Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sucker Punch - Action, Drama and Social Commentary (maybe)

When I first saw Sucker Punch, I wasn't sure what to make of it. Upon watching it again, I think I finally get it.

Sucker Punch opens on a stage with a velvet curtain. As it opens we see a young girl from behind in a set of a bedroom. As the camera zooms in, we are immediately immersed into the films very tragic and very stylized opening sequence featuring actress Emily Browning's character. For anyone who's seen Zack Snyder's previous films, 300 and Watchmen, you know exactly what I mean.

A few minutes later, Emily Browing's character is standing in front of the same stage as in the opening sequence. Despite it being the same stage and set from moments ago, this small detail could be very easily missed. A few moments after that, Emily Browning's character loses herself, and the audience, into a fantasy sequence that starts on the very same stage, but this time actress Abbie Cornish is dressed as Emily Browning's character and being highly critical of where the story has taken us thus far.

It also within this fantasy world that Emily Browning's character, known as Baby Doll, has other fantasy sequences and it with this motif that directed Zack Snyder has decided to tell his story.

On it's surface, Sucker Punch can be seen as a highly misogynistic piece of work where women are objectified and used as dolls for the entertainment of men. But if you look deeper at the piece, you can see Zack Snyder slyly commenting on how women are treated in the media: girls in ridiculous outfits with ridiculous weapons doing ridiculous action stunts that defy gravity. Of course when he does it, it's more kick ass and less objectified.

Snyder really goes for it when it comes to the action sequences. He also puts the same care and thought into the drama  sequences, given the action even more punch with something called "character development."  

Sucker Punch is almost like a musical, but instead of musical sequences, it's these kick ass action sequences. I liken it to Chicago if Chicago where an action film. Zack Snyder should do a musical. Maybe a remake of Chicago?

The movie is a fun ride even if you don't get it's scattered subtleties and commentary. It's beautifully filmed and the action sequences are varied and stylish. Where else can you find women doing battle with zombies, dragons and robots? I recommend the extended version of the film, that is until Snyder is allowed to release a director's cut.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy these:

X-men and Watchmen Motion Comics
Powerpuff Girls The Movie
Sucker Punch (Two-Disc Extended Edition) [Blu-ray]

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