It was a movie, huh?
When this movie was first announced, it looked like it was going to be a bunch of kick-ass girls whomping all over Nazi zombie robot samurais. And stuff.
And if that was what the movie gave us, it would have been fine. I was all set to enjoy a movie that was just silly, over the top, mish mashing of of genres.
But that's not quite what we got, not even close. And yet it kinda was...
This movie just...gah. Instead of being about an elite group of women kicking butt and taking names, the movie is about a poor girl who gets dragged to the mental institution. The bitch of it is? She kinda belongs there. The movie tries to sell us on her being wrongly put there, and the ultimate reasons for it all are drummed up charges, but almost immediately after her arrival, she escapes into a fantasy world where the asylum becomes a brothel/dance club. Because that's sane.
And even THAT isn't any good for her, Babydoll escapes from HER OWN FANTASY even deeper into herself, and we finally get to see what we came here for, kicking the ass of samurais armed with gattling guns.
So, not only does 95% of the movie happen in a fantasy world, 60% of THAT takes place as a fantasy within a fantasy. This stuff is the ultimate in pointlessness. It has ZERO bearing on the plot, it is all fantasy, it's just...needles to the story. It's cool shit for the sake of cool shit. Which, don't get me wrong. It IS COOL. It's just...I couldn't care less. There are no stakes, the characters are just people inside Babydoll's head so not even real characters. We never meet them in the real world. When they die in the fantasies, who gives a flying frak?
The superteam scenes are little more than video game cut scenes, and even that is being generous. There is no real plot to them, no real story, just "We need this, go here and do this" and they do. And again, all with zero stakes.
When you can remove every single one of those action sequences on the second level of fantasy IN THEIR ENTIRETY and lose ZERO of the story? That is a problem. A big one. That is a gigantic flaw in a movie, and shows just how problematic it is. You can literally remove half the movie, and nothing changes. Oh my.
Which is a shame, because those scenes are easily some of the best in the movie. As much as the movie lacks in plot, it is a gorgeous movie, and shot amazingly well. It is just so sad that Zack Snyder couldn't be bothered to use his skills to tell an actual story rather than just show us how amazing he can show a girl bouncing around an Asian temple.
If the various girls could have been shown as fragments of Babydoll's personality, and not just pretty interchangable, or something...this wasn't even an exploration of the inner workings of her mind, it was just over the top action.
I almost wish the movie had gone all the way and had her die at the end, instead of just get lobotomised, and this was her brain's final moments trying to process all the horrors she's been through.
And ugh, those final scenes. They spend five minutes avoiding showing Babydoll's face after her lobotomy. They go to AGONISING lengths to hide her face. What could possibly be wrong? What happened to her?
The answer? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
In the words of Bart Simpson, you know what would have been better than nothing? ANYTHING!
And there's all this talk about who the story is really about, but since it's showing us Babydoll being sent to the asylum, her fantasy inside it, and her action fantasy dreams as well, and she does all the work? Ummm, it's kinda her story, no matter how much you try and swerve it. Again, the movie could have used the multiple girls better, instead of being glorified sidekicks, and made each one be the one who did the job for their part of the big plan, instead of over and over, it's Babydoll who does the work... Again, that makes it her story. If you want us to be unsure on that point, make the other girls more real characters, make them heroes too, equals.
The very ending. Gnnngh. Those final lines made me want to laugh, and throw things at the screen. Telling us that we're the real heroes of the story? Whaaat? I'll admit to there being some confusion there so I may be way off base, but whatever. By that point, whatever message the movie was trying to convey was lost.
Having just watched Ripper 2, where a girl gets put in an asylum and gets stuck on multiple levels of fantasy to ultimately have it revealed that 90% of the movie didn't happen? Did NOT help this film. I'd just seen that plot. The only difference here was that Sucker Punch had a higher CGI and explosives budget.
This movie is mindless, dumb, over the top action. It is ALL style, and almost zero substance. I feel like I've seen the Matrix all over again.
It is worth seeing for those action sequences since they are amazingly well done, but they're ultimately soulless and empty of all meaning. If only they'd been crafted around a decent story.
Sucker Punch really is three separate movies, bolted together awkwardly. Any one of them would have been a fine to great movie on its own, but the three being smashed together are NOT equal to the sum of its parts. Just an utter and complete mess.
I never even got into the acting.