Matthew's Review of Sucker Punch
I tend to avoid spoilers when writing reviews, but since most of criticisms have to do with the third act, so I'll get a little spoilerish just this once. I was pretty curious on how the transitions between dream and reality would work after seeing the trailer. I figured, Babydoll would picture herself killing all of the Nazi zombies, gunman samurai, and celluloidish robots as she escaped the institution, but it turns out that she is this super amazing dancer (a talent of her's that we never get to see) and as she dances to distract people her fellow inmates steal the items that they need to escape, first a map, fire, a knife, a key, and the final is a mystery (that last one ended up bugging me a whole a lot).
So after a wonderfully done opening, credit to Snyder for giving us Babydoll's (apparently she doesn't have an actual name) backstory in that style, we're introduced to the supporting players Rocket, Sweet Pea, Amber, and Blondie (who is ironically a brunette hurr durr derp). I was expecting Carla Gugino's Dr. Gorski to be a villain based on some of the advertising, but she's really allowing these girl to cope with their scenario, there's a slightly awkward transition that shows you how it works (well two, but it's the first one is subtle, the second is dead obvious), if you miss it at the start, you'll be a little a confused for a second, but you'll let it go, and it'll come up again at the very end.
Once Babydoll realizes that she wants to get away from the doctor/high roller (again, awkward transition), it becomes a simple exercise in her doing her amazing dance which transitions into stylishly awesome and ridiculously hilarious action scenes, and its all good highly stupid fun. Especially the intro for when they had to steal the fire, a creepy old guy stylishly walks into the theater to rap remix of classic rock song that escapes my mind at the moment. What makes this even funnier is that you don't have much of an idea of what year this is considering all the old radios we see. All the modern guitar songs work during the fantasy sequences, but listening to rap remix of a classic song in their "reality" was hilariously stylish. So yeah, it's all smooth (slightly repetitious) sailing until the third fantasy act. And then the film takes a dark turn to temporarily spoil all the fun. Or at least I wish it was temporary, because seriously, it gets dark, and then it never lets up and it damn near ruins the entire movie.
Now here's the spoiler portion -
The biggest problem with the movie was the lack of a finale fantasy sequence. I mean, after killing off 3 of the girls like that, I would gotten over it if a big bad finale in which Babydoll just messes up everything she sees in rage or something. When Babydoll realizes that sacrificing herself is the mystery, instead of doing her dance to distract the people in their way as the last survivor escaped, she simply knees the guy in the nuts and then we get a "happy" ending as the last survivor goes on because the entire time it wasn't about her? Knowing Snyder, he wanted to give us a good finale, but I imagine it wasn't in the budget so he did what he could, I'm hoping, he just wasn't giving us the finger at the end. Because throughout the entire time, you know that he knew what kind of movie he was giving us. The thing that bugs me about the mystery, it was supposed to be a sacrifice that would lead to a perfect victory. I get that not every could've made it, but seriously, what was perfect about that victory. I mean, good for the last survivor, but she's not the one I would've picked to make it, granted she seemed to be the smartest of the bunch.
Back to the movie in general -
The acting is serviceable, no one stood out, but no one gave a bad performance. The cinematography is pretty great and it was nice to see Snyder's take on shaky cam for a minute in one sequence, it still needs some work. As a quality movie, it really isn't. As a showcase for Snyder's style as director, it's awesome. The movie simply turned out to be what I sort of hoped it wouldn't, an excuse to make cool action scenes. That doesn't go without the saying that the plot isn't as shallow as it seems on surface, it has some Inceptionesque trappings in terms of the girls' reality, but the end result simply gets you to say "oh that's kind of clever", rather than giving you something to sleep on.
With others handling the story/plot/writing and him directing, I say bring on Superman. It's a fun ride, but once that third act starts, the ride stops and we simply have to wait for someone to get us out it, and trust me, it's not a fun wait.