What the hell is up with this bow and arrow shit?
    Helena: IT'S NOT A FUCKING BOW AND ARROW. It's a crossbow, I'm not twelve.
    Dinah: I love this chick, she's got rage issues.
    Helena: [getting in her face] I DON'T HAVE RAGE ISSUES!
  • It's Personal: Harley has pissed off hundreds of people who all have a vendetta against her for her obnoxiously violent behavior. After cutting all ties with the Joker, she has to put up with hostile civilians on a daily basis because of this.
  • It's Snowing Cocaine: During the shootout at the GCPD, Harley takes cover behind a pile of bags of cocaine.note  The barrage of fire from the mooks pierces the bags, which makes cocaine snow on Harley. She gets high and fights back.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As utterly horrible as Montoya's captain is to her, he has an extremely valid point during their first meeting. Without actual, concrete evidence of Sionis' crimes, neither the police nor the D.A. would be able to move forward with any sort of prosecution. The amount of money Sionis has would basically guarantee a victory in court. In addition, while the audience knows she's telling the truth, she then lies to her boss, throws her ex's career in jeopardy, and takes evidence from a crime scene without authorization. What does all that equal? Reality Ensues and she's suspended from the force.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Downplayed, as calling Harley a "jerk" would be a pretty big understatement ("psycho killer" or "domestic terrorist" would probably be more accurate). But she really does seem to care about the other birds of prey, and has a pretty big Pet the Dog moment at the end where she takes Cassandra under her wing and away from her Abusive Parents.
  • Karma Houdini
    • Doc sells out Harley's location to several mercenaries. While he is confronted by Harley, he never gets any comeuppance from this.
    • Harley herself never faces any legal repercussions for the many crimes she commits during the movie, including attacking a police building, despite a police officer being witness to most of them and initially pursuing her for blowing up the Ace Chemicals factory.
  • Kick Chick: All of the main characters prefer to kick rather than punch but Black Canary, especially, fights pretty much only with them.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Special focus is given to Roman cruelly humiliating a random woman at his nightclub by ordering her to dance on a table and ordering her friend to cut off her dress and rip it off, just because she happened to laugh (and not at Roman) while he was being told his mission had gone awry.
    • Harley herself gets a massive one near the end when she tries to sell out Cassandra to save her own hide, in particular as the two are seen bonding with each other a few scenes earlier. To her credit, this does make her have a Heel Realization later on, and her taking Cassandra as her apprentice at the end may well be her attempt to make it up to her.
    • Finally, we have the Doc selling out Harley. Considering she is nothing but kind to him throughout the whole movie, it seems especially cruel.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Harley claims that Renee's over the top way of speaking is because she grew up watching 80's cop shows. The girls later mock her for it.
    • The movie lampoons how ridiculous it is for comic book heroes and villains to be constantly introducing themselves to each other by showing Helena practicing (badly) her introduction.
    • During the fight in the funhouse Harley suddenly shows up with rollerskates on her feet.
    Dinah (aside, to Cassandra): "When the fuck did she have time for a shoe change?"
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The identity of "The Crossbow Killer" is kept vague until 2/3rds of the way through the movie but part of the plot backstory involves the mob massacre of the Bertinelli family and the cast list shows Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Helena Bartinelli / Huntress.
  • Legacy Character: Like in the comics, Dinah Lance has inherited the title of Black Canary from her mother (and her power with it).
  • Lemony Narrator: Harley narrates the film plenty with of fourth-wall breaking, lampshading, backtracking, and other random asides.
  • Living MacGuffin: A variant. The MacGuffin is technically the Bertinelli Diamond, but it becomes Cassandra Cain after she swallows it and the only way to it is to, well, wait it out, or cut it out of her.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: Harley repeatedly stabs Victor Zsasz with the tranquilizer dart he had shot into her neck earlier.
  • Long Title: The film's full official title is "Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn".
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When blowing up Ace Chemicals, Harley ditches one of her boots to force her truck's pedal down before jumping out. When she gets her egg sandwich the next morning, she's still walking around in one boot and socks, and she ends up ditching the other boot when running from Renee. She also ends up in socks again at the climax after taking off her roller skates when the trucks shear in the crash.
  • Low Fantasy: Although the film is undoubtedly wacky and outlandish, it features very little fantastical or supernatural elements that characterize previous DCEU movies. In fact, there is only a single overtly supernatural element: Dinah's Canary Cry, which she only uses once in the film before passing out.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The film is the most grounded (and lowest-budgeted) of the DCEU so far, and shows the point of view of normal, street-level characters such as the cop Renee Montoya and more real villains like Roman.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Roman Sionis' final fate, via a grenade to his pocket.
