DCEU’s Birds of Prey to be more street level and why that works


DCEU’s Birds of Prey will reportedly have a street-level feel to it.

Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey begins production soon. A report from Revenge of the Fans is now floating about the style of the film. No doubt, some naysayers may not like this take. Instead, we should take it as a positive gesture.

Cathy Yan’s Approach and What It Says about The DCEU

From the beginning Warner Bros. has staked out to be a director-driven studio. We can debate if Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is a good Superman movie. Fans and critics will agree though it is most certainly a Zack Snyder film. The same can be said of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. Cathy Yan is still relatively new to us, at least to the American audience. Long story short, Birds of Prey will not be flashy. Instead, Cathy Yan will go for a more street-driven and mature look.

This is a plus as the DCEU will not be driven into some kind of formulaic setting. Say what you will, but most MCU films do feel similar in style, music and overall vibe. Again, Man of Steel is a DCEU film but it does not feel like Patty Jenkins copied and pasted it over to Wonder Woman. The same can be said of David Ayer with Suicide Squad. Each film, due to its own director, offers a unique experience while still being set in the same universe. It will be interesting to see what Cathy Yan has to offer.

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Another reason this is good news is due to the fallout of Justice League. Many do not feel it is truly a Zack Snyder film at all, due to studio meddling and Joss Whedon’s shots. In fact, it hardly feels like its own film but as just a commercial. One can even argue it just feels like a poor man’s attempt at the Avengers. Fans started to fear that Warner Bros. was leaving this director-driven approach.

Cathy Yan’s Street Level Approach Can Work

Many fans were upset with the portrayal of Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. This is not because of Margot Robbie, but purely her costume. If you can think of any misogynistic term, just apply that here, for that is what these fans would say about her. Personally, the flashback scene shows it all. Was it great to see Harley Quinn dancing with Joker in her traditional outfit? You bet. Let’s be honest, in live-action it looks a bit silly. Just because it works in comics, does not mean it translates to the screen. Can you imagine Batman on screen in blue and gray, especially under Nolan or Snyder?

Remember that the characters in this film are rather street-level. Do Black Canary and Huntress go out into space often, battling aliens and jumping from planet to planet? Cassandra Cain meanwhile is raised by assassins essentially. Realistically, should an assassin show up in a bright, colorful costume? Only if she wants to fail her mission. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn has come to something more of a street-style approach in appearance in the comics. Grant you, one can argue it is still a bit out there. Yet, she would fit well in the right kind of club, bar or scene. That harlequin costume does not work well at all… save for a renaissance affair perhaps.

Finally, this approach works given that it shows Cathy Yan wants to bring the Birds of Prey to the real world and treat them seriously. She wants to do more than just produce some popcorn flick or cartoon. She is more interested in the actual characters, not just their bare bones look and what she grew up on. Do not forget this is something of a spin-off to Suicide Squad. Would it make any sense for Harley Quinn to go all flashy now?

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If the DCEU falls into this flashy trap then comic book movies will just stagnate. We need to offer different takes and accept these unique approaches. Catering to some formula will only end the DCEU and end comic book movies themselves.