Why Harley Quinn Became a Bernie Sanders Supporter in ‘Birds of Prey’ - TheWrap

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(There is a minor spoiler for “Birds of Prey” below)

“Birds of Prey” is a wild experience, a movie that is so lively and fast paced that it seems like every moment has some new crazy thing to try to comprehend before the next one comes up. There’s just so much to absorb in this thing.

So it can be easy, when leaving the theater, to forget one of the most fascinating bits in the whole film: that “Bird of Prey” established that Bernie Sanders exists in this shared universe of movies based on DC Comics.

This reveal comes midway through the film, when when lots of random folks who Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has wronged in various ways try to kill her. Each time we meet a new one of these folks, Harley pauses the film and tells us what she did that made them hate her so much — the “grievances.” And when the main villain, Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) runs into her, the list of grievances is very, very long. Harley skims through the list, and in the middle of it is the fact that she “voted for Bernie.”

Also Read: 'Birds of Prey' Director Cathy Yan Wants to See a Harley Quinn - Poison Ivy Film as Much as You Do (Video)

This is pretty crazy because there are a lot of really fun implications to consider here. The DC world is not our world, what with the setting of “Birds of Prey” being the entirely fictional Gotham City. Plus, the presence of superheros and all that.

So like, Bernie exists in this movie, and he was running for president? Is Donald Trump the president? Is the political establishment the same in that universe as it is here? Or did Bernie actually win in 2016 in that universe? If she voted for Bernie does that mean that the Joker also voted for Bernie? Who did all the other super people in these movies vote for? There’s a lot to think about.

We don’t know the answers to all those questions. But we do know how this joke came to be, because we asked director Cathy Yan about it when she visited our office recently.

Yan said the joke more of an offhand thing than a calculated bit of political commentary, really just there purely because it’s a funny idea that Harley voted for Bernie and that’s why the bad guy wants her dead. She said that the idea came up while she and “Birds of Prey” screenwriter Christina Hodson were having a brainstorm session trying to come up with funny reasons why Roman would be mad at Harley.

Also Read: 'Birds of Prey': Mary Elizabeth Winstead Never Considered Female-Led Film Wouldn't Appeal to Wider Audience (Video)

“With the grievances we were just kinda coming up with different grievances, and I would throw some ideas in, and Christina Hodson would throw some ideas in,” Yan said. “I think the Bernie thing, I’ll give full credit to Christina on that one. And we all just chuckled at it so we thought, why not? And I think tonally and stylistically this is a movie that can afford that kind of stuff, and a little bit of self-awareness — or a lot of self-awareness, I should say. And not a lot of movies get to make a Bernie joke, so sure, let’s do it.”

So yeah. It’s just for fun! But we can’t stop thinking about what this means for the DCEU. It probably doesn’t actually mean anything, but it’s amusing to think about anyway.

Every DC Comics Movie Ranked From Worst to Best, Including 'Birds of Prey' and 'Joker'

  • dc comics movies ranked joker birds of prey

    The DC Comics universe hasn't flooded the big screen quite the way Marvel ones have, but the DC brand has been hitting the big screen longer in the modern era. We ranked all those modern flicks, from "Superman: The Movie" to "Joker" and "Birds of Prey"

  • jonah hex
  • superman 4

    35. "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" (1987)

    Christopher Reeve is by far the best Superman. But "Superman IV" is a bomb in every sense -- partly because of its heavy-handedness about bombs. Nuclear bombs. The film finds Superman trying to eliminate the world's nuclear threat, but his best intentions run afoul of a silly, badly dated villain named Nuclear Man.

  • supergirl movie 1984

    34. "Supergirl" (1984)

    We had a female-superhero movie in 1984, and it was pure cheese. But hey, at least they tried. The best thing I can say about it is there are worse things in life than this movie.

  • Suicide Squad
  • steel movie shaq

    32. "Steel" (1997)

    Best known as "the one Shaq was in back when he tried acting," "Steel" is pretty bad. But the fun kind of bad.

