Sucker Punch - Blu-ray Review

'Inception, with less clarity, worse acting and more suspenders.'

I don't hate Zack Snyder. Or his films for that matter. I've enjoyed several of them in fact. I'm looking forwards to his Superman film. I've defended him against posts and reviews which seemed to me to have something personal against him. Unfortunately, despite all that, I'm afraid the only thing I can say about Sucker Punch is that it is an awful, awful, film.

Perhaps the first thing to say is that I don't think Sucker Punch is misogynist or sexist in any way, as some have tried to suggested. Nor do I think it is empowering. It is just a deeply flawed action film which happens to have female leads. That's it.

It's main and base flaw is the plot which, aside from occasionally seeming to not make coherent logical sense, doesn't bother with any sense of explanation about what is going on, or why we should care to watch it. It's Inception with less clarity, worse acting and more suspenders.

Somewhere in and amongst it there is Emily Browning, leading us through as Baby Doll, a newcomer to a mental asylum who, apparently, retreats to a fantasy world where she can control people in other fantasy worlds by virtue of her magnetic and captivating dancing. The problem with this? We never see her dance. Not once.

Snyder is too busy whisking us off to the fantasy worlds that Baby Doll creates. They are fantasy worlds which are admittedly gorgeous but they lack any substance or quantifiable depth. If you were doing a World War Two drama you'd spend time creating the world, making it believable and establishing character. Snyder though, isn't creating a World War Two drama, he's creating a World War Two cut-scene, and for it we care not a jot. The world isn't as original as Snyder thinks either. The steam-punk style, occult-ish, Nazis have been done in Hellboy and his other worlds bear distinct similarities to Lord Of The Rings and - bizarrely - I, Robot respectively.

The voiceovers peppering the opening and closing moments hint that Snyder thought he was making something with a message but, like the film, they're unclear. At the start we're told of 'protective angels', at the end we're told to go out there and fight. In between there's nothing to really back either idea up as having any merit or benefit whatsoever. Unclear, impossible to attach yourself on to and, at its worst, slightly pretentious.

Look further...

'this is a director spewing his brains out in glorious fashion and, let’s face it, if this film was subtitled we’d be having a conversation about how Hollywood can not and will not make films like this' - Cinema Scream


  1. It was one of those movies I was really looking forward to but it turned out to be my biggest disappointment this year...

  2. Felt exactly the same. I tapered my expectations down and it still managed to be worse than I expected.

  3. I'm conflicted by this film, gorgeously presented (whatever his faults Snyder's films are always visually impressive) but while technically this film is good, story and character wise it's a near travesty.

    Its female empowerment theme is confusing commenting on itself as well as the audience's propensity for watching scantily clad females with big swords and guns and the dialogue, good God some of it is poor (whenever Scott Glenn turns up).

    It's been coming for Snyder in my opinion, i don't dislike him as a director but his grasp of story has not been very astute. He was helped with his previous films have a story pre-made (Dawn of Dead, 300, Watchmen) but he needed to keep things simple, best lesson he could learn from the experience.

  4. Yes, I think part of his problem is that he's tried to do to much with too complex a story. It seems a shame to criticise someone for aspiring high and trying to do something different but there are big errors here related to those elements.

    I seem to remember WATCHMEN being nearly three hours long - perhaps if he'd have given himself a bit more time he might have been able to explore the story better (or at least manage to show us the dancing!), so maybe the studio has to take some of the blame (they undoubtedly would have wanted a 100-minute ish cut).

    Glenn's role is completely redundant and shows why the fantasy scenes are so bad - they can't stand up on their own, they need him there to explain what the hell is going on!

  5. yeah. i agree. :( i thought it was beautiful. i really, really looked forward to it, and wanted to love it... but. that was impossible.

    just because it's unclear doesn't make it deep.
    just murky. :(

  6. I think that's one of the key things isn't it - he's got the ambiguousness down to a 't', he just hasn't got anything interesting going on underneath the ambiguity.

  7. poor a movie as you can get, and as you, impossible to connect with....unless it is a disliking it kind of way!!! Incrdible considering the budget isn't it? I liked the look of it through it's trailers but once I saw the damn thing it was just sensory overload.
    I'm not anti-Snyder either as I did like 300 but absloutely loathed Watchmen which bored me beyond words. Thing is is that he has the nod for another Superman outing and I hope to god it isn't like this.

  8. I really liked WATCHMEN. The trailers sold it to me and it delivered, unlike this which, as you say, delivered completely the opposite feeling. 300 I can take or leave - again, I'm not as opposed to it as some people seem to be but I'm not dashing to the DVD store either.

    The thing I like about the Supes/Snyder pairing is that it should guarantee something different. I don't think I can stand one more cookie-cutter superhero story. Then again, this was 'something different'...

  9. I neither love nor hate Snyder, but I do generally dislike movies that are style over substance so my expectations are pretty low this this one.

  10. I like Zack Snyder but I do think he needs to pull back on his own visual style and not overdo it. Otherwise, he will end up making films like this which wasn't that bad but very disappointing.

    I liked the ambition but it had no strong story. I liked Carla Gugino and Scott Glenn. Oscar Issacs was sort of fun. I also like Emily Browning but she was awful in this film. Her performance was too stilted for me.

    The film would've been a total disaster if it weren't for Jena Malone and Abbie Cornish. They actually had an interesting back story and chemistry together and I cared more about them than everyone else. If the film had been about them, it would've been more interesting.

    At least this film did get me motivated to work on my script that I'm writing specifically for Malone as it's nearly in completion.

  11. Mike - I'd keep those expectations exactly where they are. To be honest, I'm not even sure the style is that impressive.

    thevoid99 -I liked Malone actually, which surprised me. The way her character was set up I didn't think I'd go for her but she is probably the most impressive element of the cast. I think Browning has a thankless task - I don't think anyone as the protagonist could have rescued this script. Cornish gets better but is awful at the start. Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung get literally nothing to do.

    Good luck with the script!

  12. The funny thing with Watchmen is I'm pretty much a minority in not like likng it. But with Sucker Punch it is universally dis-liked!

  13. Very true. The thing I don't get with WATCHMEN is the people who don't like it because it isn't as deep as the novel. The three cuts of it are 162, 186 and 215 minutes long - I think he gave it his best shot at getting everything in there! If the story didn't grab you then I can see your grievance, especially with those sorts of runtimes.