Bah, I had trouble making this one gel as I kept thinking of different things to add. Rather than waste any more time trying to make it flow better (which simply isn’t gonna happen) I’m just gonna post the mess as it now stands… which seems rather fitting for the movie, now I come to think of it… I think a few of my points come through, and if they don’t, the two links cover everything else. It’s not a movie that warrants massive discussion, though, I feel. It’s eye candy: you like it or you don’t; you can’t help it if you do, and it needn’t hurt anyone unless you let it…
It perhaps goes without saying that I didn’t expect much from this… but I’m not going to deny, I still really wanted to see it, even after the worst of the reviews came in. I don’t know what made certain moviegoers expect anything else from this than what it delivers. One of my favourites, Mark Kermode, went so far as to suggest that director Zack Snyder might think he’s made another Inception, which is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard him say. Yes, y’know what, I think I’ll invoke that most awful of recent phrases that get flung around at times like this – some people I’m afraid don’t “get” this movie at all. Not because it’s smart, clever, “game-changing”, but because it’s so insanely simple that people are looking for something that was never meant to be there.
If I described The Ward as “Girl, Interrupted with a bodycount” (which I didn’t – not here at least, not yet lol, one of the reviews that got away – but I would’ve…) then Sucker Punch is The Ward plus The Fall with all the visual insanity Snyder is known for (with the difference being here that I dug it). I can’t stress that enough – this movie is perhaps the most insane I’ve seen – I won’t even try to describe it – and I loved it.
There’s an objection to the movie that concerns itself with the exploitation of women surpassing any message of empowerment the movie purports to – or something to that effect. I’m loathe to get involved with an argument like this because to me it just seems so warped and depressing a way to approach a movie like this that I think it’s best ignored, but I’ll just say that surely such an argument is suggesting that women need some kind of special protection against being portrayed in a ridiculous popcorn movie that is not afforded men, and is hence a little patronising itself? In an equal and reasonable world, surely, violence against women in cinema would be just as unsurprising and unworthy of note (other than how awesomely it’s executed cinematically) as that against men? And given the fact that its director, Zack Snyder, gave us men dressed just as scantily ridiculous in his last two movies (Doctor Manhattan in Watchmen and, err, everyone in 300) doesn’t that even shoot down the “zomg they’re dressed like strippers!” argument?
Anyway that’s pretty much all I have to say on that – to use that as your sole reason to dismiss the movie wholesale (as many have – clearly trying to impress someone) is about as dumb as Mark Kermode’s calling Inception the best film of last year purely because “it proves that blockbusters don’t have to be dumb” (for the record: there are actually reasons I’ll accept for Inception being the best film of last year – they include “I just loved it…” – but not that one… sorry but, to cite just one example, Pixar have been making intelligent blockbusters for _years_…)
That out of the way, I’ll just say this – I don’t know where some reviewers get off comparing this to Inception because they’re clearly entirely different movies, but since you mentioned it, I’d rather watch this than that any day because it knows it’s not trying for greatness and succeeds completely at what it does where Inception (in my opinion) falls far short of its lofty goals (or the ones that fans have assigned it). The movie’s frenetic nature reminded me a little of Scott Pilgrim, not that I’d really normally make that comparison either – but I’d rather watch this than that, even, because it doesn’t have a constant tone of hatred masked with false irony. It has beautiful young girls in awesome costumes which, yeh, I’ll call sexy – nothing I can do about that, it’s ludicrous to apologise for what turns you on. The action sequences are fantastically overblown. And at the end of the day, much to my surprise, it actually has something to say – something akin to Tideland‘s message, it just occurred to me: that we have inside our brains the capacity to deal with anything outside it. It’s vague and perhaps a bit cheesy, but true – certainly no less powerful than Inception‘s (yes I’ll go there again – I didn’t start it) “this sentence is false, but you gotta believe something” joyless, hollow perfection.
Bottom line is, it’s just a movie. I recently linked to this, far better, explanation of (at least) why the movie isn’t the end of the world with the comment, despite still recommending people read it, that I’m not sure if it deserves that much thought but since the naysayers were overthinking it so much it seemed only fair for somebody to do likewise in its favour. Maybe it’s because I watched it just an hour or so after Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams which so perfectly, simultaneously, made our individual artistic cries into the abyss of time seem both important as a whole yet worthless in their isolation. Sucker Punch is just one movie, and one that mainly sets out to simply be eye candy at that. If you think such a movie has the ability, in just 2 hours, to destroy 50 years of progress for women and society, I’m sorry but it’s you who are underestimating women. It’s a movie that clearly has more interest in having fun than saying anything important. I make no apologies for loving it.