  • Justice League DC

    31. "Justice League"

    Warner Bros has continued to innovate in how to make bad DCEU movies, with "Justice League" managing to be terrible in a totally different way from "Batman v Superman" and "Suicide Squad."

  • man of steel

    30. "Man of Steel" (2013)

    Could have been worse, I guess. But it's still morally gross and has a plot that doesn't make sense. That it's very pretty to look at doesn't override those things nearly enough to make it watchable.

  • Joker

    29. "Joker" (2019) 

    This is not a good characterization of the Joker as a human being, and aside from that it's just a soulless, meaningless experience. 

  • catwoman movie halle berry

    28. "Catwoman" (2004)

    Thoroughly horrible, but somehow amusing even so. Sad that it's seemingly been swept into the litter box of history.

  • batman and robin 1997

    27. "Batman & Robin" (1997)

    Rightly hated, but it's tremendously entertaining here and there. Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzeneggar are going so far over the top I can't help but admire them.

  • superman 3

    26. "Superman III" (1983)

    Featured a brilliant corporate rip-off -- one later referenced in "Office Space" -- but the attempt to funny things up with the addition of Richard Pryor didn't gel. There was also a weird bit about a weather satellite creating bad weather, which isn't what weather satellites do. Seeing Clark Kent fight Superman was pretty cool, though.

  • green lantern

    25. "Green Lantern" (2011)

    Overreliance on cartoony visual effects during a period when big blockbusters were moving away from that aesthetic meant this was a movie nobody liked. Not that it was especially horrible. It just looked like a dumb cartoon and is hard to watch.

  • dark knight rises

    24. "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)

    Probably wasn't intended to be a grim and gritty Shumacher Batmovie, but that is indeed what it is. This is Nolan going full Hollywood, smashing plot points into place by sheer force of will rather than because they make sense. An extremely theatrical Tom Hardy as Bane is amusing front to back, and a nuke with a countdown clock on it will never get old.

  • Batman v Superman

    23. "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016)

    A total mess that hates Superman and turns Batman into a total maniac. None of those things are good. Ben Affleck can't save the thing, but he's excellent nonetheless and gives it a huge bump it probably doesn't deserve.

  • watchmen movie dr manhattan

    22. "Watchmen" (2009)

    I have no particular affection for the revered "Watchmen" comic the way a lot of other nerds do, so my distaste for this adaptation isn't personal. It just doesn't add up to nearly as much as it thinks it does.

  • batman 89

    21. "Batman" (1989)

    Fondly remembered mostly because it was the first Batmovie in a couple decades. It isn't actually very good, though. The reveal that a younger version of the Joker killed Bruce Wayne's parents is as hamfistedly dumb as it gets in a "Batman" movie.

  • v for vendetta

    20. "V for Vendetta" (2006)

    Felt nothing watching this. I tried, OK. It's impeccably made, though, and very watchable.

  • Losers movie
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    18. "Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition" (2016)

    Giving this its own slot because it fundamentally changes the narrative of the movie and the character of Superman in the DC Extended Universe. This version is still not great (especially at three freaking hours), but it's a monumental improvement over the theatrical version.

  • red 2 movie

    17. "Red 2" (2013) 

    Did you even know these were comic book movies? Whatever, it's a great cast in a serviceable action movie and everybody's having a good time. Hard to remember, but fun.

  • red movie

    16. "Red" (2010)

    Better than its sequel, but they're basically the same.

  • batman forever

    15. "Batman Forever" (1995)

    Hits just the right tone for what Joel Shumacher was trying to do with the two films he directed. Tommy Lee Jones, as Two Face, is doing stuff in this movie that is hard to believe even today, given his perpetual sour face in nearly every other movie he's been in.

  • superman returns

    14. "Superman Returns" (2006)

    Actually a pretty decent attempt by Bryan Singer to do a Christopher Reeve "Superman" movie in the present day, but Brandon Routh couldn't pull off the charisma it takes to be the Man of Steel. It was his first movie, so that's not surprising. But it's a shame, because Routh has gotten much better in the years since.

