Compared to the kinds of baddies she’s fought on the big screen in the past, Harley Quinn’s poised to go toe to toe with some much more street-level villains in Birds of Prey who mainly fight with regular weapons. But the Birds of Prey will have a distinct metahuman advantage on their side during their upcoming adventure, courtesy of Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Black Canary.
Though the Black Canary’s both a gifted hand-to-hand combatant and a metahuman capable of emitting a powerful sonic scream in DC’s comics, a number of the character’s (reimagined) live-action depictions have downplayed the canary cry in favour of focusing on the hero’s fighting skills. But a brief moment in Birds of Prey’s final trailer made it clear that Black Canary will most definitely be a bit more than human on the big screen.
According to Smollett-Bell, she drew inspiration for her performance from the video game Injustice 2, of all places. In an interview with IGN, she explained how, beyond simply looking at the way that Injustice 2's Dinah Lance comported herself physically when using her powers, she also took the time to consider how the character only wields them in very particular circumstances.
“For me, I really wanted to make it primal. It’s not something she uses, it’s something she’s trying to hide,” Smollett-Bell said. “So to get to that point, she has to rev herself up. It’s such a guttural point and a guttural place.”
What will be interesting to see is whether Birds of Prey ends up having Black Canary scream just to knock foes back, or if the film leans into some of the wilder applications of her powers that could lead to some visually stunning fight sequences.
Birds of Prey hits Australian cinemas on February 6.