Leaked Birds Of Prey spoilers warn of a problematic gay storyline.
(Warning: Spoilers for Margot Robbie’s Birds of Prey found below. If you wish to know nothing about the upcoming film, now’s your chance to click away).
Earlier today, we shared with you the news that Birds of Prey’s main antagonist will be depicted as gay. The initial news leak came with the story that Black Mask, played by Ewan McGregor, will have intense sexual tension with Chris Messina’s Victor Zsasz. At first, we reported this story with the question of whether the gay tension will be as subtle as Hollywood’s other depictions of late. But, new leaks on the film’s storyline ease those worries and present new ones.
After hearing the initial story, movie news reporter and film reviewer Grace Randolph started digging to find more information. In the video below, she explains her discovery of a questionable storyline involving Black Mask.
Randolph first confirmed the story of Black Mask being gay with a source in Hollywood. She also learned that Black Mask’s sexuality will not just be hinted but an outright present force in his presentation and motivations.
“Black Mask would be, at times, flamboyant gay in this movie. ‘Obsessed with art,’ is what my source said,” explained Randolph.
She then adds, “The storyline is that Cassandra Cain [played by Ella Jay Basco] eats a diamond to hide it from him… Apparently, he’s after her throughout the film to cut it out of her.”
So far, so good in our book. LGBTQ characters can be villains with dishonorable actions and motives. In fact, it’s a necessity to have such characters among the group of LGBTQ representation. But, it looks like the film takes a misstep later on.
As Grace Randolph elaborates, the main conflict in the story is based on the fact that Black Mask is trying to get back private photos of himself. Or as Randolph explains:
“While our heroes, or anti-heroes, assume he simply wants the diamond or that it has important criminal information hidden inside of it, the real story is that it’s actually pics of his private parts that he doesn’t want anyone to see.”
Randolph then looked to confirm the story with another source who had read an earlier version of the script. That friend confirmed this twist.
In Randolph’s response to this spoiler-filled twist, she shares her perspective that it’s, “Very disrespectful to the characters, to the LGBTQ community, and the kind of mistakes that the DCEU made before that we thought they had moved past.”
As for this writer, I’m conflicted on the storyline. Putting a gay man at the center of the story is great. Giving gay media a villain is great too because it ultimately shows range in gay representation. But having the storyline be focused on nude picture leaks is weak at best. And possibly concerning given the fact that Birds of Prey is partly comedic.
It’s fair to say that Margot Robbie is trying to turn Harley Quinn into the DECU’s Deadpool. A witty, zany, and violent character (who’s LGBTQ despite the films not depicting that aspect). This Birds of Prey film is thus going to be a dramedy with a darkly comedic tone.
But will the nude photos storyline be depicted with a dark tone or a comedic one? That’s the real question here. If these Black Mask photos are made out to be humorous, that could ultimately pose a problem and make an easy target for jokes/critique. LGBTQ characters and fans don’t need that.
With the film being in post-production, there is time to fix this with reshoots. Perhaps, it would be better if what’s inside the diamond changes to something else like pictures of a late loved one. That could then lead to a powerful scene for Black Mask.
I hear Black Mask in Birds of Prey is "A great, GREAT villain. The best in the DCEU so far and one of the best villains in a superhero movie ever" so that's good! pic.twitter.com/kSsSW9rTNc
— Daniel Richtman (@DanielRPK) June 27, 2019
To be fair though, early reaction viewers have given the film high praise. Movie Web even reports that Black Mask could be the best DCEU villain yet. In addition, every source that Randolph reached out to shared their approval of the film and its plot.
As such, is Randolph’s reaction just a case of pre-emptive online offense? Let’s be honest, this is a film that neither she nor we have seen yet. The film is still in post-production and is still coming along as we speak. Who are we to be offended or worried about a movie that we have no clue about besides one teaser trailer, a few set photos, and Hollywood sources?
Randolph’s argument is that the private photos angle is problematic and should be dealt with through reshoots before the movie hits theaters. That said, the reshoots will only happen if more people express offense at the idea. And so far, she’s the only one. Ultimately, this nudes heist storyline is a bit concerning. But is it worth raising digital pitchforks? I’m not so sure.
But what do you think? For all the movie fans out there who didn’t mind spoilers and read up to this point, are you still interested in this Birds of Prey film? Do you want to see how this diamond chase plays out? Or, are you calling for reshoots? Let me know down in the comments below.