Huntress aka The Crossbow Killer aka Helena Bertinelli is a crossbow-wielding vigilante and a member of Birds of Prey, who made their cinematic debut in the recent Harley Quinn movie. With a dramatic backstory involving a deceased Italian crime family, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was praised for her performance as Huntress, cementing her position in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) in the forthcoming Birds of Prey sequels that seem to be planned for the future.
The cinematic take on the character is more realistic in nature, donning a more stealthy costume instead of the dated purplish get-up that the Huntress usually wore in comics and animated series. But, still, there are a few aspects of the character that need to be answered further to make sense.
- 1 10 Her Explosive Anger Issues
- 2 9 Her Over-Reliance On The Crossbow
- 3 8 The Name Itself
- 4 7 Her Multilingualism
- 5 6 Her Lack of a Mask
- 6 5 Not knowing Roman Sionis was behind her family’s massacre
- 7 4 The Impossibly Strong Bluetooth Connection
- 8 3 The Purple Toy Car
- 9 2 She Calls Her Bolts Arrows
- 10 1 She Has The Least Screen Time Among The Birds Of Prey
10 Her Explosive Anger Issues
Huntress is hellbent on seeking revenge for the death of her parents. This explains her rage, at least to an extent. Otherwise, her outbursts seem to be random and unnecessary.
When some stranger taunts Harley, she would retaliate violently but in an appropriately slapstick way. Meanwhile, Huntress takes it a notch higher by mortally wounding the offending party. While Harley and the other characters still derive some fun from their violence, rage seems to be driving Huntress and nothing else. Black Canary shows her concern by asking her if she had anger issues and of course, Huntress denies this by yelling at the top of her voice.
9 Her Over-Reliance On The Crossbow
The crossbow as a weapon has been used by characters across fandoms, from Van Helsing to Chewbacca. But any weapon with arrows isn’t that efficient because after all, how many arrows can Huntress carry? That, and aren’t there more practical modern weapons than what’s basically an upgraded bow and arrow?
In comparison, Black Canary and Harley Quinn are known for wielding a baseball bat and an ultrasonic scream, respectively, but they still mostly rely on hand-to-hand combat skills. Huntress’s over-reliance on her crossbow seems a bit irrational, considering the fast-paced battles she engages in. She does keep a handgun and a tactical knife handy, but she only deploys these sparingly.
8 The Name Itself
‘They call me the Huntress,’ Helena proclaims proudly as the cops and other villains dub her ‘The Crossbow Killer.’ Even when she says that, Harley and the others have a bewildered expression on their faces. Their confusion is justified as Huntress indeed sounds like a very basic and conventional name for a superheroine. Not only that, but it doesn’t really fit the bill.
Huntress has undergone several incarnations, having been the identity of two characters in the comics and more recently as a side character in Arrow, Smallville and Justice League Unlimited. And yet, it’s hard to take her seriously with that name. She doesn’t even have a strong hunting background or shtick to begin with, unlike Marvel’s villainous big game hunter, Kraven the Hunter. She just hunts her parents’ assassins and other villains but so many other heroes do that kind of ‘hunting’ on a much larger scale.
7 Her Multilingualism
Huntress learned Italian, as she spent most of her childhood in Italy. First, she spent time with her family, and when her family got massacred, she spent all the years of her youth training as an assassin. Once confident with her abilities, she proceeded to move to Gotham to seek revenge.
But then, she’s shown interacting with Doc, the owner of a restaurant Harley hides in, by speaking fluent Mandarin. The question is when and where did she get the time to master the language if she was busy training in other departments.
6 Her Lack of a Mask
Huntress in comics and the Arrowverse often dons a mask, which is one of the most essential and wisest choices for a vigilante like herself. The purpose is simple: If she’s going to lead a life where she’ll be fighting dangerous foes, a mask is the least she can wear to conceal her identity.
It can be argued that she lost her family, so she has nothing to lose. But with her current alliances that will surely return in in future films, she’ll have to wear a mask to protect her own identity as well as those of her loved ones. She does wear one at the end of the film, but it could be a bit too late.
5 Not knowing Roman Sionis was behind her family’s massacre
Before joining the Birds of Prey, Huntress tracks down all of the hitmen involved in the massacre of her family, though she never realizes that Roman Sionis (aka Black Mask) was the one who gave said hitmen the information that led to her family’s murders. Despite years’ worth of investigating and plotting, it’s almost funny to see Huntress only realize Roman’s involvement by the end not because she put the pieces together, but because someone offhandedly mentioned it.
It’s not like Sionis is a very subtle villain; if anything, he’s a creature of violent impulse who didn’t bother hiding his connection to the Bertinelli massacre. How did Huntress miss this?
4 The Impossibly Strong Bluetooth Connection
This will be a bit of nitpicking but all superhero universes definitely have very advanced Bluetooth connections. Just take the final chase of Birds of Prey, for instance. Harley is roller-skating behind some goons, and Huntress is doing the same at a farther distance.
And yet, despite the motorcycle noise and even while wearing a helmet, she is still able to hear Harley in a clear manner on her Bluetooth headset. It just seems a bit unrealistic. Either that or they have really loud voices.
3 The Purple Toy Car
Apparently, Helena’s brother owned a figurine of a purple car that she starts keeping ever since his death. The car works as some sort of totem or charm for her as she just holds it in her had whenever she goes through a burst of anger. During the final showdown at the Booby Trap, she even takes it out to calm down Cassandra Cain.
Barring the relation with her brother, there’s not much else revealed about the purple car. Is there some sort of connection between the color of the car and the color of her own costume? Is there a deeper meaning involved? It seems to be a relevant plot point for Huntress’s character, but nothing more is said.
2 She Calls Her Bolts Arrows
When Harley mistakenly calls her crossbow a bow and arrow, Huntress angrily tells her that her chief weapon is a crossbow. For a character who loves the crossbow this much, it’s funny to see her and the others refer to the arrow-like projectiles of her weapon as just… arrows.
However, in reality, these crossbow projectiles are called “quarrels” or “bolts.” Arguably, these are just semantics but one would expect someone who’s practically an expert with the crossbow to use the proper terms.
1 She Has The Least Screen Time Among The Birds Of Prey
Interestingly and arguably, Winstead’s Huntress became the most popular character of Birds of Prey, in spite of the fact that she has the least runtime in the film compared to the other protagonists. It’s just sad to see most of her action and action scenes towards the third act.
Her intense backstory could have left space for her sharing more screen space with the other characters. The very fact that Black Mask was responsible for massacring her family could have made her role more central to the story. One can only hope to see her more in DCEU’s future projects.
NEXT: 10 Things Birds Of Prey Does Better Than Any DCEU Film (So Far)
Every Performance In The King Of Staten Island, Ranked
About The Author
Based in Delhi, India, Shaurya Thapa is a Third World boy writing on First World pop culture. He’s into freelance journalism, hip-hop, and engaging in critical analyses over films and TV of varied genres.
More About Shaurya Thapa