Wow. I almost changed my mind about seeing this movie based on the negative reviews, but then I remembered something; I usually disagree with "professional" film reviews. Luckily, I reversed course and saw it a day later.
I throughly enjoyed it.
I'm baffled by the consternation about what's going on in the movie. What we have here is a hyper-stylized tale far more similar to Inception that many realize.
The film is not about Babydoll. The film is about Sweatpea. I will admit that this misdirection isn't handled honestly, but this is the ultimate reveal by the films end and hinted at in the beginning based on the narrator voice.
I'm laying this out in hopes that people who are on the fence will go see the film and have a chance to enjoy it without all the negative/misleading noise.
The film is a fantastical retelling of the life of a woman (Sweatpea, NOT Babydoll) in her past when she was interred in a mental facility and ultimately escaped and the hell she went through to get there. The level's of reality are thus, the subdued, primative (1940's?) hell of the asylum, the hyper-real reality the women experience as they are sexually abused by the orderlies (hence the brothel motif), and then the fantastic realm as Sweatpea recounts their "operations" to gain the items they need to create a chance to escape. The fantastic realm is where we see the Dragons, Orcs, Zombie Nazi's and such.
Snyder's use of the fantastic realm combat is an attempt to show how the girls used their sexuality to their advantage. The "dance" that Babydoll uses during these adventures is meant as powerplay, as the only "weapons" at their disposal is that sexuality as the trick their captors into giving them what they need to escape. This is perfectly visualized in the initial dance where Babydoll encounters the three Ronin ... at first she is unsure how to use her "weapons" and is timid and unsure, but by the end of the "encounter" she realizes how to "work it". Get it?
I though the film was fairly clear, but obviously everyone has their own level of cognition. After a film like Inception, where everyone seems to have no problem with the paradoxes of the dream world, it stuns me that a similar movie comes out and is trashed because it features women fighting a dragon with machine guns and swords.
I would see this again in the theater and will certainly be owning this on Blu-Ray.