Sucker Punch Reviews
With his first foray into original material, Sucker Punch, this becomes even more of a glaring problem. All of Snyder's problems as a storyteller are brought to the forefront of this film, which is disappointing considering that there's potential in this world Snyder and co-writer Steve Shibuya have created. It's a female-driven story of empowerment and overcoming objectification of women and even metaphors of overcoming sexual abuse; the problem here is that the story is told through such a confusing manner to the point where the film almost seems to be simultaneously misogynistic and intended to be empowering for females. The emphasis on overcoming oppression in fantastical settings with less focus on the real world creates a lot of problems regarding Snyder's intent of what this story wants to be.
The layers of fantastical escapism don't end there. As Babydoll (Emily Browning) dives into the imaginary brothel she's created to cope with her institution in a mental asylum, she drifts further into many other worlds alongside her fellow dancers (Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung). These segments are where Snyder is given his chance to shine: with visual heavy moments of action and fight choreography. From the likes of a steam-punk World War I setting to a orc-infested castle or a futuristic train guarded by a mini-army of robots, each setting is beautifully designed and make for mostly fun romps of swift action, captured smoothly by Snyder's go-to DP Larry Fong.
Even these moments aren't without fault though. By just the second or third introduction to these fantasies, there's an overwhelming sense of repetitiveness. A Wise Man (Scott Glenn) delivers an expository explanation of the five girls' goal, they enter the world, fight their way through waves of enemies, and reach the aforementioned goal. Rinse and repeat. It feels like being relegated to watching someone play a remarkably mediocre video game: for a while, you can't help but have plenty of fun and be invested in the fictional world, but at a point, it feels like time to play something a bit more enjoyable.