CineToy Tamashii! Review of S.H.Figuarts
Harley Quinn (BIRDS OF PREY)

CineToy Tamashii is a column written by a movie critic and toy fan. In this installment, we’ll take a look at the 2020 film “Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.”

Now that “Wonder Woman 1984” is grabbing headlines, it wouldn’t do to forget that darling of the DC Extended Universe, 2020’s “Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn!” As the DCEU’s thrilling first all-girl team-up, it’s a movie worth celebrating!
And now one Harley Quinn is joining the S.H.Figuarts series. We still haven’t covered this new release in CineToy Tamashii, and it’s time to remedy that. So sit back and let me wax eloquent about this awesome movie and figure both.

A Goregous Pop Uniform!

First off, the biggest difference here is her gloriously flashy outfit, so different from the one Margot Robbie wore for Harley Quinn’s first appearance in 2016’s “Suicide Squad.” It was one of many costumes worn during “Birds of Prey,” and the S.H.Figuarts figure perfectly showcases this over-the-top jumpsuit look from the climax of the film.
The look was designed by Erin Benach, whose work can be seen in hits including “The Neon Demon” (2016) and “A Star is Born” (2018). “Birds of Prey” was the designer’s first time working on a comic-book movie.

Benach was aiming for a look totally unlike any hero movie had used before, and Director Cathy Yan specifically asked her not to consider the male gaze when designing Harley’s outfits. She wanted something that a woman would pick for herself. In response, Benach developed three “rules” governing Harley’s look in “Birds of Prey.” They were:

-No skintight bodysuits!
-Nothing that looks like underwear!
-Always empowering clothes a woman would choose for herself!

In addition, she took inspiration from design ideas submitted by Margot Robbie (who served as a producer as well as the lead.)

Based on her thorough research for playing the character, Robbie’s suggestion was that Harley wouldn’t wear anything utilitarian. And that she picks the WRONG look for the occasion. That weirdness is key to her charm.

Reflecting these design decisions, they transformed the black-and-red diamond pattern jumpsuit so well known from the comics into this gloriously golden jumpsuit look, as seen on the S.H.Figuarts figure! Standing 145mm tall, it perfectly captures her on-screen appearance, diamond pattern and all.

S.H.Figuarts faithfully portrays Harley Quinn, even down to her tattoos! On her right arm is the J she had done to commemorate her love for Joker, then converted into a mermaid after breaking up with him. You can even see the ROTTEN tattoo on her right jaw – there’s that much detail.

Updated Action Puts You in the Action!

One of the best parts of “Birds of Prey” is that Margot Robbie did the majority of her own stunt scenes herself. In the comics, she was originally a gymnast, which she puts to use in her acrobatic fighting style, as seen in “Suicide Squad.”

In “Birds of Prey,” she upgrades this unique style with ferocious flair. Director Cathy Yan envisioned the fighting scenes as “classic Jackie Chan movie style.” In particular, his tricky style as seen in “Drunken Master” (1978). On this foundation, they created Harley’s iconic, gymnastic, wild, sadistic, spicy, dirty, and totally unpredictably out-there fighting style.

My absolute favorite move from “Suicide Squad” was when Harley scissored an opponent’s head between her legs, then spiraled her body to send him flying in a total acrobat-meets-pro-wrestling move. This trick actually debuted in “Iron Man 2” (2010) with Black Widow, and has since established itself as a go-to move for women to disable much stronger men in combat. Actually now that I write these words I realize it’s getting a little overused.... Mera did it in the DC Extended Universe film “Aquaman” (2019), too. But I’m not complaining about “Birds of Prey.” This crazy, hardcore style is a perfect fit for Harley Quinn.

Here’s another example. When Harley’s in the Gotham City Jail, she launches off a roundoff cartwheel-kick into a pitched battle with eight other inmates. Using their arms like poles she rotates through the air, showing off her gymnastics skills as she downs them one after the other. Or what we call in Japanese pro-wrestling the Sling Blade: spinning around the opponent’s neck in midair and using the momentum to throw them.

The fight scene in the police department vault showcases the drop kicks Harley Quinn showed off in the “Injustice” series of fighting games. And the last scene of the film, she shows off the classic pro-wrestling move of the arm drag throw against Black Mask. You can replicate all of these moves with the incredible posability of the S.H.Figuarts Harley Quinn figure!

Incredible Accessories!

One thing fans of the comics are sure to notice is how “Birds of Prey” replaces the baseball bat Harley used in “Suicide Squad” with her familiar hammer! (In the comics, Harley’s named it Beatrice, by the way.) It’s supposed to be the same one glimpsed for a moment in “Suicide Squad,” but it’s been made a little smaller to make it easier to use in action scenes. The S.H.Figuarts Harley Quinn replicates the size of this version of the hammer.

What’s more, the S.H.Figuarts Harley Quinn includes that must-have accessory as seen at the film’s climax: her roller skates! In the movie Harley gets in a dangerous roller skate chase on screen, another influence from Jackie Chan movies, in particular 1980’s “The Big Brawl” and 1983’s “Winners and Sinners.”

Margot Robbie fans who remembered her outstanding figure skating performance in “I, Tonya” (2017) undoubtedly wondered if that was why she showcased those skills in this film. No! Fans of the comics may see where I’m going with this, but in the NEW52 series Harley Quinn joined a roller derby league, so that element was in place even before Robbie’s turn in “I, Tonya.”
One more thing I’d like to mention is that one of Robbie’s first roles as a child actor was in the ice-hockey movie “The Mighty Ducks” (1992), so she’s the owner of a resume with a lot of skating on it already. In fact she’s been in skates even before Harley put them on in the comic! In “Birds of Prey” Harley says, “Luckily for me, I have all my best ideas drunk” and I think Margot Robbie does have a great one.

The S.H.Figuarts Harley Quinn includes three head options, and one features Margot Robbie’s inimitable big grin! If you display this dangerously gorgeous it-girl in your home, it’s got to beckon some kind of luck. Right? Or something. Whatever. She’s beautiful!

One other suggestion: she’d look awesome posed alongside the S.H.Figuarts Wonder Woman Golden Armor (WW84) figure. Put them together in your room and power up your goregeous-meter!

TEXT: Ginty Kobayashi

RELATED ITEMS
S.H.Figuarts Harley Quinn (BIRDS OF PREY)

S.H.Figuarts Harley Quinn (BIRDS OF PREY)

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BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN) and all related characters and elements © & ™ DC and WBEI. (s21)

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