  • MacGuffin: Everyone is after a diamond that has the numbers for the bank accounts containing the Bertinelli fortune embossed on it.
  • Machete Mayhem: One of the mooks attacking the Birds of Prey in the climax wields a machete (with Audible Sharpness to boot).
  • Made of Iron: Downplayed, but Harley takes a lot of punishment that she shouldn't survive through the film.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Black Canary cracking a glass with her power while singing at Sionis' club, and then finally uses said power fully in combat in the climax.
  • Male Gaze: A chunk of Sionis' characterization is built around this. His way of power-tripping over an innocent woman he's perceived to have wronged him is to force her into a Shameful Strip; he makes his "pretty bird" Dinah Lance wear a revealing ensemble at his nightclub that, in a double-whammy of misogyny and racism (misogynoir), harks back to blaxploitation; he also has paintings of naked, tied-up women (some with their faces scrawled out) as the main decoration on the walls of his home.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: The movie's Big Bad, Roman Sionis, runs a lucrative nightclub and fancies himself to be a sophisticate. He's also very evil.
  • Miss Exposition: Harley is the narrator for the movie and narrates the backgrounds of the Birds of Prey despite the fact she couldn't have any way of knowing this in-person as she was never there.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Most the the movie is a Mêlée à Trois between Renee Montoya (The "white), The Birds Of Prey (The "grey", albeit a rather dark grey in Harley's case), and Sionis (Definitely "black). at the end Montoya joins with the Birds Of Prey against Sionis.
  • Morality Pet: Cassandra makes Harley want to be "less terrible," and she's also the catalyst for Helena's first flash of present-day Hidden Depths outside her tragic backstory.
  • Mourning an Object: Harley lovingly watches her favorite bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich being made, then has to protect it as Detective Montoya and Roman Sionis's goons chase her. Montoya knocks her down and her sandwich smashes on the ground in slow motion while the score turns mournful. Harley takes losing it as dramatically as losing a loved one.
    Harley Quinn: [to Montoya] You killed my sandwich!
  • My Name Is ???: After Harley blows up the chemical factory and reveals to the world that she's broken up with the Joker (and is therefore no longer untouchable), people start coming after her to repay her for old grievances. When each one shows up, their name and grievance pops up on screen. But when Huntress shows up, we only get "Name: ??? Grievance: ???"
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Two cops in the film are named Timm and Dini, after Harley's creators Bruce Timm and Paul Dini.
    • In the comics, Cassandra Cain was mute when she first appeared, and only gradually acquired the ability to speak. In Cassandra's first scene in the police station, it seems at first that the movie version might also be mute, but then she coughs to clear her throat and speaks normally for the rest of the film.
    • Black Canary
      • She appears in a nightclub dress with a fishnet design. In the comics, Black Canary's classic superhero outfit involves fishnet stockings.
      • Once she uses her powers, Jurnee Smollett said her posture is based on Dinah's Canary Cry from Injustice 2.
    • Victor working for Roman is inspired by the "Hush Money" Streets of Gotham arc, where Black Mask took Zsasz under his patronage and funded his gladiatoral slaughterhouse in exchange for helping save Mask's life from Firefly.note 
    • When Roman is interrogating Harley at his club he threatens to have her face cut off and pickled... something that the Joker actually did have happen to him (at his own request) at the beginning of the New 52 era of the Batman comics.
    • When The Birds officially form, Dinah and Helena are wearing outfits much like their comic book counterparts with Dinah in leather and fishnets and Helena wearing a purple ensemble, complete with a mask.
    • A possibly unintentional one: Cassandra's foster parents are heard arguing very loudly with each other. In the comics, Cass's Parental Substitutes, Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon, did argue quite a bit with each other, though it was mostly over what was best for Cass, whereas these foster parents don't seem to care at all about her.
    • When going through Harley's old stuff in The Booty Trap she hands Montoya her old outfit from Batman: Arkham Series.
    • Renee Montoya’s ex-girlfriend in the film is working as a DA’s assistant. In the comics, right before she was forced out of the closet, she was romantically linked to former DA Harvey Dent.
    • During a fight with Renee, Harley kicks her out of a window. This may be an ironic reference to Batman: The Animated Series, where the Joker throws Harley herself out of a third story window.
