Sucker Punch is about a girl who is framed for her sister’s murder and forced into an insane asylum. Turns out it probably should have been the movie itself that got put in an insane asylum. It’s got a severe case of multiple personality disorder. BURN.
Seriously, this movie seems to have no idea what it is, or wants to be. Most of the time it’s content to just try and win the most depressing movie of the year award, but at times it inexplicably tries to be the next Inception or something. Or maybe the Matrix. If the Matrix was directed by the lovechild of M. Night Shyamalan and Michael Bay.
Here’s how it is. This movie contains four huge, epic, sprawling, stylized, explosion-filled, lengthly action sequences that mesh with the rest of the movie about as well as magnets mesh with computer screens. These scenes are so out-of-nowhere and so ridiculous that I feel embarrassed just describing them. One of them involves giant samurai robots with gatling guns (WTF?). Another involves Nazi zombies (well, not technically Nazis, cause it’s actually World War I, I guess but close enough that it’s clear Zack Snyder’s been going heavy on the Call of Duty), and one involves orcs that look so much like the ones in the Lord of the Rings that I’m surprised there hasn’t been a lawsuit for copyright infringement. The last and most boring one involves the robots from I, Robot, on a train, with a ticking bomb. If you’re going to create random action scenes for a movie about a little girl in an insane asylum (not exactly a premise conducive to large quantitates of ass-kicking, but Zack Snyder didn’t let that stop him) you could at least go through the trouble to make said action sequences original and exciting. With the exception of the Nazi-zombie one, they’re pretty much straight-forward, designed with about the same level of creative ingenuity as the card game War.
Still, they LOOK nice. Better than nice, in fact. If there’s one thing to be said for these scenes (that’s good, that is) it’s that Zack Snyder has not lost his visual flair. If anything, he’s gotten better with time. Sucker Punch looks like 300 on crack. The music, likewise, is exceptional the whole way through. But again, that’s something Zack Snyder’s always been good at.
Actually, when it’s not getting lost amidst pointless explosions and sword-fights, it’s not half bad. The problem is, it’s a grim and hopeless tale of sacrifice, hardship, and abuse, which just doesn’t really work with Nazi zombies and mecha-suits. It’s like someone’s got your emotions on a yo-yo and won’t let go. You don’t know how you’re supposed to feel. Surely you can’t be expected to take this too seriously. Sure, the beginning was bleak, but now that there’s samurai robots with miniguns, it’s meant to be like a wild romp, right? It’s just a fun, summer action movi–holy shit, did that fat guy just try to rape that teenage girl? OK, the robots are back, and it’s so freaking awesome and–Wait, did that girl just get stabbed in the stomach? While her sister was watching? OK, back to the robots.
All the exciting action just leaves you feeling more horrified at the end when you realize this isn’t a badass revenge movie or the Matrixception or something. It’s what it seemed like at first–a story about troubled girls getting horribly abused by pimps and corrupt doctors.
This. This is what the movie is really about.
That’s the real Sucker Punch, I guess. And man, is it way below the belt.
Leave out the action and you get what could have been turned into a really good movie, albeit a movie so grim it makes No Country For Old Men seem cheerful by comparison. Some stories just aren’t meant to be action packed. You don’t see anyone trying to make Pride and Prejudice into an action flick, do you?
Do you? Oh, you do? ****. Now that’s a sucker punch.
To conclude, I will leave you with what just might be the best part of the movie. This scene is a poster child for all that the film does right. By which I mean it makes you want to cry or shoot the evil people. Or maybe shot the evil people while crying. No seriously, it moves you without a single word being spoken. Just visuals and music. Oh, by the way, that is actually the lead actress singing. Looks like Emily Browning just gained official badass status.