With Birds of Prey starting its marketing campaign with the official poster and trailer having just been released, fans are speculating as to what this fun film could add to the wider DCEU. It appears, based on the inclusion of one Harley Quinn, that the film will continue to be in the same continuity as the other DC movies.
This has its benefits and drawbacks as Birds of Prey could both add to the DCEU and diminish it in some way. The universe is currently at a time of change where big creative decisions are defining the direction the franchise will move in the future. Birds of Prey will continue to help with those choices and so we're looking at ways the film could make the DCEU worse and improve it!
10 MAKE WORSE: MORE JOKER
It has to be said that the DCEU version of the Joker is one of the worst put to screen. While Jared Leto certainly gave it his best effort, a combination of bad writing and editing meant that the Joker in the final film was not one that fans were fond of.
The trailers have already revealed that the Joker will appear, even if in a short flashback, in Birds of Prey. The hope is that this emancipation for Harley Quinn will finally remove this version of the Joker from the DCEU. On the other hand though, it could bring him back bigger than ever, looking for revenge.
9 IMPROVE: BLACK MASK GANG
One of the best and most underrated villains in all of the Batman rogues gallery is Black Mask. Sionis has yet to be featured in any DC live-action film, but they will change with Ewan McGregor's portrayal of the crime boss.
The whole of the DCEU can improve will great villains like this. It would set the bar higher and will flesh out the world further. In future films, the Black Mask Gang can be used as a smaller threat for the heroes to face to help build them to their next big fight. This all works effectively if the version of Black Mask is sufficient though.
8 MAKE WORSE: LINK TO SUICIDE SQUAD
The problem with Birds of Prey is that it so heavily links to Suicide Squad with the inclusion of Harley Quinn as well as other characters perhaps. This is a film that is coming back to prominence thanks to the soft reboot from James Gunn.
However the film was critically panned upon its release and was one of the major problems with the DCEU. If this film relies too heavily upon it there's a risk that some of the same problems could arise as part of it. Continuing to acknowledge a poor entry in the franchise could diminish the streak that it has been on recently. The best thing it can do is stand by itself.
7 IMPROVE: MORE HARLEY
One of the highlights of the whole universe is Margot Robbie's portrayal of Harley Quinn herself. The performance has made the character a pop icon and the Birds of Prey film is clearly marketed around the former girlfriend to the clown prince of crime.
The intelligent and feisty Harley is one of the best characters in all of DC. She's a joy to watch or read and it's great that there's going to be so much more of her for audiences to enjoy. Robbie is clearly having a blast playing the character and so more Harley is a benefit to everyone involved!
6 MAKE WORSE: NO BATMAN
Batman should be one of the focal points of this universe. After Ben Affleck left the role though, it seems that Batman is being written out of the DCEU. While in the past he could have made a cameo in any film, now that he's gone this could damage the universe.
Birds of Prey is a film that will really feel the absence of Batman. The film will probably largely take place in Gotham City and is dealing with a lot of characters that the dark knight normally interacts with.
5 IMPROVE: NEW TEAM
The more characters that are added to the DCEU the richer a universe it will be. The addition of this famous team from the comics opens up a lot of doorways for the future. Each character could potentially be incredibly successful and spawn brand new franchises.
The addition of this team also creates further crossover potential for future films. Watching the Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman interact could be a lot of fun, or perhaps this talented team of women could be found facing off against the new Suicide Squad being created.
4 MAKE WORSE: COSTUMES
The costumes of the DCEU are mixed at best. Some of them are spectacular while others leave a lot to be desired. The trailer for the Birds of Prey indicate that the costumes of the film could certainly be mixed. This would continue a worrying trend in the universe.
It's a shame that the film is including characters like the Question without actually giving them their proper superhero costume. Not only this, it appears that for the majority of the film the Black Mask won't actually wear a black mask, which is a very odd choice.
3 IMPROVE: MORE COLORFUL
Despite the lack of quality costumes in the trailer, it's clear that there's certainly not going to be a lack of color. The film is bursting with different shades of pink and blue and really pops when you see some of the frames from it.
The DCEU has been criticized in the past for being too dark and gritty. While theirs certainly a realistic grit associated with this production, the over the top elements and the color make it feel a lot more comic book accurate and brings a bit of fun back to the franchise.
2 MAKE WORSE: DERAIL THE FRANCHISE
The DCEU is currently recovering from some really big failures. The reputation of this universe has been damaged and it has forced the creative team to change the way in which it's going to present these characters.
As the universe continues to heal, it can't really afford a misstep. If Birds of Prey is both critically and financially a failure, then it could spell trouble for the rest of the universe. While we're not suggesting if could ruin the other films, it would certainly make the producers take pause and re-evaluate how they will create the other films.
1 IMPROVE: TONE
The tone of the DC movies is also all over the place. It started with a dark and realistic tone and has quickly become laced with humour and over the top action. There's clearly an internal struggle over the creative direction to take these characters in.
The Birds of Prey film can decide on a unique tone that makes it stand out from the other films. This will continue the notion that each DCEU film can have its own tone but still feel cohesive to the rest of the universe. If the film gets this right it could really help the wider universe.