    • In the opening scene Harley mentions having had her heart broken a few times, and the scene shows two men and a woman. The woman strongly resembles Poison Ivy, referencing Harley and Ivy's on-again-off-again relationship in the comics.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Downplayed, but Harley seems to have an unwritten rule against killing innocent people. Namely, when she raids the police station, she intentionally uses a non-lethal gun, as well as waiting until the chemical plant is empty before blowing it up. Also, in her fight with Montoya, she decides to fight her hand to hand rather than just caving her head in.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Had Dinah not screamed out Cassandra's name and ran for her when she found out she had picked Zsaz's pocket, he might have never found her.
  • Nice to the Waiter: For a supervillain, Harley is remarkably nice to most of the service people she meets, including Sal (the sandwich shop guy) and Doc not that this stops him from betraying her anyway. The only exception being the pet store owner, and that's only because he tried to take advantage of her.
  • Noodle Incident: Cassandra is seen wearing an orthopedic cast on her left arm (which she uses to hide cash that she stole from other people's wallets) but how she broke her arm is never explained. As she's a frequent pickpocket, it's possible it came from someone who hurt her arm when they found hers in their pocket.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. One of Harley's roller derby friends is using a tampon to stuff a bloody nose, and Roman's guard pulls a tampon out of Harley's pockets when looking for her business card.
  • Nothing Personal: After Doc sells Harley Quinn out, he tells her that it was just business before leaving. Given that she trusted him implicitly, feeling he was about the only person in Gotham City who didn't have some sort of grievance against her, she is very broken up about it. She in turn proceeds to pull a "nothing personal kid" on Cass.
  • One Bullet Left: During her final confrontation against Sionis, Harley uses Renee's gun, which has only one bullet left. Subverted in that she misses him and accidentally shoots a statue instead of him.
  • The Oner
    • Harley getting progressively drunker at Roman's party as the night passes is all one shot.
    • Renee's introduction scene, which shifts seamlessly between a flashback of Huntress killing crooks in a restaurant and Renee analyzing the crime scene in the present day, is shot all in one take. A closer look reveals when the camera turns away from the corpses so that the "dead" men can reset the table and their outfits for the "past".
  • One Size Fits All: Non-video-game variation: if that bustier fits Harley properly, it wouldn't be likely to fit Montoya properly, and vice-versa.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Roman orders his mooks to bring back Cassandra alive (and promises vengeance on anyone who kills her) because he wants to be the one to cut Cassandra open and take out the diamond she swallowed. However, he does allow the other Birds of Prey to be slaughtered.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Ewan McGregor as Roman does a fine job of speaking with an American accent, but at times, mostly while he's frustrated like when Harley has gotten Cassandra and hasn't given up the diamond, his Scottish accent briefly slips out.
  • Origin Story: For the titular Birds of Prey, who start as complete strangers in this film. The ending has Renee quitting GCPD to form the team with Dinah and Helena.
  • Pastiche: The visual style and general feel of the movie (i.e brightly colored and lively, but with dark subject matter and lots of Black Comedy) seem very similar to the Borderlands series.
  • Pet the Dog
    • Canary cuts Cassandra some slack by giving her a $20 bill to eat. That doesn't stop Cassandra from attempting to pickpocket Canary for some more money though.
    • Harley takes Cassandra under her wing at the end, taking her away from her foster parents, who are heavily implied to be abusive or at least massively neglectful assholes.
  • Pineapple Surprise: Cassandra is being held hostage by Black Mask with a knife to her head. She apologizes to Harley and tells her that she stole something off her: her ring. The two are briefly confused until she reveals the pin ring of a grenade she took from Harley's stash, and everyone immediately realizes that she just slipped a live one onto Black Mask. As he panics searching for it, Harley grabs Cassandra and knocks him off the pier. He explodes before he hits the water.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Besides the fact that he's, you know, a felon who lords over a crime syndicate, Roman also treats women like dirt. His violent misogyny terrifies Dinah and even steely-faced Helena. As though it weren't enough, he's also casually racist (if in a thoughtless and insensitive rather than frothing-with-vitriol way) around Dinah, who is visibly a black woman.
  • Power Fist: Renee Montoya uses her handcuffs as a set of improvised brass knuckles when fighting Harley Quinn. She soon puts on a real set from the weapon stash for the climactic fight scene again Roman's gang.
