Director Zack Snyder is trying hard to make his name synonymous with big budget, CGI-laden action flicks. Sucker Punch, the newest Snyder film, had potential in being the spiritual successor to Snyder’s 300, a film which embraced it’s own machismo and stupidity and was well received because of it. Instead, Sucker Punch misfires, attempting to go the route of Watchmen, never realizing that it doesn’t have the necessary depth to back it up.
Sucker Punch follows a troop of dancers, desperate to get away from their boss by any means necessary. Reminiscent of better films such as Brazil and Pan’s Labyrinth, the girls in Sucker Punch find escape through their own minds, participating in larger-than-life battle scenes, leaving the audience wondering what’s real, and what’s just a product of imagination.
Writer/director Snyder has a real mess on his hands with Sucker Punch. It’s chauvinistic, shallow, and above all else, dull. The epic fight scenes highlighted in the trailers and commercials are few and far between in the actual film, and the drama interspersed is trite.
While the heroes in the film are female, Sucker Punch is in no way feminist. Scantily clad throughout the entire run time, and given names like “Baby Doll” and “Sweet Pea,” the girls are not only controlled by a mustachioed, Latino wimp in “reality,” but they are even given orders by an old man (Scott Glenn, doing a terrible David Carradine impression) in their own fantasies. They are always being told what to do by men, leaving no indication that these girls are independent or intelligent in the slightest.
While the film fails on its drama aspect, the action scenes in Sucker Punch are done remarkably well. Utilizing all of the CGI effects he can get his hands on, Snyder makes each fight exciting and unique in the film. It’s obvious Snyder has been spending his time playing video games, because when the girls aren’t fighting Nazi zombies (ala the Call of Duty franchise), they are perfectly recreating moments from the most recent Final Fantasy entry. These ideas are far from original, but breathe fresh air into an otherwise stale film.
The film’s irritating soundtrack is something to be braced for, should you decide to brave the theater for Sucker Punch. The music is almost entirely comprised of bad covers of popular songs.The biggest offender is an absolutely terrible version of The Pixies’ Where Is My Mind, which Snyder uses multiple times in the film. And anyone who has seen Watchmen knows, when Snyder uses a song, he USES it. All other audio drops, and every note played in the tune is blasted in your ears. It’s a bizarre style choice, and one that seems extra inappropriate given the lack of quality in the selection of music.
It’s a real shame that Sucker Punch turned out to be so lackluster, because it could have been something cool. Instead of going the slightly-more intellectual route of Watchmen, Zack Snyder has returned to the all brawn, no brains path of 300, only worse. Here’s to hoping he gets back on track with his upcoming Superman film, or else kryptonite won’t be the only thing hindering Supes.
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