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March 28, 2011

In Defense Of Sucker Punch...

Ok... so I saw Sucker Punch, Zach Snyder's latest cinematic opus, over this past weekend. Ever since it came out on Thursday @ midnight, geek websites across the net have been running stories about it. I wanted to avoid all of them at all cost until I had seen the film myself, so I HAD to see it on Sunday because I could not continue to ignore some of my favorite sites for to long. I wanted to hear what they had to say... but wanted to experience it myself first.

Let me start off by saying I have been waiting on this one for quite a bit. Ever since I saw the first shots of Emily Browning and her gang of gorgeous misfits fighting dragons & nazi zombies. How could this be bad. Short skirts, knee highs, boobs, guns, swords, and villains galore. This seemed to be the makings of something that I not only wanted to see, I needed to see it.

***Please click Read more below to see more of my defense of Sucker Punch***

Checking in on Rotten Tomatoes, we find a interesting paradox. The critics bashed it, giving it a 20% fresh rating. Thats pretty bad. Beastly & Red Riding Hood bad. But on the same site, the audience members (people who actually PAY to see movies THEY WANT TO see) gave it a 62% rating. This gets me so fustrated. Movie critics are quick to bash a flick, especially if its in a genre that is out of their comfort zone or age bracket (ie: Horror movies almost always get shit on, comedies usually get panned despite the fact they are extremely humorous, and cartoon/comic book movies are judged against Casablanca-like movie standards of guys in their 50's/60's.) I usually don't listen to critics... I respect their opinion, but you can't ignore their long history of bias. Now, polling people coming out of the theater is a much better way to judge the flick. These people CHOSE this movie, BOUGHT tickets, and I want an opinion under these circumstances... they are not conforming or formulating a review. It comes down to facts... did they like it or not? Thats the kind of opinions I want.

This is where I come in. I personally loved Sucker Punch. But, being the realist that I am, I can see exactly why some people wouldn't. Thats something I do alot... I can easily formulate my own opinion, but I often wonder why other people feel a certain way. So here is my (spoiler free) opinion of the movie, followed by why most people probably won't/don't like it.

My Faves:
  1. The Cast: Wow... just wow. The girls (Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens, Jenna Malone, and Jaime Chung) were amazing, but its the supporting cast that gets me the most. Oscar Isaac is wonderful as the dispicable villain Blue, Carla Gugino was sexy and sophisticated as Madam Gorski, and Scott Glenn is as superb as ever as the girls guiding angel. Throw in Jon Hamm & the rest of the stunt actors, and I feel like Snyder got everybody in his cast just right.
  2. So Baby Doll (Browning) can hypnotize people when she dances. Ok... so whats wrong with that? I have heard people bash the movie for not showing her dance. But guess what... this is when she enters the dream fantasy/fighting sequences. I can figure out what kind of dancing she is doing... I don't need to see it. Plus, how else could they segue into the fighting sequences?
  3. Snyder's story is ambitious and takes chances... and original. These are qualities that are few and far between now-a-days in films. This is especially true in our beloved sub-genres. There are record number sequels, prequels, reboots & adaptions being made... and here comes a dude with an original idea, and they say its "too original". Wait... what? Just on original concept alone, people need to at least give this one a shot.
  4. It's not all about Baby Doll. The supporting characters all play an important part in the culmination of the movie. They all play a part... and some become EXTREMELY important.
  5. I like the look and feel of the flick. It has the feeling that it is set back in the day (creepy & spooky, dark) but once the girls jump into the fantasy world(s) shit gets super interesting. You get Fuedal Japan, Nazi Germany, The Middle Ages, and a futuristic Space World. With all of these locales, Snyder does them all justice... they all look visually stunning and took my breath away.
  6. I like the way it ended up... not going to discuss it yet, but I liked the way Snyder closed it out.

