Sucker Punch Review

Benjo Colautti

Reviewed by:
On March 25, 2011
Last modified:May 3, 2013


Sucker Punch is an example of what happens when creativity derails. It's a sensory overload of utter garbage on every level possible.

Sucker Punch Review

Zack Snyder seemed like a real creative force when he first made his name in Hollywood after crafting a faithful remake (Dawn of the Dead) and back to back graphic novel adaptations (300, Watchmen). His style was excessive slow-mo fused with visual wonder, and it was forceful enough to be somewhat unique in the action genre, where everything is filmed in quick incoherent cuts.

He began climbing up to the top of the ladder where only a few profitable directors can go, achieving the ability to make any project you want. He’s been chosen to direct the next Superman movie and this was initially met with fanboy acclaim. But there’s a strong feeling that extreme backlash will commence once Snyder’s newest film, Sucker Punch, is released. It demonstrates the failure on a director’s part when coming up with an original idea and how to portray it onscreen. However this is not just a misstep of a movie, this is a complete disaster that only a few bombs in the last couple years can measure up to. Sucker Punch is Snyder’s potential Hollywood bullet to the head. And this expensive budgeted debacle has no one to blame but the director himself.

The film opens too similarly to all of Snyder’s past movies, where the credits are shown in slow sequences, as if you’re turning pages in a comic book. It worked incredibly well for Watchmen, where the timeline of the masked heroes’ fame was captured from their rise to their fall; all while being accompanied by Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin”. Here it doesn’t seem to work as well. Sucker Punch has Baby Doll (Emily Browning) in a violent domestic dispute with her step-father after the death of her mother and sister. She is then relocated to a mental facility that looks exactly like Arkham Asylum from Batman.

With the gray tones and non-existent lighting, Snyder films the early scenes in the facility with a cold depressing atmosphere. But suddenly the film’s biggest setback and main hitch kicks in, transforming the film into a mess only Snyder can understand. Baby Doll imagines a world where the facility is a brothel, with her fellow inmates dancing for clients in a club run by the sick demented Blue (Oscar Issac). However, this is not proven, Snyder gives you no clues on what’s real or what’s playing in his head.

All that’s apparent is Baby Doll’s scheduled lobotomy is in five days, and she plans on breaking out before then. In her brothel world she teams up with Amber (Jamie Chung), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) and Rocket (Jena Malone) to escape using five items. Now to get these five materials requires her to dance in an off screen tantalizing fashion, where in her mind (once again) she enters fantasy action stages to retrieve the items. If that didn’t make sense to you than good luck watching the movie.

These action scenes involve heavy use of CGI and lots of gratuitous violence. This is usually where Snyder prevails so the disappointment that follows is truly devastating, watching impossibly staged fights commence between the five girls and massive samurais, steam-punk Natzis, orcs direct from Lord of the Rings, and unoriginal robots that look like the definition of steel skeletons. A lot is going on and even if you try to sit back and enjoy the fantasy battles for what they are, two major problems get in the way of doing so.

First, nothing these girls do is plausible enough to grasp, it’s all (once again) slow motion jumps and flips that do nothing but try to turn you on by viewing the females in skirts and tight leather doing acrobatics. 300 had stylized action like this, but the characters were Spartans born to fight to the death and therefore made their clash against an army of millions believable and compelling enough to watch. This leads to the second problem, which is that nothing in this fantasy world really matters at all. Baby Doll is really just dancing in the brothel dream while everyone watches, and god knows what’s really happening in the facility, where reality apparently exists. The concept of bewilderment doesn’t even begin to describe how nothing onscreen matters.

Finally, what will ultimately turn everyone off of Sucker Punch, especially the females accompanying their boyfriends to the movie, is the degradation towards women. Throughout two hours, there are numerous attempted rapes, beatings, killings, verbal abuse and threats that occur making you cringe in disgust by the end. What is Snyder trying to say by having women in distress, imagining a world where they can fight back with machine guns and swords, only to get tossed around in reality with no remorse? Thematically, Snyder completely is unaware of a clear message prompting the mental escape for women in neglect. The tone, style, ideas and understanding of the material is all off the map and beyond a disjointed mess, it’s just wrong.

