Movies/Entertainment,  Reviews

G-S-T Review…Sucker Punch

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:(



  • rtm

    Y’know, I was just reading CNN’s review and I actually was wondering what you think as I know you’d watch this movie. Well, the video game thing came up again and even just from the trailer, it’s obvious this is thin on the plot (that’s putting it mildly). I just hope Snyder won’t apply the same sensibility style-wise to Superman! Please don’t ruin my fave superhero!!

    • MarcC

      Well Ruth we knew it would most likely be thin when the trailer came out last year. But it did what it set out to do; showcase Snyder’s talents for the WOW and give you a dazzling distraction for however long it ran. Pity it didn’t have any real weight but I wasn’t holding my breath for it.

      And yes, I’m slightly worried about Superman. While the “have faith in Nolan” line is starting to be overused, still, Nolan is in Snyder’s corner and I know he’ll right the ship waaaay before it start to turn south.

  • Castor

    The more I read, the less I want to see this movie lol. I wonder if Warner Bros would can Snyder after this. I’m certainly worried he is going to mess up Superman…

    PS: I just noticed your Facebook page! Congrats 🙂

    • MarcC

      Hey Castor, thanks for the comment and the Like:) As far as Sucker Punch I’d say turn off your brain, order a pitcher and have some fun. Expecting anything else will leave you wanting. If you want a movie about fulfilling dream sequences stick to Inception. Need something to tide you over until Transformers 3? check this out…but your tastes (and comment) make me think you won’t be seeing either:P

  • Steve

    Sounds like you hated it a lot less than some of the other folks around here, but it’s clear that even its high points need to be pardoned. Legend of the Guardians was terrible, and 300 doesn’t stand up too well to repeat viewings, but Watchmen is a freaking masterpiece. I have hopes I can dig up the merits of this film, no matter how deeply buried they are. As for Superman – what the movie needs isn’t depth, it’s sheer bloody spectacle, and as you’ve indicated here, that’s his stock & trade.

    • MarcC

      Yeah maybe my love of Snyder is making me take a less aggressive stance in calling out the weak points. But you’re right, Superman needs tons of flash to go along with his punch otherwise I suspect it’ll be bland and therefore another unnecessary reboot. Great comment btw!

      Guardians was an attempt for him to make a movie his kids could watch and I thought it was slightly shallow but totally beautiful. But I totally agree with you on 300, thought I was the only person not getting anything more out of it whenever I’d watch it again and again.

  • Andrew

    Sucker Punch just drives home Snyder’s position as a visualist and not a real storyteller, something I’ve been arguing since 300. He’s great at what he does, but he is to narrative and plot what Paula Deen is to healthy living. So in short, Sucker Punch is a wreck; it dazzles with some well-conceived action but it’s all very slight and forgettable since, by virtue of the film’s basic conceit, nothing that happens in them matters. They just look good. It makes for a nice flash-in-the-pan experience but adds up to something forgettable.

    I wish Snyder had fully realized and delved into his feminist themes; he comes closest to doing so with the idea that women can resist male oppression through unity though he still falls short.

    • MarcC

      No one ever complained about a Snyder film lacking great visuals that’s for sure. To me this seemed like a test of how far he could push the visuals without anything to back it up. Or better yet if the ideas seemed cool enough he could make it too big to fail.

      Forgettable is right Andrew, although it may prove to be more fun with a second viewing. Dumb fun all around this was the female version of The Expendables X^D But I suspect one day it might be like The Fifth Element was on DVD; a benchmark/quality test for home media equipment. If the story is slim to none, then that’s got to count for something then right?:P