In Defense of 'Sucker Punch'
I have a confession: I am in love with Sucker Punch. It took two viewings, a dozen-plus soundtrack listenings, and several energized blog discussions to realize this love, but now there is no going back.
I have a confession: I am in love with Sucker Punch. It took two viewings, a dozen-plus soundtrack listenings, and several energized blog discussions to realize this love, but now there’s no going back.
Unfortunately, it would appear I couldn’t have picked a worse-reviewed film for which to declare my affection. From the moment Sucker Punch was released, it has been bashed, bruised, and battered for everything from its confusing plot to its over sexualization of teenagers to the too-long action sequences.
Don’t get me wrong: Sucker Punch does have its issues. It’s more confusing than Inception (it’s a fantasy within a fantasy within an insane asylum, for God’s sake!), obviously the script was slashed to fit MPAA regulations, and, yeah, the action scenes are a bit repetitive and lengthy. But after much consideration, I believe the biggest issue with Sucker Punch is the way it’s been dismissed as a soft-core sex fantasy with nothing to offer but hot girls and pretty violence.
Let’s start with the little things. The soundtrack is undeniably awesome. Leading lady Emily Browning (who plays Babydoll) proves to have an insanely mesmerizing voice, and the three cover songs she sings throughout are film enchanting.
It’s Emily you hear crooning Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” during that undeniably captivating first five minutes. Admit it, even if you don’t like the movie as a whole, the gothic music video that is the opening sequence is mind blowing. Not to mention the entire film is visually stunning, and I’m not just talking about the five lead girls. The video game-esque effects, the gaunt, lifeless psychiatric hospital, the thrillingly vibrant theatrical fantasy world - even if the movie didn’t have a plot (which it does, and I’ll get to that soon), it should at least be credited as artwork.
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As for the overt sexuality, I can honestly say I hardly noticed. Sucker Punch takes place almost entirely in a fantasy world imagined by young girls, and it’s not outlandish to accept that in these girls’ ideal worlds they are sexy and desirable. Could I be looking a bit too deeply into this? Perhaps, but I’m going to give director Zack Snyder the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping the conclusion that the girls are wearing fishnets to help fill seats in the theater.
I have also heard several complaints that Sucker Punch is confusing and lacking in any sort of plot. Confusing? Yes. The movie could use several more scenes that take place strictly in reality -- or any for that matter after the first 10 minutes -- and too much seems to have been cut to ever make full sense of it. But lacking in plot? If anything, Sucker Punch has too much plot. At first I’ll admit I didn’t think there was much to the story past what I saw unfolding on the screen before me, and I wasn’t even sure what I was seeing. But upon hitting the blogosphere, I was opened up to a whole world of possibilities that changed my entire perspective upon a second viewing.
Sucker Punch is a puzzle, and nearly everyone I’ve encountered has had a different interpretation of who and what fits where. One thing I’ve learned from experience: Sucker Punch fans are willing do anything to defend their theories. Personally, I’ve decided to set aside any more pondering until I get my hands on a director’s cut, but I still can’t help myself. That kind of interactive cinematic experience is hard to come by these days, not to mention incredibly entertaining to be a part of.
I can see how Sucker Punch isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but calling it one of the worst movies of the year is -- in my opinion -- terribly unfair. If anything, it’s completely unique, and that alone should be commended.
Also, any movie that makes me genuinely feel sorry for a character played by Vanessa Hudgens deserves at least some sort of kudos. Sucker Punch is laced with faults, but no movie is perfect, and the joke’s on us if we honestly expect total clarity from a movie about crazy people. For those of you who found Sucker Punch offensive, I’m sorry. But never fear -- between Hanna, Super, Your Highness, and X-Men: First Class to name only a few, there will be plenty more women kicking ass in a theater near you. I truly hope you find your cup of tea. Until then, happy blogging!