The "Birds of Prey" trailer, explained
The case of "Birds of Prey" - Art by Unreel // Warner Bros

The first “Birds of Prey” trailer, explained

Unspooling the trailer for Cathy Yan's delirious breakup comic book movie.

Film featured:
"Birds of Prey" (2020)
Cathy Yan
Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco, Ewan McGregor
Release Date:
February 7, 2020
The "Birds of Prey" trailer, explained

In time for the long-awaited release of Todd Phillips’ Joker in cinemas, DC and Warner Bros have dropped the first full trailer for Birds of Prey, the all-female breakup comic book movie that’s meant to course-correct 2016’s Suicide Squad.

Of course, “course-correcting” means plucking out the one great thing about that goop of a movie, then building an entirely new movie—nay, an entire franchise—around her.

The trailer—which hints at a movie that unravels much like a Reputation-era Taylor Swift music video—is filled to the brim with details and easter eggs. There are too many, in fact, that we’re going to leave it to our friends at to break down.

What’s more interesting is where director Cathy Yan, whose debut film Dead Pigs offers her ability to thread multiple subplots into one cohesive whole, is going to take the movie.

The "Birds of Prey" trailer, explained
The cast of “Birds of Prey” // Warner Bros

The two-minute trailer tells us that Birds of Prey, like ours, exists in a man’s world. Ewan McGregor plays the Orwellian crimelord named Black Mask who in the movie appears to be involved with the Birds and their respective less-than-sunny existence.

Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), for one, is the meta-human talent shackled to Black Mask’s underground mafia club. The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) might be under his or another mob’s employ; either way, the dexterous archer appears to have a bone to pick. Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) is a disillusioned detective looking to hunt him down. And Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) is the prodigious daughter of an assassin and a supervillainess, and Black Mask is keen on taking her.

At the center of all this, of course, is Harley Quinn herself, played by Margot Robbie. She tells us that she and Joker* had split. It just so happens that her idea of Eat, Pray, Love is a deathly trip to Black Mask’s domain and make mayhem.

*the Jared Leto one, not Joaquin Phoenix. I figured it’s important to distinguish.

The "Birds of Prey" trailer, explained
Margot Robbie in “Birds of Prey” // Warner Bros

“A harlequin’s role,” she tells Black Canary. “Is to serve. It’s nothing without a master.”

That line alludes to the movie’s so-long-you’d-think-they-be-trolling title, Birds of Prey and the Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. The keyword, obviously, is “emancipation”, which might be speaking to Quinn coming into her own woman, a sort of liberation from Mr. J.

With that said, I’d imagine drafts are already being written about how this movie is one for womanhood, which it very may well be—an ensemble comic book movie with a truly female perspective. However, from the looks of the trailer, it is first and foremost a movie about antiheroines and supervillains. Suffice it to say, there is enough action and fan service for it to require shoehorning modern feminism like, say, with a good chunk of Captain Marvel.

The "Birds of Prey" trailer, explained
Margot Robbie in “Birds of Prey” // Warner Bros

Oh, and they are bringing Harley Quinn’s doggos—well, one doggo, or O.K., hyena.

Robbie’s take on Harley Quinn is undoubtedly DC’s biggest commodity, and it makes complete sense to have her appear in just about every I.P. movie in their roster. She’s set to appear on the James Gunn-directed Suicide Squad 2, and assuming that this movie is a box office success, the Gotham City Sirens movie.

Watch the full first trailer for Birds of Prey. It opens in theaters on February 2020.

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