  • Power Strain Black Out: Dinah's Canary Cry is this, justifying why she only uses it during an emergency. During the climactic confrontation, she uses it to dispatch Sionis' gang who have the Birds cornered. The Cry manages to take out all of them, but Dinah immediately passes out afterwards.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: When Harley storms the GCPD headquarters all on her own, she uses a Flashball gun and whatever non-lethal (but still painful) projectiles she could prepare for the occasion. She likely doesn't want to add "cop killer" to her already infamous resume. The meta reason is likely because most viewers would see her massacring an entire police station Terminator style to be crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Primary-Color Champion: Dinah Lance wears yellow, Huntress and Renee Montoya wear blue, and their Protectorate Cassandra Cain wears red.
  • Protectorate: In the latter half of the movie, the eventual crime-fighting team Birds of Prey plus Harley Quinn band together to protect little Cass from Black Mask and his many mooks.
  • Psychopathic Manchild:
    • Roman Sionis tries to project an air of power and sophistication, but it's quite a thin shell that quickly gives way to childish temper when things aren't going his way. And when he's in a temper, people generally end up getting hurt.
    • Harley herself counts, having a rather childish demeanor (in addtion to be completely nuts). Unsurprisingly, she and Cassandra bond pretty quickly.
  • Race Lift:
    • Dinah Lance is white in the comics. Here, she's played by Jurnee Smollet-Bell, who is mixed race (her father is white, while her mother is black).
    • Cassandra Cain is half-white, half-Asian in the comics, while Ella Jay Basco is entirely Asian.
    • Renee Montoya in the comics is usually portrayed as mestizo (mixed Spaniard and Native ancestry), while in the film she's played by Afro-Latina actress Rosie Perez.
  • Raised by Dudes: Helena was raised by a brotherhood of assassins after one of them took pity on her when her family was massacred. She's grown up with some social awkwardness problems, although that may have more to do with the "assassins" part than the "brotherhood" part.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Regardless of what she does, Harley is still a bona fide supervillain. It's very hard for people to befriend her for good, knowing her history. Even kindly old restaurant owner/criminal information broker Doc, the only person Harley genuinely considers a friend, does not hesitate to sell her out to Sionis when he is offered enough money to start up a nicer restaurant someplace other than a bad neighborhood in Gotham.
    • Harley might qualify as a One-Woman Army when it comes to fighting, but if she finds herself surrounded by a dozen mooks with guns, out in the open with no cover, surrender is her only option.
    • Dinah quickly learns the hard way during a fight that having her long hair whipping out and getting in her eyes isn't fun. Fortunately, Harley offers her a hair band.
    • Since they're women, the main characters mostly fight with kicks. They also use a lot of melee weapons as they're fighting men who have more upper body strength.
    • Harley has pissed off a lot of people during her time as a supervillain. The movie makes it clear that the only reason she got away with it is because everyone was terrified of the Joker, so as soon as people find out that they broke up for good, it's open season on her.
    • Huntress, following the massacre, was taken to live in secret and raised to be an assassin. Fittingly, she has absolutely no social skills and is incredibly awkward around people.
    • Having taken down all of the blade- and bat-wielding thugs that stormed into The Booby Trap, the Birds of Prey do a Power Walk out the front door — only to get immediately fired upon en masse by all of the gun-toting mooks Sionis still has stationed outside.
    • As much as we want to root for her, Renee Montoya's Cowboy Cop antics blow back on her hard. After lying to her boss and putting her ex's career in jeopardy, she is immediately, and justifiably, put on suspension.
    • The grenade gun that movie Harley uses to shoot trick projectiles substitutes for the big handgun that cartoon and comic Harley uses for the same, since no handguns that shoot such big projectiles actually exist.
  • Recognition Failure: One has to wonder if it's chalked up to her age or lack of direct contact with supervillainous crime, but despite living in Gotham, Cassandra only recognizes Harley as "that psycho from the roller derby" and not as a supervillain. Even more glaringly, she has no idea who The Joker is.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Harley isn't stupid (as she herself bitterly mutters — "I have a PhD, motherfucker"), she's just a lunatic. As a result, most of her wicked shenanigans hinge on sheer nerve and luck.
  • Rollerblade Good:
    • Roller Derby is one of Harley's pastimes after breaking up with the Joker, and she's merciless in that sport. It's also how Cassandra Cain gets to know her.
    • During the Final Battle with Roman's men, Harley fights on roller skates. She then uses them during the chase to save Cassie from Roman, and ditches them before confronting Roman on the pier. Canary questions when did she have time to change shoes.
