Sucker Punch has a whole lotta everything going on, and I do mean everything. To its credit, the gritty and gorgeous CG mess in front of your eyes should make everyone in the theater smile, even if they don’t really know why or what’s going on. This film has it all and Snyder’s style is there in spades. But it does lack a depth that made his previous film Watchmen so compelling. Granted Zack Snyder didn’t write the Watchmen graphic novel so the level of expectation can’t be that comparable in terms of story. But Sucker Punch tells a tale as odd/mixed as a child taking out his toys and playing with them all once. Not that it was a bad thing, you just had to have wanted to see that going into the theater.
Snyder is already known for bringing dazzling films to life with an epic feel not too often seen in cinema. His gift is that each of his films is wildly different. Further, I think he falls in a beautifully creative gap that’s carved nicely between Michael Bay and Christopher Nolan (although Snyder and his style definitely lean closer to the latter). With this film, it sure looked like Snyder, at least in the eyes of this reviewer, wanted to make his very own Sin City.
Strong female types abound, the all girl soundtrack brings the emotions even higher but like a bubble it feels superficially inflated and doesn’t pay off in a satisfying manner. Hell, I could forgive lack of arcs and plot development if the story at least made an effort to go from point A to point B. Sucker Punch ultimately resembles the game Trivial Pursuit where you just go round and round in circles collecting meaningless wedges to complete your pie. Only it’s without the satisfying result in leaving the board or getting a good answer from a thought provoking question.
However that’s probably the one thing that people who didn’t like Sucker Punch are citing as their main detraction from it. It’s not like Snyder needs a defense, but I’ll ask this: Was Sin City any different? Or did it have any elements of value or a deeper story than that in Sucker Punch? The film never made any claims that this would blow your mind with deep or complex subject matter. It’s no Inception that’s for sure, but again it never claimed to be. Hell, even the name Sucker Punch sounds like a Russ Meyer movie, and with this knockout female cast sure seems like an homage to Meyer more than anything else.
It’s not that I didn’t like Sucker Punch (I’m a guy and I was sold at explosions, dream sequences and Carla Gugino!) but as the credits rolled I didn’t know think of it all. Sure it’s very beautiful and imaginative as all get out but the simple plot didn’t go anywhere which didn’t make the girls’ accomplishments anywhere close to satisfying. From the beginning this dreamy film presented itself like a grungy version of Scott Pilgrim (starring The Runaways) and proceeded as such but sadly proved to be a less compelling ride.
That said, I liked it for what I wanted to see; those dreamy visuals which were impressive and seamless integrated. Now I had prepared myself since the very first trailer for something that would probably be visually heavy but light in exposition so I wasn’t disappointed but I wasn’t that impressed either. All in all, this is what I have to say about it: You know that feeling when you wake up from a dream but have a hard time remembering it all? Yup, that’s how I feel leaving the theater.
Basically Sucker Punch is a feature length music video for whatever workout of angst ridden and estrogen laced workout playlist Snyder had on his iPod. There were no real triumphs for the girls to get the contents of their list making the eventual escape that much more meaningless and unsatisfying. Even though I liked the blurred line between dreams and reality it just didn’t go anywhere. That quasi-twist at the end made for a slightly better ending but it still didn’t make up for everything about the plot seeming so pointless. Maybe I would have felt different if I had a controller in my hand and this was Sucker Punch: The Video Game. In summation I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t find it more than a distraction…Pity:(