Birds of Prey

Vulgar pop-feminism

What the critics said: “The only thing that didn’t totally suck about 2016’s Suicide Squad was Margot Robbie’s manic, energetic portrayal of Joker squeeze Harley Quinn.” What Hollywood heard: “We can make a few more bucks if we give her a spin-off.”

Thus we have (a lot) more of Robbie’s madly unhinged character, perhaps too much more, as even in the hands of the talented actress, the character soon starts to grate. Pseudo-subversive story has Harley, now split with the Joker, and some girl buddies (Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jurnee Smollett-Bell) taking on an evil new crime boss in town, played by a ridiculously overacting Ewan McGregor. (I realize ridiculous overacting is the point in comic-book movies, but some do it better than others.)

I’ve asked the question before, notably about the Sex and the City movies: Does a woman’s lowering herself to the vulgarity and violence of men really represent the kind of gender equality you’re aiming for?

I didn’t much like it. There’s little storytelling or emotional glue. Mostly competently choreographed fights. To be fair, it wasn’t made for me; I’m not twelve.

(109 min)