  • Ruder and Cruder: Birds of Prey is a spinoff of the PG-13 film Suicide Squad. The film features a lot of Obligatory Swearing compared to most other DC films, including its source. It's also far cruder than most DC comics, which seldom feature uncensored profanity.
  • Rule of Cool: Harley is somehow able to knock down male opponents at least twice her size and weight with kicks and backflips, which isn't physically plausible but given this is a Feminist Fantasy, she's stronger than she looks.
  • Running Gag
    • Harley keeps bumping into people she (along with the Joker) either harmed or offended in major ways, with humorous descriptions of the beef they have against her.
    • Huntress keeps getting interrupted before she can finish her line "They call me Huntress," usually getting to "They call me—" before someone else interjects with "the Crossbow Killer" or "Helena Bertinelli." The one time she says the full line, she still gets cut off by Harley's narration and subsequent flashback, and then says the second half after we return from the flashback.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: One of the reasons Black Mask has been able to wrap essentially the whole city around his finger is that both lawbreakers and law enforcement figures (such as cops and judges) are willing, even keen, to take his bribes.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends with Dinah, Helena, and Renee using the money they get from taking down Roman to join forces to officially form the titular team.
  • Shameful Strip: After the unfortunate club goer Erika laughs too loudly at the wrong time, Roman forces her to dance on her table in full view of the entire club. He then gives her boyfriend a knife and orders him to cut her dress off her.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Renee Montoya is still attractive in her everyday outfits, but she's dressed a lot more modestly, in a way that doesn't draw attention to her looks. But when she actually wears one of Harley's Stripperiffic old ensembles, even Harley is appreciative of the Fanservice.
  • Shoplifting: Cassandra Cain is a kleptomaniac teenager who is proficient in stealing wallets, watches and jewelry without getting caught. Harley also commits this at a grocery store, but only because she felt the store was ripping her off in the first place ($6 for a jar of cucumber water).
  • Shoulders of Doom: Downplayed, but Harley wears some spaulder-like sleeves seemingly made from shine plastic strips, along with some crime-scene tape (possibly from her own crimes scenes?)
  • Shout-Out
  • Signature Move: Each Action Girl of the film has her own distinct close combat style:
    • Harley uses gymnastics. This reflects her crazy, energetic, unpredictable personality.
    • Black Canary favors kicks. The actress explained that because Black Canary is supposed to be one of the best martial artists in the DC universe, she should be very confident, and they tried to convey this with a fighting style where she stands her ground, confidently blocking and deflecting heavy attacks (which would seriously harm her if she didn't know what she was doing), then landing a solid kick to finish off her opponents. This contrasts her with Harley's chaotic, flashy gymnastic moves meant to confuse and misdirect larger opponents.
    • Huntress uses shoulder throws. Because she's a trained assassin, she favors fast targeted strikes meant to efficiently disable an opponent as quickly as possible. In contrast with Harley's misdirection and Black Canary's heavy blocks, Huntress has a more offensive style following the strategy of taking out an opponent so quickly you hopefully won't have to make defensive blocks.
    • Renee Montoya prefers punches, often using pistol-whips. She's an older woman, so logically she can't do the high-kicks and fast moves of the others, so she has a more grounded, "cop" style of fighting.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: The girls are on the receiving end of slapstick comedy almost as often as they deal it out. Renee in particular is quite the Butt-Monkey, getting hit with a garbage bag that forces her to change out of her uniform into an embarrassing shirt, taking a Groin Attack from Harley (though she replies with a Groin Attack of her own as well as a Breast Attack), and getting kicked out a window. After she eats the diamond, Cass is also subject to quite a bit of Toilet Humor regarding how to get it out.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Harley, Huntress and Black Canary all switch to sleeveless outfits before they fight against Black Mask's goons.
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: Harley laments her bacon, egg and cheddar sandwich being knocked onto the ground and ruined by Montoya knocking her down even while an armed cop plus Roman's mooks are chasing her.
    Harley: (To Montoya) YOU KILLED MY SANDWICH!
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: A popping balloon mildly censors Harley saying "fucking" in the leaked teaser.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Edith Piaf's "Hymn of Love" plays in the first trailer, starting from a shot of Harley dealing with her breakup with the Joker.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Roman's parents are still alive and cut him out of the Janus Corporation. In the comics he killed them before becoming Black Mask, and he lost his fortune when he ran Janus Cosmetics into the ground.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Title: Harley is credited with the Birds of Prey in the title, and has far more focus than any of the others despite not being a member of the team by its official formation. This actually had an impact on marketing, with Warner Bros. directly changing the title for movie theaters to display it to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.
