Right from the get go, I’ll just say: Fuck you moronic motherf*ckers. In the ass. With a candle rolled in broken glass. Now that I feel better, I can begin to speak with a modicum of civility and intelligence.
Sucker Punch has been getting beat around by critics. The overall gist seems to be that it’s real pretty, but without substance and story, to which I can only respond by asking if we saw the same movie. I can frankly, unequivocally and without reservation say that this movie was genius in a bottle and you can go suck a bag of d*cks. I won’t bother with a full review (try here, for example) and it is hard to present a full case without dropping spoilers like expletives, but I’ll try.
First, I’ll address the story overall, which has been called incomplete and nonsensical. Zack Snyder and co-scripter Steve Shibuya have done their job here and the only reason anyone has to complain is if they are too lazy to deconstruct the metaphors and make use of the presented subtext. If you do so, then it all makes perfect sense, but they don’t make it easy on you. I think what is giving people trouble is that the metaphors are visual and symbolic, making use of a subtle (and sometimes quite overt) pattern of image “rhymes”. Even worse, the entire real story here exists in subtext. It isn’t presented directly at any point, so you have to use your teeny tiny brains quite a bit.
What confuses me here is that many who have lambasted this movie lauded Inception for doing the same thing. The entirety of Inception is a metaphor arguing that fiction can create experiences that are just as valid as those gathered from real life, which is why it was called genius. The complex layering of dreams made it impossible to tell what was real, but in the end, it didn’t matter. Sucker Punch does the same thing with delusions, but pushes the argument further by showing their affect on our actions in the real world. This movie is not just saying that fiction and dreams create valid experiences, but also that they provide us with a way to process the events around us that can at times seem too much to be real. In doing so, they provide us with the tools (or weapons, as stated in the movie) we need to survive and surmount the obstacles in our path. And this is all done by pitting the lies that occur within Babydoll’s head against the lies presented by her pederast father and the orderly at the asylum.
***Please forgive the fact that I do not delineate how all the above is done, using examples, etc as should very well be expected. Perhaps after it has reached DVD, it will have been out long enough that I would not feel that I was doing a disservice to the creators of the film and to potential fans by giving away too much. For the moment, I can only ask that you see the movie taking what I’ve said into account and draw your own conclusion.***
Another problem seems to be what is generally called a music video style of film making, which is the world Zack comes from and it is particularly obvious during this film. When people complain about this, they are neglecting the biggest constraint a quality music video operates under: they have to tell a complete and satisfying story without the use of dialog. The first ten minutes of the film does this perfectly, giving us a full and incredibly powerful story without the utterance of a single word, using the combination of images and the emotional effect of the music to provide us with everything we need. In fact, the times this movie works best is when no one is speaking. You can complain about that, but the unique combination of fluid images and sound is what makes film different from other media and Sucker Punch is a story told in a way that could not be done in any other media but film.
My only real complaint is the last section. I personally feel that the screen should have gone black at the hammer strike, since the rest is merely pointing out what an observant viewer should have seen already as well as providing a bit too tidy of a punishment for the “bad guy”. Of course, given that people, including those who get paid to pay closer attention than this, seem to have missed it even with the clearly mapped out points, the addition seems justified. Otherwise, this is Art that deserves the capital A and I hope that time shows the morons and lazy dipsh*ts for what they are.