Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Margot Robbie returns to the movie screen for her second appearance as the lovable comic book villain Harley Quinn, but this time around joins a new group of butt kicking characters all out on mission of redemption.

It might be a minor hurdle to believe, but it has been 28 years since Paul Dini and Bruce Timm introduced the world to Harley Quinn with her appearance on Batman the Animated Series (Episode: “Joker’s Favor”, September 11, 1992). Just like with the proceeding movie Suicide Squad (2016), it’s great to see a collaborative blend of several different minor characters and groups from the DC Comics universe roll into a stand-alone movie. A major praise-worthy element about Birds of Prey is the improvement of storytelling in comparison to the failed attempt of a rushed job with Suicide Squad. Although both movies do offer quite a bit of time spent on telling the backstory of the supporting characters, it is all matter of presentation and pacing of the elements and how it would hinder or help move the plot of the movie along from one act to the next.

Another enjoyable element about this movie is the heroic core of the story is led by all women at various stages in life. There is a bump in the road, because the premise of female dominant troupe does not authentically pass the Bechdel Test. Yes, it does meet two out of three primary rules to pass the test. However, it does not pass the last rule for the entire run of the movie. There are several references in the dialogue, and even in the title of the movie, about Harley’s relationship with Joker and the struggle she faces of owning her completely owning identity without needing to rely on him.

This movie can be a great launching point for the Birds of Prey troupe to continue on with a follow-up movie or even a reboot of the 2002 single season television program, either with or without Harley Quinn. I would love to see their story continue on with more content and they have already appeared in various comic book publications as a group and as supporting characters in other stories (browse through the Arrowverse programs on The CW as an example).

There are a few enjoyable references to Suicide Squad littered throughout the movie, such as the moment with Harley blowing up the ACE Chemicals factory and then later on in this movie there is an appearance of a wanted poster for Boomerang hanging on a wall in the police department.

This movie is an excellent attempt at redemption from all the mistakes and sins that were committed during the production and release of Suicide Squad, which I believe was a movie produced by a committee of studio executives and not by the group of movie makers who were hired to tell a good story.

A note-worthy point would be to mention that Birds of Prey is definitely not your kid’s run of the mill comic book movie. It’s an R-rated action flick that features comic book characters and it is clearly geared towards the adults who want to fondly remember the nostalgic years of their childhood animated entertainment of yesteryear while still being entertained as an adult. It would probably provoke an irksome grunt from Alan Moore, but not everyone will always be pleased all the time.


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In-Depth Reddit Review: “Insights on Parasite as a Korean”

The following article is an in-depth review of the South Korean suspense movie Parasite (2019) and was posted on Reddit. The article is written by a South Korean national with the intent of sharing a native perspective and interpretation of the film as it was intended for a native language speaking audience. Spoiler Alert: The following article does contain several details from the movie regarding plot and character development, so proceed through the reading material with caution if you have not seen the movie yet.

New board game expansion based upon Batman: The Animated Series will be backed by crowdfunding

Beloved Batman Characters and Storylines Debut as Part of IDW Games’ Miniatures-Driven Adventures Universal Game System Tabletop Brand

IDW Games, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC, announced that Batman: The Animated Series Adventures – Shadow of the Bat will launch on Kickstarter on February 18, 2020. A miniatures-driven board game, Shadow of the Bat is part of the Adventures Universal Game System (AUGS), and is compatible with all other AUGS products. Arkham Asylum, a full-sized expansion, will also launch on Kickstarter alongside Shadow of the Bat. Both Shadow of the Bat and Arkham Asylum are expected to arrive to backers and in stores in Fall 2020.

Running off the AUGS engine, Shadow of the Bat offers unrivaled flexibility and player choice. Players can take the role of any hero in their roster in the game’s 24 unique missions, all inspired by fan-favorite episodes. Likewise, even villains can be swapped out in every mission to change up the threats that players will face. In Shadow of the Bat, 1-4 players will take to the streets as Batman, Batgirl, Robin, Commissioner Gordon, and Catwoman, each with their own unique character abilities, skills, and custom dice. And they’ll have to work together in order to take down the likes of Two-Face, The Penguin, Mr. Freeze, The Riddler, Scarecrow, Man-Bat, The Joker, and Harley Quinn. As with other AUGS games, villains can be controlled by the game itself for full co-op play, or by a 5th player. AUGS’ modularity means that players can even create their own dream scenarios and teams, including bringing in elements from other AUGS products.

Launching alongside Shadow of the Bat is the Arkham Asylum expansion, which will add 13 more missions to play through, and an all-new game mode: Clayface mode. In Arkham Asylum players will explore the halls of the infamous psychiatric hospital as they tangle with Clayface, Poison Ivy, Jervis Tetch, The Ventriloquist, Killer Croc, Maxie Zeus, Lock-Up, Clock King, Baby Doll, and Hugo Strange. In Clayface mode, each hero will be given a card that will indicate if they are who they appear to be, or if they’re actually Clayface in hiding. At any time, the Clayface player can reveal their true identity, transforming into the massive Clayface, and turn on their former friends!

Players will also have the option to expand their roster of heroes and villains with The New Batman Adventures character pack, containing Nightwing, Tim Drake as Robin, Calendar Girl, and Firefly. Story Packs for Mask of the Phantasm and Mystery of the Batwoman will also be available, adding new missions and characters–The Phantasm and Bruce Wayne in plain clothes, and Batwoman and Bane, respectively–that follow the films’ stories.

Anyone looking to try before they buy will be able to play a digital demo of Batman: The Animated Series Adventures – Shadow of the Bat through either Tabletopia or Tabletop Simulator. This demo contains 3 missions that follow The Joker-centric episode Joker’s Favor. For more information on the digital demos, please go to IDWGames.com/BTASDemo

IDW Games is a leading publisher of licensed tabletop games. Publishing games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures – City Fall, Metal Gear Solid The Board Game, Ghostbusters x MIB: Ecto-terrestrial Invasion, and numerous Dragon Ball Z titles, IDW Games aims to bring the highest quality production and gameplay to fans of beloved licenses.

The Adventures Universal Game System (AUGS) is IDW Games’ flagship tabletop brand. An engine for multiple tabletop games, AUGS products are universally compatible with one another, and allow players the freedom to mix and match their games’ heroes, villains, and missions as they choose.