  • Stealing the Credit: Renee had once busted a major case only for her male partner to take the credit and become captain. In the end, his getting the credit for Roman's defeat is the last straw for Renee to quit the force and form the Birds.
  • Stealth Pun: An audio one. During Harley and Renee's fight, the carnival game they repeatedly slam into rings just like an old-fashioned boxing bell.
  • The Stinger: Subverted and Played With. There is something after the credits... but there's no footage, it's just Harley's voice asking the audience why they are still here. Then she starts making a confession about Batman and gets cut mid-sentence...
    Harley: Are you dummies still sittin' there? Fine. Since you stuck it out this long, I'll tell you a super duper secret-secret. But you can't tell anyone. Okay. Did you know that Batman f-
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: Huntress' Weapon of Choice is a crossbow.
  • Straw Misogynist: Roman Sionis is a creep who sees women as little more than playthings, and subjects a lot of women to casual abuse. Notably, he is introduced early on using Zsasz for Flaying Alive his rivals but his Rage Breaking Point near the end of the movie is him targeting a random woman in his club and having her strip at knifepoint, which comes across as a small downgrade in comparison. However, he doesn't treat men any better, and he has a twisted respect and admiration for Dinah and Harley's abilities. His sexism is just a casual aspect of his genuinely unpleasant nature.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham:
    • Batman stays out of Gotham, for once, not even having a cameo but still getting mentioned at least twice.
    • Commissioner James Gordon and Detective Crispus Allen, both from GCPD and introduced in Justice League, are conspicuously absent. Given Gotham is typically depicted as a large city, its likely they're just positioned in a different precinct than Montoya's.
  • Superhero Movie Villains Die: Roman gets blown up by a grenade at the end and Helena kills Zsasz a bit earlier.
  • Superhero Speciation: In terms of fighting styles, the characters avoid being too similar. Black Canary and Harley Quinn, for example, are both typically quite similar in the fighting styles, being highly gymnastic and agile Kick Chick fighters, but in the movie Canary's combat abilities are depicted as more a grounded street brawler/martial artist while Harley is more focused on agility and being as brutal as possible.
  • The Syndicate: Roman Sionis lords over a network of criminals for whom he's delivered favors, such as evasion of arrest.
  • Tae Kwon Door: When two thugs attempt to load the dunk Harley into the back of their van, Dinah fights them. During the fight, Dinah kicks the van door into one of them so his head smashes through the door window. Later, during the fight in the jail, Harley kicks a cell door into one of the inmates.
  • Tamer and Chaster: Harley's costume is a bit less sexualized than in Suicide Squad, and the film doesn't have much Male Gaze. The women in general wear revealing outfits, but they're not ridiculously revealing and it seems to just be a matter of comfort, fashion, and ease of movement than exploitation.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Sionis affectionately calls Dinah "Little Bird". Well, affectionate to him; Dinah is clearly disturbed whenever she is called that. Considering Sionis' track record with women, she has every reason to.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Literally, as Harley's beloved egg sandwich is wrecked while being pursued by Renee and multiple crooks.
  • This Is My Story: The movie is narrated by Harley and mostly unfolds from her point of view and multiple story backtracks.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Harley throws her mallet in the same way swords are usually thrown in media. It somehow managed to spin (despite the fact that being extremely top heavy a mallet wouldn't spin but more likely be shot head first with the handle trailing behind it) and yet still manages to hit a random mook from a distance.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Even with Harley in the group, who's more of a wild card, Huntress is an acknowledged Serial Killer forced to work with them incidentally. She's a lot more brutal in her methods and has anger issues (which she denies angrily). This definitely contrasts her with Montoya and Lance, who are a lot more even tempered.
  • Token Super: Black Canary is the only main member of the cast who's a metahuman.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Helena's brother's toy car, which she clutched onto while he and the rest of her family were getting murdered. She ends up giving it to Cassandra to clutch for comfort during the fight in the funhouse.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers and promos used the line of dialogue where Harley states that Huntress killed Roman's best friend. As you watch the movie, it becomes quickly apparent who that character is.
  • Trailer Spoof: The first teaser (which was released exclusively before It: Chapter Two screenings, but got leaked) is set up to resemble the opening title cards of that film, complete with red balloons a silhouette wearing a skirt... only for it to end up being a fake-out when Harley appears instead of Pennywise, and smashes the balloons with her mallet.