There are no performances in this movie, just Snyder controlling characters as if it was a video game. When emotion is required it just comes in the form of tears by all the actresses to expose how rotten things are. That being said, Cornish and Malone do make an impression. Malone has been a talented actress for years and no matter how bad a movie like this is, she gives it her all. The subplot about Rocket and Sweetpea being sisters looking out for one another, works to a degree because of Cornish’s ability to be a strong presence, even if their relationship is paper thin. Every other actor in this film is a victim at the mercy of Snyder’s obsession with making things look how and perform his way.

Sucker Punch is the first real bomb of the year, a disaster that won’t connect with audiences since there is no possible way to understand what’s happening. The visuals and CGI aren’t even worth recommending alone, because no one is imagining it but Snyder, not even Babydoll herself. It’s a cruel, miscalculated attempt at originality that is offensive to not just females, but anyone with a brain. Zack Snyder has proved himself before, and every great director has a massive flop on their resume at one point. He has to realize that movies are made for audiences to enjoy and not just for himself. Sucker Punch is an example of what happens when creativity derails. It’s a sensory overload of utter garbage on every level possible. Superman better not suffer the same fate.

Sucker Punch Review
Utter Failure

Sucker Punch is an example of what happens when creativity derails. It's a sensory overload of utter garbage on every level possible.

Comments (13)

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  1. Petesays:

    Man I am so disappointed by seeing all of these rotten reviews :(. I have been super excited for this movie ever since the trailer was first premiered. I will still be seeing this today regardless of the bad reviews, so I hope I enjoy it. I do like 300 and Watchmen, so I do enjoy the Snyder’s directing style. Do you like those movies?

    1. Benjosays:

      Snyder is a good director that’s for sure, I loved Watchmen even more than 300. I read the graphic novel and Snyder actually did it justice. Rewatch Dawn of the Dead and notice how natural it is, no slow mo or techniques Snyder does now. Sucker Punch is universally being punished and rightfully so, Snyder has to realize that his directing style is getting old.
      Tell me what you think of the movie Pete, do you agree?

      1. Petesays:

        I absolutely loved the movie. I found it to be very dark, sad and unique. I can understand how people will see Snyder’s directing style get old. I guess I still enjoy it because it’s something different. As for the plot, I loved that too. Its very interesting and unique. It can be confusing, but I like movies that way sometimes. You can interpret it in many ways. The action scenes were stunning. My favorite being the train sequence. Overall, I loved it 😀

  2. Mikesays:

    Ouch, I knew it looked bad and strictly catered toward pre-teen girls but didnt think it’d be this bad.

  3. John Giannis Perivolarissays:

    So what happened is he basically made the same movie as Watchmen but this time it didn’t work?

    Don’t get me wrong, I really like Watchmen.

    Honestly, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is like a great painting. It’s so good to look at, but it doesn’t have much to say.

    In the case of Sucker Punch, from what i’ve read, it ended up not being good to look at, and it doesn’t have a story to tell aswell.


    1. Jack Daniel Morrissays:

      yes but keep in mind watchmen was written by allan moore years ago, so this guy tried the same tricks visual wise but wrote a movie to go with his watchmen visual but seems like no one read the script and said ‘so what is this about exactly?’

  4. This is not a review, this is a bash against someone trying to do something different for a change.

    I must be one of the few people who got the whole “you don’t need all these weapons to do what you have to do to survive, its all about you.” This movie is not degrading women, its orphans being abused and neglected a sad reality that happens often in our world. I still can’t believe people are just rubbing off the visuals in this movie, it was eye candy which in itself would gain some respect for how the action scenes worked. im still annoyed people thought the train fight was the worst when i thought it was the most impressive with all the camera work that they threw in there with the slow motion and wild movements, ive never seen a movie with that before.

    Go see this movie and disregard all reviews people are thinking its either

    A.) gunna be all action


    B.) have a great story which still shocks me as to why they think a Snyder movie will have great a great plot, especially when its about broken women who are trying to survive in a whore house which one uses her imagination to cope with what she has to do, which in turn makes her stronger.

    PS. I “LOL’ed” at you complaining about the girls doing things that aren’t plausible in baby dolls IMAGINATION. first you say the brothel is already a dream world, then she goes even deeper and you get mad that things that cant happen in real life happen? if you tell me inception is realistic i will laugh pretty hard.

