Birds of Prey released to mixed reviews and middling box-office returns earlier this year. But one thing that was unanimously praised was the action scenes in the film. Jurnee Smollett-bell, who played Black Canary in the movie, took to Twitter to share her favorite scene for her character:
— jurnee smollett (@jurneesmollett) March 8, 2020
The scene in question takes place near the start of the film and sets up the dynamic between Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Quinn had been partying at Roman Sionis AKA Black Mask’s club, and is so thoroughly intoxicated that she is barely conscious of Black Mask’s henchmen who have arrived to take her with them.
Black Canary had been working at Roman’s club as a singer, and initially has no desire to get involved. But then an attack of conscience forces her to intervene, setting up a fight scene between Smollett-bell’s character and the henchmen. Here we see for the first time the fighting chops that make Canary such a formidable foe, as she takes a few ugly hits, but ultimately manages to subdue the men and rescue Harley.
The entire action scene was expertly choreographed by the same creative team that was behind John Wick’s dazzling brawls. The fighting is brutal and swift, with no fancy, unnecessary flips or sweeps, and punches and kicks that actually seem to have an impact.
According to Smollett-bell, this was the first fight scene shot for the movie, and set the standard for all other scenes that we got to see of the Birds of Prey kicking butt.
When Jurnee Smollett-bell was first cast as Black Canary, there was some pushback from fans, since the actress had little resemblance to the blond superhero from the comics. But after the film’s release, Smollett-bell was widely acknowledged to be one of the best parts of the film.
The movie in its entirety, however, was not as well-received, for a number of reasons. Some accused Birds of Prey of demonizing men, while others thought it indulged too deeply in mindless, flashy violence at the expense of deeper character development.
When all is said and done, however, Birds of Prey will be remembered as one of the more interesting entries in the DCEU franchise, with a distinct voice and look. It also set the stage for multiple sequels, but with the disappointing box-office performance, it is uncertain whether those will ever see the light of day.
One character who will definitely return, however, is Harley Quinn, who is set to be a major part of Suicide Squad 2. Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, was a breakout character from the original Suicide Squad, and Robbie leveraged that popularity to greenlight the Birds of Prey movie with Harley acting as narrator and main character. Robbie also acted as producer for the movie and made sure to tell its story from a female narrative, with many scenes of female bonding and solidarity, like the scene singled out by Jurnee Smollett-bell as being her favorite, where Black Canary comes to the aid of Harley.