    Harley: I'm so fucking over clowns!
  • Trashcan Bonfire: After the Black Mask captures Cassandra Cain and tries to escape with her in a car, Harley Quinn pursues him wearing roller skates. As she does so, a homeless man can be seen warming his hands over a metal can with a fire in it.
  • Traumatic Haircut: After her break up with the Joker, Harley cuts her Girlish Pigtails a little bit shorter than before, which only makes her cry harder.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior:
    • Cass is a potty-mouthed pickpocket, she's been arrested enough times for Renee to know her, she and Harley rob a grocery store, and she outright kills at least two people. Later when all the girls are having breakfast she tries to have a Margarita but Renee stops her.
    • In a flashback, Helena was also this way. There's a brief shot of her drawing a picture in crayons that's actually her kill list.
  • Truer to the Text:
    • A downplayed example with Victor Zsasz. While he's still portrayed as a mob hitman as in Batman Begins and Gotham, this version of the character is the first to retain his Straw Nihilist motivations from the comics.
    • Outside the Race Lift, Black Canary is a very close approximation to her comics counterpart. There’s never been a version that’s managed fit all the hallmarks of her character but it’s all there in this film. She’s got the Legacy Character aspect, she’s an explicit meta-human while being first and foremost an elite martial artist, and her personality is a pretty close match as well.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Around the end of the second act, Montoya gets suspended for bending too many rules in her pursuit of Sionis, with nothing to show for it. Lampshaded by narrator-Harley, who claims that this happens to every good cop sooner or later and marks the point where they really start getting things done. Instead of doing the trope thing of only making her more determined, it causes Montoya to give up, pulling an It's All Junk on her carefully hoarded evidence and settling down to drown her sorrows — until Black Canary appeals to her to help save Cassie from Sionis and Zsasz. Also, in a twist of the usual conclusion of this trope, even when she helps save the day, she's still snubbed from the acknowledgement and is thus not only never reinstated, but motivated to leave the force entirely to start the new Birds of Prey.
  • Unreadably Fast Text: When Harley is tied to a chair by Roman, she wonders which of the many grievances she's committed against him he's killing her for. The screen flashes with dozens of possible reasons too fast to read without freeze-frame, including:
    Disabled his driver. Pronounced it 'expresso'. Have a vagina. Voted for Bernie. Peed in his Brita. Called him Romy. Stuck gum under his table. Stole the remote. Calls him 'Queef Richards'. Sold a family heirloom. Spoiled lots of movies. Stole his limelight. Left a floater. Burped the alphabet. Interrupted him once. Didn't laugh at his joke. Forgot to use a coaster. Left the toilet seat down. Puked on his carpet. Changed the channel. Broke a window. Ate his lunch. Caused a ruckus. Ripped a loud one. Graffitied his car. Crashed his Rolls. Torched his paintings.
  • Unreliable Narrator: When Harley narrates, she often forgets important events, so she has to backtrack, telling the story out of order.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Roman Sionis has Mr. Keo and his family suspended by their ankles while Victor Zsasz cuts their faces off.
  • Video Credits: Once it gets to the actors in the credits, they are represented by drawings resembling their characters.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: While calling the movie "saccharine" is a stretch, it's still pretty light hearted and colorful, whereas the villains are a Straw Misogynist mob boss and a Serial Killer who flays people's faces off (even little kids).
  • Villainous Crush:
  • Villain Protagonist: Harley is the point-of-view character but the film constantly reminds us that she is, to quote Robbie, "a really shitty person".
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Roman Sionis has the money to bribe every judge and attorney in Gotham to keep criminals out of prison cells and running wild on the streets. Because of his wealth, he has both criminals and the law enforcement under his thumb.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Harley and Cassandra hijack Dinah's car in the midst of what seems to be a perfectly serene post-battle group hangout. She also affectionately refers to the team later formed by Dinah, Renee, and Helena's as dorks instead of The Birds of Prey.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: One of the ways Harley takes advantage of her initial immunity is by visibly puking into a stranger's purse while drunk at the club.
  • Wall of Weapons: Subverted twice.
    • When fighting in the GCPD's evidence room, Harley comes across a table with two chainsaws, a katana, a recurve bow, a spiked club, and a baseball bat. She takes the bat.