    1. Benjosays:

      haha I was waiting for someone to bring up Inception perfect, thanks Cody. Inception takes place in people’s dreams and we know who’s they are, by the details. Baby Doll dreams dragons and Natzis? No she doesn’t Zack Snyder does. Cody give it a break dude, Sucker Punch has universal hate and rightfully so. I know he was trying to do something different, I said that, and that’s why he failed. If you enjoy Sucker Punch you do not have a brain, sorry dude, it’s honestly that simple.

      OMG I forgot! That train section I have seen in fifty cutscenes in video games before. Oh boy

  5. Will Chadwicksays:

    Couldn’t agree more Benjo, it was staggeringly awful. I think it proves for one thing that Snyder is a one trick pony, who can do grimy images with slow motion, and fails do anything else. Never got the love for Watchmen, which carried a similar tackiness to this, although here it is far more overriding. Badly acted, misjudged and profoundly misogynistic.

  6. abombsays:

    Wow just watched the movie today and whoever didn’t understand it, which it sounds like quite a few douches on here didn’t, your really missing out on a masterpiece. The movie blew my mind one of the best trips Ive taken to the theater this year, the ending was extremely unique, as well as the rest of the movie, instead of showing his normal graphic scenes that were in watchmen and 300 “the sex scenes in particular” or boring the audience with their actual attempts at devising their escape, he uniquely replaced it with what the audience wants gorgeous glorious gunfights 🙂 The movie is visually stunning and if you haven’t seen it you should see it just for the mind fucking twist at the end.

  7. Gerardo Bloomerfieldsays:

    The only reason everybody hates this movie is because it is politically wrong. Now if you love to see hot girls sexy dresses, missed with weapons, a comic aesthetic and video game dynamic with a very surprising end… then fuck mainstream people opinion and watch this movie. You will love it. If you love games like Bayonetta, Devil May Cry or DOA, you will love it. If you love movies like 300, if you love Anime , you will love this movie. If you don´t like fantasy, if you don´t like to see sexy dressed hot girls shooting robots, zombies, nazis, and dragons showing blooms and AR15 inside a Final Fantasy like atmosphere, go see some piece of boring intelectual and correct cinema with tons of gays, racially diverse characters and women dressed like men without make up. This is a future cult movie. That´s why the people give it more than 50% score and the critics only 8 or 9%.

    1. Pyrophobesays:

      No. The problem with that, my dear Gerardo, is that all of the things you listed a) leave us with something to think about and b) aren’t a clusterfuck of visual nonsense. Video games, especially ones like Bayonetta and DMC, are fun because they put the action in control of the player. Anime is fun because it actually attempts to tell a story (well, the good ones do.) What this movie does is show us an infantile mishmash of things that Zack Snyder hopes will appeal to 13-year-old boys, and then do nothing with that. Fun imagery isn’t worth it if it isn’t part of a bigger picture, and this definitely isn’t. It’s like having an issue of Penthouse rubbed all over your face while the person holding it is screaming “ISN’T THIS AWESOME? AREN’T YOU TURNED ON?!” when in reality, you can’t see shit and you’ve got a black eye now to boot. This movie is cringeworthy at best and that doesn’t make the people who didn’t like it boring, that just means you’re more easily entertained than others. Grow up.

      1. John Brand Jr.says:

        Sure i will. I will pick some chicken pop and keep watching Iñarritu´s “Birdman” or some pretentious sh..t like this so i can feel mature enough. 🙂 What i see is Snyder language is largely misunderstood. He created a new way to make cinema at the exactly point between comics and movies. He took Nolan´s and Miller´s elements started this experience you can only appreciate if you understand comics and B movies. He will never win an Oscar and i don´t care. The guy surprise me at any movie he make. Same people saying this one is sh*t says Batman v Superman is sh*t. The fact is at every Snyder movie half public hate it half public love it. Good symptom he is doing something innovative. No deep history and intelectual pretensions? Well.. most comics master pieces have no deep history or intelectual pretensions. Maybe it´s because the visual art tells half of the history. But if you don´t understand that basic then for you Batman is just a ridiculous dressed richie kicking people because PTSD, Superman is just a flying ET without bike, 300 is just a gay parade in the middle of some mountains and the Watchers it´s only a Halloween party on steroids.

        If you don´t know how to read Chinese don´t say Chinese language is bullshit nor tell Chinese people “grow up, learn English!” .

        Grow mind.

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