Since we’re all inside and could use a mental break from the chaos, we’ve launched Queer Stream, a series of short essays highlighting great queer TV and film you can stream right now. Today we’re talking about the 2020 comic book film, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn. In response to the pandemic, the film has been made available on VOD much earlier than anticipated.
Birds of Prey is definitively a Harley Quinn film. The story is told from her POV and Harley dominates screen time. It’s not a bad thing, but it is an element of the film’s promotion that has been confusing to some. Harley, fresh off her breakup with the Joker, is trying to rebuild her life, but it turns out that without Mr. J’s protection, she has a lot of enemies. When one of these enemies, the Black Mask, has his men hunt down Harley, he’s ready to kill her. But, Harley knows how to save her skin: She’ll help him find that diamond he’s missing. Along the way Harley meets: Black Canary, the badass martial artist and only superpowered character in the film; Huntress, the survivor of a massacre and one hell of a fighter; Renee Montoya, a cop who can’t stand the corruption any longer (and looks damn good in a corset); and Cassandra Cain, a street smart pickpocket who steals the wrong rock from the wrong baddie.
The whole film is a refreshing take on comic book films and queers the genre. When Harley goes through her backstory, her exes are shown including a redheaded woman who looks a lot like one Dr. Pamela Isley aka Poison Ivy. Renee Montoya interacts with her ex-girlfriend who works at the DA’s office and oh is the salty ex banter good stuff! The fact that the film is written, directed, and financed by women and features women also queers a genre that is dominated by men and masculinity, not to mention that the two main villains are definitely dandies and boyfriends. There are a lot of reasons to watch this incredible film, but if you’ve been waiting for a comic book movie about bisexual disasters, this is the one you need to see.
Queer stream Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn at: Most Video on Demand services including Amazon, Google, and more
Queer characters: Harley Quinn, Renee Montoya, Ellen Yee, and definitely 100% Huntress aka Helena Bertinelli, but probably everyone including Black Mask and Zsasz
Queerest moment: While there are lots of fun queer moments, the best in this writer’s opinion is when Harley Quinn gets knocked over while chasing the villain. Huntress rides up on her motorcycle, pops her helmet open, and asks if Harley needs a ride. The look on Harley’s face and the raw chemistry these two babes have is enough to make even the hardest of hearts soften.