    • At the Booby Trap funhouse, Harley assures the other women they'll be well protected from the incoming army, opening up a closet with Joker's secret stash of guns. She opens the doors... and the wardrobe is empty. All the rifles and ammo have been taken. Fortunately Dinah finds a chest with other weapons, though most of them are significantly less lethal than guns.
  • Waterlogged Warzone: When Harley Quinn breaks into a police station to retrieve Cassandra Cain, the damage to the control mechanism causes the ceiling water sprinklers to go off. When all of the cell doors unlock, Harley is forced to battle the released criminals (who all hate her) on a cellblock floor covered with water. During the fight, Harley uses the water to make several sliding attacks to kick and trip her opponents.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Harley names her pet hyena Bruce "after that hunky Wayne guy".
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: When Harley Quinn offers to find the Bertinelli Diamond for Roman Sionis, Sionis gives her until midnight to succeed or he'll cut her face off.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: How the movie ends. Renee quits the force after getting shafted again for the credit in bringing Sionis down, and joins up with Dinah and Helena to form the Birds of Prey, funded by Helena's fortune now that she has full access to it. Harley kept the diamond and, now that the codes engraved in it are useless, pawned it to fund her own business, with Cassandra as her partner. And Bruce (the hyena) survived the bombing of Harley's apartment.
  • White Flag: When she is surrounded by Sionis' thugs, Harley has no choice but to flash a white napkin.
    Harley: Parley?
  • Why Am I Ticking?: At the climax, Sionis is holding Cassandra at knife point, when she pulls out a grenade pin, revealing that she slipped one on him when he wasn't looking. She then shoves him away and Harley kicks him off the pier, leaving him to blow up just before he hits the water.
  • Wink "Ding!": Harley winks at the viewer in the leaked teaser that was released before It: Chapter Two screenings, with a "ding!" sound. The "Ding!" sound is absent from the movie however.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Somewhat zigzagged. Though titled "Birds of Prey", the film is really all about Harley, with the team serving as supporting characters. Makes sense when you consider that Renee, Dinah, and Helena only decide to form the team at the end of the film, and Cassandra doesn't get to join them, preferring to run away with Harley. Now, going back to how the film even came to be, Harley was such a Breakout Character in Suicide Squad that Robbie got offered a standalone Harley Quinn film, but she pushed for a Gotham City Sirens adaptation instead. Eventually they settled on adapting Birds of Prey and save Catwoman and Poison Ivy for a later film. So while Harley is still prominently featured in the marketing, this is because the film is meant to capitalize on Harley's popularity to introduce us to the Birds of Prey.
  • Working with the Ex: Renee works with her ex-girlfriend, Ellen Yee. Ellen, for her part, clearly still cares for her, but they butt heads due to their conflicting perspectives on breaking the law and due process to put criminals behind bars.
  • Worthy Opponent: Harley seems to view Renee as this to a degree, as there are several scenes were she could have just killed her right there but gives her a chance to keep fighting.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Zigzagged. When Harley finds out Cassandra swallowed the diamond, she decides to feed her laxatives rather than using "surgery" to remove it. That said, she does plan to sell out Cassandra to the bad guys at one point. She also says out right she will kill Cassandra if she tries to run away even though she's a kid, but, judging by the ending, it seems unlikely she would really do so.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • The only time we get a good look at the Joker's face is when he's a cartoon character, but he doesn't look much like he did in Suicide Squad, nor does the drawing of him on Harley's dartboard. Presumably he altered his appearance right before ditching Harley.
    • Weirdly enough this happens to Gotham City itself. This time, despite the usual poverty in the slums, the rampant crime and the supervillains running wild, the city seems pretty alive and bustling, people are shown to be living mostly regular lives and the city's signature art deco style is nowhere to be seen. Pretty telling that when compared to the Metropolis we've seen in other DCEU films Gotham looks like the least depressing and gloomy of the two.
  • You Owe Me: Roman forces all of Gotham's ex-prisoners (whom he sprung out or paid bail for from incarceration) to take down the Birds of Prey as gratitude to him because "It's time you said Thank you."

♫ Le ciel bleu sur nous peut s'effondrer
Et la terre peut bien s'écrouler
Peu m'importe, si tu m'aimes
Je me fous du monde entier
Nous aurons pour nous l'éternité
Dans le bleu de toute l'immensité
Dans le ciel, plus de problèmes
Mon amour crois-tu qu'on s'aime? ♫

Alternative Title(s): Birds Of Prey And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn, Birds Of Prey


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