First Time Watch: Sucker Punch
Updated: Jun 25, 2020
They're doing it. Those crazy sons of bitches, they're doing it. Yes, after a few years of internet campaigns, questionable motives and some distasteful disputes, it has been confirmed that 'The Snyder Cut' version of the DCEU's Justice League is a real thing. Even better, we're actually going to get our hands on it. In 2021, Zack Snyder's 'Justice League' will be released in all its glory, delighting many fanboys and seemingly, by the looks of twitter, angering many film buffs. The whole debate about this cut of the film has been very toxic, from both sides, and now many have ended up with egg on their face, it hasn't really let up.
Nonetheless, lost in amongst all the bullshit of the internet is a very tragic story and the main reason as to why 'The Snyder Cut' exists. Tragedy struck Zack Snyder as his daughter passed away, which lead to Snyder dropping out of the film, more than understandably to be with his family. Due to this, Snyder could never fully complete his film and was robbed of the opportunity to showcase his vision. Snyder has many critics and I can't lie, I wasn't the biggest fan of his other works in the DC Extended Universe. However, it is tremendous that the opportunity has presented itself to allow Snyder to come back in and release the project in his own vision, due to the nature of the tragedy. Whether people choose to watch it or not is a whole different story.
Now having seen Snyder's superhero/graphic novel work, I wasn't left with many options, bar one. One that in all honesty, I don't really know anything about, other than its genre and director. In all honesty, it isn't one I've ever really thought of watching, but with this new series and the news, I thought 'hey why not?'.
Plot Synopsis: Locked away, a young woman named Babydoll (Emily Browning) retreats to a fantasy world where she is free to go wherever her mind takes her. Determined to fight for real freedom, she finds four women -- Rocket, Blondie, Amber and Sweet Pea -- to join together to escape the terrible fate that awaits them. With a virtual arsenal at their disposal, the allies battle everything from samurais to serpents, while trying to decide what price they will pay for survival.
Zack Snyder is most well known throughout his career for his stylistic action scenes, mastering the use of slow-mo and impact effects. He has a particular style when it comes to action that makes him distinctive and also showcases some talent and a keen eye behind the camera. Snyder is most famous with his work on existing material, particularly graphic novels or superhero films that have many supporters behind them already. In 2011, Snyder had his first attempt at creating an original property of his own whilst maintaining writing and directing duties. With an ambitious narrative, this film really shows Snyder is best at working alongside pre-existing properties, as 'Sucker Punch' comes across as an aimless, mindless slog.
Starting off fairly solidly, despite seeming like a 2000's music video for an Evanescence song, Snyder sets up the basic story regarding our main character 'Babydoll' pretty well. Setting up potential motives, a villain to exact revenge on and a frankly cool location to set the story in, it was all looking good at the beginning. Until the film moments later suddenly decides to abandon the 'reality' and focuses on a fantasy depiction of a brothel instead. What is even weirder as it soon depicts another vision, a fantasy within a fantasy, leaving us with three different 'worlds' within the space of the opening 10-15 minutes.
The third of these three fantasies though is where I believe is the films biggest crux. Within these scenes, the 5 female characters face off in combat against Samurai. cyberpunk nazi's, dragons among other things, supposedly to mirror the actions that the girls are taking in the second fantasy. This is done with Babydoll doing dance routines, that hypnotizes men allowing the girls to steal certain objects. But the correlation between a full-on epic war scene with mass explosions and gunfire, and stealing a map of the facility is non-existent. With this, it just comes across as making large scale action scenes. just for the pure sake of making a large scale action scene. The film can decide if it wants to be an escape thriller or an over the top action flick and tries to do both. By doing so, nothing blends well and the whole film becomes ultimately meaningless. These action scenes take up a large chunk of the runtime, but as none of it really matters - or makes sense - then what is really the point of this?
The use of music as well is very peculiar, as I mentioned earlier about the start is reminiscent of a music video. Bizarrely, this is a trend that is apparent throughout the whole film. There are numerous examples where Snyder looks to be solely taking it upon himself to direct music videos for an array of different songs. Combining this with the excessive action scenes, you're left with a lot of confusion as a lot is going on, yet there is little to no meaning.
Males objectifying women and their fantasies seems to be an issue that Snyder looks to explore, as shown with the "dance routines" but it is so horribly botched. There's not a single female who isn't overly sexualised, exploited or abused in this whole film, and for the most part, there's barely any comeuppance. I genuinely have no idea as to what was trying to be projected here, as the film contributes more to these negative notions more than anything. For an attempt to tackle issues like this, it's weird to make a film clearly targeted to teenage boys with scantily clad women fighting in mindless, video-game-like boss battles. This film is so far off the mark of making an empowering movie that it seemingly wanted to do, but forgot to actually include in the story.
Depth is also something that seems to have been forgotten in the process of this film. The film completely sacrifices any character beyond someone being good or bad, with a lightweight story to go along with it. With no real proper plot, no real focus on the plot, no characters and just mindless set pieces, this film is just stunningly boring as you have no interest or any stakes within what is happening. With its dazzling visuals and very little else, this film is the purest definition of style over substance.
I admire the ambition this film had to try something out narrative-wise and there are some breathtaking sights within it. Unfortunately, though, this really is as far as the positives go in this truly bizarre, one of a kind film. The film seems to have a lot of ideas within it but none of it connects at all and makes this seem like a total meaningless mess. Easily Snyder's weakest film and one I was right to avoid for many years.
Final Rating: 1/5
Unfortunately, I have finally come across a poor film in this series. As much as my previous entry 'Blue My Mind' was a film I'd implore people, especially teenage girls, to seek out, 'Sucker Punch' is very much the opposite. Nonetheless, it was a film I can tick off as having seen which is the main aim of this series. Hopefully, the next film will bring much better luck and prove to be much more enjoyable. Thanks as always for reading, I really appreciate it and hope you enjoyed reading it. Make sure to keep an eye on future reviews, and I'll see you in the next one!