  • batman mask of the phantasm

    13. "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" (1993)

    Remember that time they released a "Batman" cartoon theatrically? It gets lost amongst all the live-action ones, but "Mask of the Phantasm" is better than most of them.

  • Lego Batman Movie

    12. "The LEGO Batman Movie" (2017)

    Funny, sweet and self-deprecating -- exactly what we needed in the wake of the disaster that was "Batman v Superman."

  • superman 2

    11. "Superman II" (1980)

    Made kids everywhere cry as they watched Superman give up his powers for a normal life with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). There are different edits of this movie, and we frankly can't keep them straight. But the sight of a powerless Clark getting beat up in a diner made Superman as sympathetic as he's ever been.

  • Warner Bros wonder woman dc comics movies ranked

    10. "Wonder Woman" (2017)

    Has the standard origin movie problem of "too much story, not enough time." And the standard DC Extended Universe problem of "We gotta have a nonsensical CGI battle at the end." But despite those caveats it's an enormous delight, and a big step forward for the DCEU.

  • does birds of prey have a post-credits scene harley quinn

    9. "Birds of Prey" (2020) 

    This film is sensory overload, but (mostly) in all the right ways. And it's got the best action we've ever seen in any DC or Marvel movie. This would be a top 5 DC flick easily if the storytelling wasn't such a huge mess.

  • joker Todd Phillips

    8. "The Dark Knight" (2008)

    Should be way shorter, but Heath Ledger's Joker is far and away the best villain in any of these movies. Ledger elevates what would otherwise be just another self-indulgent Christopher Nolan exercise into an endlessly watchable picture.

  • batman returns

    7. "Batman Returns" (1992)

    One of the best of the franchise because it's really just a political thriller. The Penguin emerges from the sewer and runs for mayor of Gotham! It's great stuff, especially as we continue to watch the rise of Trump in our world.

  • Shazam Zachary Levi

    6. "Shazam" (2019)

    It’s just so much fun! It’s a blast to watch, and is just a really nice celebration of the good parts of humanity. “Shazam” is a movie that simply feels good to watch.

  • constantine movie keanu reeves

    5. "Constantine" (2005)

    A happy balance of serious and ridiculous, manages to find exactly the right tone for this weird religious fantasy and a cast led by Keanu Reeves. They all seem to get it.

  • Aquaman

    4. "Aquaman" (2018)

    It's not often that we get a comic book movie that is: full on ridiculous; loves how ridiculous it is; and is made with skill by a legitimately great filmmaker. James Wan's "Aquaman" is all of that, and it's just a wonderful experience.

  • superman the movie

    3. "Superman: The Movie" (1978)

    This is the gold standard of Superman movies, and was the best superhero movie bar none for many, many years. John Williams' score soars, and so does the believable and compelling romance between Superman and Lois Lane. The film convincingly blended camp (in the form of Gene Hackman's wonderful Lex Luthor), an epic origin story that actually felt epic, and funny lines. The scene in which Supes and Lois fly together is one of the most beautiful metaphors for new love ever captured on film.

  • batman 66

    2. "Batman: The Movie" (1966)

    Has a timelessness that none of the other films do, and it's just a delight from beginning to end thanks to Adam West's winking Batman and the coalition of villains who can't stop cackling maniacally. Watching it again recently, I found it functions almost perfectly as a parody of the super-serious Christopher Nolan Batfilms, which is incredible.

  • batman begins dead parents

    1. "Batman Begins" (2005)

    The most complete film, on its own, in the entire live-action franchise. It's just, like, a regular movie... except it's about Batman. It has actual characters and everything, and Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne even has emotions. It's weird.

How does the latest entry in the DC Extended Universe fare in our rankings?

The DC Comics universe hasn't flooded the big screen quite the way Marvel ones have, but the DC brand has been hitting the big screen longer in the modern era. We ranked all those modern flicks, from "Superman: The Movie" to "Joker" and "Birds of Prey"


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