I saw Birds of Prey over the weekend and I adored every moment of it. It has the perfect blend of character development and comic-book fight scenes with acrobatic feats performed by the lead actresses, allowing me to leave the theater a very happy woman that wishes she could jump on the legs of assholes and snap their knees.
Going in I was curious about how the characters I knew from the comics would be translated to the screen. I was happy with that too. Here’s a rough breakdown of the characters and any differences some DC fans may pick up. Some minor spoilers possible below, but I tried my best to avoid them.
This Harley is straight out of the New 52, from her stuffed beaver to her roller derby stint. Once again, Margot Robbie plays my favorite DC anti-hero in a way that shows the character’s many flaws, her hilarity, and her badassery.
Dinah Lance/Black Canary
Lance’s life on the streets after her mother’s death is touched upon in the movie, matching up with her rough time growing up in the comics. She’s got a gorgeous voice and the fighting skills to take on anyone that crosses her. Her insane Canary Cry is present in the movie, but it’s clear that she would be fine sticking to hand-to-hand combat and using her metahuman ability sparingly. It’s another faithful representation of the character from page to screen.
In the comics, several women held the title of Huntress. This includes Helena Wayne, Bruce’s daughter with Selina Kyle, and the Helena Bertinelli we get in the flick. In the movie, Huntress is the sole survivor of a crime family, training in order to seek vengeance for the deaths of her loved ones. From her crossbow to her preference to fly solo, the movie and comic versions of Huntress are close.
Cain is a complete departure from her comic book origins where she was a skilled, mute assassin trained by her father. She escaped her abusive father and found refuge with the Bat Family, becoming the fourth Batgirl and eventually the hero known as Orphan. In the movie, Cain is a kid in foster care that lives in the same building as Dinah Lance and finds a target on her back after pickpocketing a valuable diamond from Zsasz and Sionis. She’s not a warrior at all and requires the protection of the Birds of Prey.
A Gotham detective originally introduced in Batman: The Animated Series, Montoya has always turned her nose up at the corruption that fells so many of her colleagues in the precinct. During a run in the comics, Two-Face makes Montoya’s sexuality public in an attempt to ruin her life, prompting her religious parents to disown her for being a lesbian. In another run, she takes on the mantle of hero the Question after leaving the police force.
Montoya’s sexuality is represented in Birds of Prey, as she works with her ex-girlfriend Ellen Yee, the district attorney.
Roman Sionis/Black Mask
It becomes very clear early on that this Roman Sionis is obsessed with torturing his adversaries and masks - taken from victims or the one he wears as Black Mask. This hews closely to the comics, as does his background as a rich kid getting Janus Cosmetics through his parents.
The Zsasz of the comics believes that he is giving his victims a gift of death since life doesn’t matter at all. For every victim, Zsasz carves his body with a tally mark. He usually slits their throats and poses those he kills, but in the service of Black Mask he takes a different tack to suit his obsessions.