Pop Culture Column #3


Hi! Thanks for reading! In this “column,” we will discuss upcoming or recently released games, movies and other big things in pop culture every other week. It will be formatted like a conversation, but can be read like a column. In this week’s column, we discuss the upcoming DC film, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). We hope you enjoy the column!
– Briana and Jillian


Hello! This is the Pop Culture Column!

Welcome back, it’s 2020! It’s the roaring twenties, baby!

Happy new year everybody!

New year, new feeling, failing semester two… So anyway, today we will be talking about an upcoming movie release of — the title is so long, I’m definitely going to get this wrong — The Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). You can find the link to a trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjpsGw7YlU8.

Yes. So, a quick announcement before we begin, this film is not about actual birds—

Although it’s not that obvious as the DC universe does have Batman and Robin, and they’re human only most of the time.

Okay that’s true, or I guess there could be some fancy transfiguration going on… but no, this isn’t Harry Potter.

(laughter) Birds of Prey is the newest movie in the DC Extended Universe, directed by Cathy Yan and produced by Margot Robbie. It brings back Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad, and introduces Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain.

I recognized exactly one of those names!

Better than none! Alright! Let’s get into it!

Realistic Characters/Emotions

I’m just going to say the thing I’m most excited about in this movie is how realistic it is. And — okay put away that skeptical look, I know you’re probably saying, “umm, did you watch the same trailer as me?” but I have an explanation! The thing I like is the messiness of human emotions. So this movie is post-break-up, and Harley Quinn is sad and crying, but they’re not trying to make it into the pretty, dainty cry, it’s full out sobbing, which they don’t like to show people doing because it’s not very pretty for someone to have a blotchy face. I just like how they don’t make the characters act so cool all the time, but they’re allowed to feel emotions other than vengeance for a dead loved one, which is so common in movies.

Yeah, there were definitely a lot of messy emotions and feelings, and they all felt very real. Like after her break up, Harley Quinn was very upset and annoyed—

She adopted a dog, which is exactly how you deal with a break up.

That’s the best way, I think.

Anyway, this movie has plenty of messy human relationships, and… humanity… I like humans… I don’t know what I’m saying, I sound like a weird alien scientist, oh no. But I like it when people are allowed to be people! And make mistakes! And be genuinely goofy without it being degrading!

Disability Erasure

Here’s the thing, though. The whole “letting people be people” thing that I just praised this movie on appears to be a recurring theme throughout the film… except for one area where they’ve failed rather spectacularly with this. As of right now, this movie’s treatment of characters with disabilities is looking, quite frankly, abysmal at best.

Okay, I don’t really know anything about the comics or the characters, so fill me in on that.

So one of the founding members of this team, Oracle, is wheelchair-bound, but she’s not in this movie at all. They’ve completely and totally cut her from it, even though the two other people she founded it with — Black Canary and Huntress — are in the movie. Which is… (wince) not great. Rather bad. Really bad when you factor in the erasure of Cassandra Cain’s disability — she’s the one in the trailer with the pink sling.

Got it.

Yeah, Cassandra Cain, she’s canonically mute as of the… New 52, I think? But even before then she had trouble with language due to the way she was raised.

Interesting. I definitely did not see that in the trailer, her character seemed to me like more of a happy, carefree teen.

Yeeeeeah… she was raised to be a child assassin from the moment she was born, and the only method of communication she was taught was how to read body language, so she could be a more effective killer. She turned her back on that lifestyle when she was eight, but she’s definitely not a carefree teen.

No, definitely not. They really changed her from the comics a lot, and it’s weird that they would even have that character in the movie if it’s not really going to be that character.

Exactly! And Oracle, who was cut out, was the one who taught her English, so they’re really just pulling apart everything that made Cass Cass.


So… should you see the movie?

Do you want to see it? If yes, then yes. If no, then no. It’s that simple. Don’t force yourself to watch something you don’t think you’ll like.

Yeah. I think that’s a good rule in general.

Personally, I have no idea what my plans are regarding watching it. At first I thought I definitely was going to see it in theatres, then I decided not to, and now I… don’t know. But that doesn’t really matter, because really, live your own life! Don’t take anyone’s personal life choices as gospel! This is getting weird!

Life lessons from Jillian and Briana! But yeah, that totally makes sense.

Yep! Anyways, that’s all we’ve got for you today, so thanks for reading!

Come back next time!