The Justice League. The Avengers. The Suicide Squad. Lately, cinema has been full of superhero team-ups, yet we’re still hungry for more, particularly when said team is led by the clinically insane yet delightfully charming DC villain Harley Quinn.
The wonderfully titled Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), brings back everyone’s favourite psychologist-turned-criminal as she departs on her own adventure, with a few new friends in tow.
To prepare you for what is sure to be an action-packed, street-level comic book caper, here is everything you need to know about your new favourite crime-fighting gang, the Birds of Prey.
What’s the story of Birds of Prey?
Picking up after the events of Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn has ditched the Joker and is on the hunt for a solo adventure. When underground crime lord Black Mask places a hit on a young girl named Cassandra Cain, Gotham City is turned upside down looking for her.
Never one to have the clearest allegiances or sense of justice, Harley decides to join forces with a trio of female vigilantes, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya, to find the girl, protect her, and put an end to Black Mask’s tyranny.
Who is leading the Birds of Prey team?
Who needs the Joker, or even Batman, when you have the endearingly erratic Harley Quinn? Pushing the Clown Prince of Crime and Caped Crusader to one side, Birds of Prey places the baseball-bat-wielding anarchist front and centre.
The clear standout in 2016’s Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn’s fun-loving attitude to crime, as well as her romantically tragic backstory, should give Birds of Prey plenty to focus on.
Who are the other Birds of Prey members?
Introduced to the DC comics universe in 1996, the Birds of Prey team was the brain-child of comic book creator Jordan B. Gorfinkel. The team was originally brought together by ex-Batgirl Barbara Gordon, along with Black Canary, and has seen a number of female DC superheroes come together to take on the forces of evil.
Although it looks like the silver screen adaptation has dropped Gordon from the team’s origin story, Black Canary is present and correct, including her signature sonic scream, so powerful that it can incapacitate and even kill.
Joining them is Huntress, whose real name is Helena Bertinelli, the daughter of one of Gotham’s Mafia bosses, who witnesses her family murdered by a rival gang and swears revenge. She has a skill-set similar to Batgirl, but is much, much more violent in her methods.
The fourth and final member, Renee Montaya, was once a longstanding Gotham City detective before being selected to take up the mantle of The Question. Although it does not look like she will be The Question in this first Birds of Prey movie, it could be something that the sequels decide to address.
Who is the villain in Birds of Prey?
The man whose evil antics bring the Birds of Prey together, Roman Sionis aka Black Mask, is one of the most ruthlessly brutal crime lords to ever grace Gotham City.
As his name so clearly suggests, Roman has a penchant for facial disguises, but has other interests too including murder, torture and ruling his criminal empire with an iron-fist. Although the black mask that the DC super-villain is named after does not feature in the trailer, fans are hoping it will make an appearance come the film’s end.
Who stars in Birds of Prey?
Birds of Prey is, of course, bringing back Margot Robbie as Harley, because they’d be mad not to, and she looks to be back on form as she giggles, jokes and head butts her way through proceedings.
Robbie's performance follows a series of acclaimed roles including Mary, Queen of Scots and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Alongside her are Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress and Rosie Perez as Renee.
Outside of the superhero team are Chris Messina as deranged serial killer Victor Zsasz, young actress Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, and finally Ewan McGregor as criminal overlord Black Mask.
Who is directing?
Bringing the all-female team together for their big screen debut is the largely unknown director Cathy Yan. With just a few short films and 2018’s critically well received comedy-drama Dead Pigs under her belt, Yan will no doubt bring a fresh energy to the somewhat overstuffed superhero genre.
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) takes a mallet to the superhero template on the 7th of February 2020. Tweet us @Cineworld if you can't wait to see it.
Jon Fuge is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.