i’m always months or years late to watching a thing but i just watched birds of prey last night so i have somethings to say
like, what a romp, primarily.
but mostly, it’s just, makes a stark and grim comparison that shows how few large budget superhero films are actually fun to watch.
like many people, the mcu killed my interest in the mcu. and what was more dear to my heart, the x men franchise, also killed my interest in x men. by this relentless urge to take potential and put it through the meat grinder of slow boring and contradictory storytelling studded with character arcs that are ultimately meaninglessly undermined.
and what results is millions and millions and millions of dollars blown on bullshit nonsense that, with a few notable exceptions, is repetitive overwrought melodrama that makes no real statement and almost purposely throws away connection to the audience. like, thor ragnarok made a largely meh series of movies about thor, but really hinged on the appeal of loki as a villain, into a dynamic and fresh take on the weaknesses and appeal of thor himself. it was funny and quick and new and gave thor new leadership momentum, which then was pretty much immediately undercut in his follow up in avengers.
but maybe more than storytelling foibles what offends me is how these hugely expensive projects overwhelmingly are visually boring. like you movie budgets of several HUNDRED MILLION and not only do you drop key storytelling beats for your cast of main characters, but you also have BORING costumes, too much UNINTERESTING PREDICTABLE fight choreo, and BLAND special effects that only just focus on urban destruction and imploding planets, blah blah fucking blah and it’s SO FUCKING BORING because we watch these far too long destruction porn movies being told the stakes are the highest they have ever been ever! but then also no stakes really at all at the end of the day because the lessons learned from failures are usually unlearned, and consequences go unappreciated by characters making the same fucking mistakes over and over again.
even outside my top tier of “great” superhero movies that i consider exceptional – into the spiderverse, black panther, thor ragnarok, guardians of the galaxy maybe, perhaps wonder woman, and birds of prey– i’m sure there are moments that people really do love and they think are cinematically valuable. sure.
but most of these superhero movies simply pump all their concept of visual stimulation into cgi explosions and call it day. you could replace one portion of a city being exploded in one movie and insert into another and you wouldn’t be able to tell the fucking difference.
birds of prey was extremely notably visually different! it was refreshing as fuck! even the scene with a huge explosion was 1) a character driven decision propelled her into plot repercussions and 2) attractive to watch!
the sets were complicated and diverse and interesting! the costumes were unique and colorful and established character!
the fights were DYNAMIC and extremely complex and beautiful. the fight scenes were extended, but not at all boring! the fights were tailored to each set! the sets complicated each kind of fight!
and birds of prey didn’t even have half the budget of this last rung of mega budget marvel films, yet it was more invigorating to watch and fresh to the eyes to an exponential degree. and for that alone i love it.