Now for why I think some people will hate it:
  1. Women protagonists: Say what you want, but most guys can't feel for a female lead. They my like the skimpy outfits, and love the gun and sword wielding beauties kicking ass... but they don't "feel" for their pain. The just don't get it, and that is one of the driving forces of the movie. Understanding why Baby Doll is in the asylum in the first place, why she constructs her plan for escape, and why events play out the way they do is the most important piece to LIKING this movie. If you don't make this connection, chances are you will either be indifferent to the movie or dislike it alltogether.
  2. Ok, so its far fetched... SO??? It's a fantasy film. WTF? I don't get this. Most people say Raimi's 1st Spiderman film is pure genius (I agree), but why can we believe that a radioactive spider can bite a kid and give him spider powers? We can because its familiar to us, especially us nerds. EVERYONE KNOWS SPIDERMAN. But in this case, it's all new characters... and that would require thinking. Who are these broads, and why do they have the abilities they do? Nah... give me another cookie cutter superhero movie that the screenwriters will fuck up the origin story/costumes for. Thats so much easier.
  3. Sucker Punch moves at a breakneck pace. Oh yeah... this is true. It is a mile a minute, balls to the wall action. Things you never would imagine in one scene (modern machine guns in WW I or II settings, dragons dogfighting with bi-planes, robots fistfighting with chicks) happen throughout. Whats so bad about this? Oh yeah, thats right... its new. Stuff that has never really been done before. Yeah, that probably sucks. Can we make another reboot please? WTF people. It's an ACTION movie... I want ACTION. I got that. I'm satisfied... why not you? If I wanted realistic and calm, I'd watch The King's Speech.
  4.  No boobies. Yup, I was disappointed as well. The movie is high on sexuality, the costumes are just as hot as the women wearing them, and Jon Hamm/Oscar Isaac even give the ladies some male eye candy. I expected some boobs... meh. Not in the cards. But I can see why people would go in expecting tons of boobage and not getting any... I guess this might piss me off as well.
  5. I won't discuss the ending here, but I will just say this was probably the most likely source of hatred towards the flick. I don't know why (I loved it), but can see why it would be a problem for others.

All in all, I thought it was great. Very original, high concept, well executed and shot, and overall good job. That is my opinion. I would say it is a solid 3.5/4 out of 5 stars. Don't agree? Tell me about it in the comment section below. Try to keep it spoiler free, and email me at if you want the discussion to get spoilerific. I'm all ears... talk to me people!!!


  1. In responding to this post, I have completely changed my mind about this movie. My initial thoughts were that it was so far out there and there were missing elements/links in the movie (the cut sequences bothered me). Straight up, I hated it. But as I think about it more and more, I am beginning to see the intent and full picture behind the movie.

    Mike D, we need a spoiler post so that we can work out all the details!

  2. I love your break-down and totally agree!
    My take? Girl Interrupted x Inception x Anime. Also, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. No, it's not really super easy to follow cotton-candy, junk food movie-pop, such as Transformers was. You have to think a little, and pay attention. Yes, it's cheesy at parts, but poignant at others. Speaking as a 28 yr old female, I actually think the target audience is 16-38 yr old FEMALES, mostly because this is a sort of ironically-empowering film. As scantily-clad as these femme fatales of the dream sequences are, its the sort of sexy that every woman wants to be- cute, but strong. Not any of the grotesquely stripped down or overly erotic fantasies of all too many male-centric films. In the other scenes (Babydoll's PTSD alternareality) yes, the girls are wearing lingerie, but this symbolizes the vulnerability that the main character feels at the mercy of the hospital and it's cruel keeper (not necessarily all men). Obviously, men are not glorified at all here, but that doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the movie. I also had no difficulty following the story line and keeping BD's levels of (un)reality straight. I recommend a re-watch when it gets to NetFlix for all those who didn't "get it".
    My prediction- highest-selling adult Halloween costume this year.
    Take home message- I don't think my life will ever be as bad as what the main character experienced in real life, but sometimes imagining yourself as a strong, smart, and sexy force-to-be-reckoned-with is exactly what you need to overcome your obstacles and be your own heroine. And you know what? If putting on some mascara or high-heels makes you feel unstoppable, do it. Confidence is the key. And a lobotomy :)

  3. I liked it. I like it more, the more I think about it.

  4. Finally saw this film last night. All I can say is "Wow!" If I made a checklist of everything I'd wanted mashed into one film...this would have been it...and more.

    People that don't 'get' a film don't have much business reviewing it until they do. It's OK to have an opinion on it but to WRITE a review when they don't get it? Just makes no sense to me.

    My only real complaint was that Vanessa Hudgeons acting was a little bad...but, I thought all of the acting might not be so great from these young actresses...and all of them passed with flying I'll give Hudgens a pass.

    Good write up, Mike. I agree with you all the way.