You knew this was coming – Open discussion: Sucker Punch (2011)

I saw it (for free).

I understood what Snyder was going for, but the execution came off as a straight man’s (or rather straight, White adolescent boy’s) idea of empowering women. If anything, Sucker Punch exemplifies exactly why we need more women, people of color, LGBTQs, poor/working class, and disabled people making our own stories.

What did you think?

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13 thoughts on “You knew this was coming – Open discussion: Sucker Punch (2011)

  1. We had a discussion about this on my blog:

    I respect the fact that it cast a light on a lot of social injustices (whether intentionally or inadvertently): misogyny, exploitation, sexploitation, rape culture, child abuse, abuse of people with mental illness, abuse of the legal and psychiatric system.

    The cinematography and the action sequences….let’s just keep it real. Director Zack Snyder can’t be fucked with on those fronts.

    You had a talented cast which included personal favorites: Jenna Malone, Oscar Isaac, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino and Jon Hamm who all certainly brought their A-game.

    The concepts were stellar, the execution and the story……left a lot to be desired. More than once, I was giving the screen my WTF IS THIS SHIT? face.

    There was something immensely unsettling about that film which I couldn’t for the life of me put my finger on but my friend funnychacha was able to in a most eloquent fashion:

    “My main issues in a nutshell. if your going to take on so many issues with abuse against women, then it should have been executed better… I feel like Mr. Snyder tried to pull a cheap one by inserting concerning abuse issues on the back of a flash or titts and ass show…..That I do not appreciate. I dont mind flash of titts and ass. But this was not a good vehicle to carry abuse issues. It was almost mocking.”

    This is definitely one of those films that if you ask 20 people how they felt about it, you’re going to get 20 different and equally valid responses.

    There was a lot of things I liked about the movie, there was a lot of things I thought was a mess and a lot of ideas that could’ve been done better. And obviously the next person’s mileage will vary on this movie.

    I’ll say this though. I’m rocking the hell out of that soundtrack.

  2. I saw this last Friday night with my younger cousin and her friends for her birthday. The soundtrack was amazing. Best thing about the movie.

    My main issue was how everything was so generic. The first action scene with the giant samurai was the best to me. Babydoll was getting her behind kicked and the music was wonderful. The others came along and I became bored. No sense of urgency or danger since the audience is stuck in Generic Awesome Land #2782. The movie needed some more original ideas badly.

    Of course the women of color in the film had the fewest lines/screen time. Babydoll, Sweetpea, and Sweetpea’s sister had the most.

    The mystical white dude wouldn’t have ticked me off as much if he didn’t show up in Generic Asian-themed-temple-world and dressed to match. The other fantasy’s world were places where he fit in better.

    It wasn’t the best movie in the world or the worst. I’m happy that they left all and any sex scenes they had in the movie. If any of the girls had sex with the male psyche ward nurses/doctors there would have been a disturbing power dynamic. The only non-disturbing sex scenes possible would have been between the main girls.

  3. I didn’t see it as empowering at all. I think the entire female empowerment line was absolute bullshit. Just because you have a mostly female cast doesn’t make it a movie that is empowering to women.

    I’ve had serious issues with Zack Snyder’s interviews. There’s one in which he states “That scene with Blue at the end of the movie, when he’s got Baby Doll in the room, in the original script, the way I wrote it, she beats him, because he can’t get an erection. He literally can’t get an erection. He’s trying to get an erection and he can’t, and he tries and tries and tries, and then the cops come and take him away, and then she won.”

    He intended to show a scene where Blue tries to rape a lobotomized Baby-Doll, but failed to get an erection and him failing to get an erection was a sign of how she won. How is that empowering?

    There’s a second interview where he states

    “The very first ending I wrote the order was: Babydoll was being lobotomized, she got chained in the basement, Sweet Pea escapes – well, let me back up. There’s a scene you’ll see on the Director’s Cut with Jon Hamm. When Jon Hamm arrives as the High Roller – and we took this scene out because of the MPAA – when that guy punches Babydoll in the face, she wakes up in the High Roller’s suite. He basically makes a deal with her that if she gives herself to him, and willingly and not against her will, then he’ll give her freedom and get [her] out of that place. He’ll make it so that Blue will never touch her and she’ll be free. She’s seduced by that concept, and right when they go to kiss each other, that’s her being lobotomized. When they kiss, it’s her being lobotomized.”

    I find that idea horrifying. That the only way she can get her freedom is through kissing a man and he somehow sees this as empowering.

    I found Sucker Punch a dark and disturbing movie, nothing like it was advertised as. It was a horrifying movie of women who’re utterly helpless and even as they try to break free they’re ultimately unable to.

    That said I will hold my hands up in the air and admit that I liked Sucker Punch. I didn’t expect to. It was a gorgeous movie with a great soundtrack and I enjoyed how they segued together.

    I think it did a number of things right. It never showed Baby Doll ‘dancing’. There’s a shot right at the beginning where the step-father tears Baby Doll’s shirt open. There’s no cleavage shot, no exposed breasts, and it’s filmed as horrifying, not erotic. There’s bits and pieces here and there that it got right. And there’s bits where it got it so wrong.

    I definitely did not take away any of the messages Zack Snyder seemed to think he was telling. But as a horror film I enjoyed it. As a selection of music videos I enjoyed it.

    • I think there’s a sort of hipster irony I think we’re supposed to be taking from this film. But the thing about hipster irony is that it’s often nowhere nearly as clever as it thinks it is and more often than not, simply offensive.

      • There’s my problem, clearly, not being a hipster and thus not getting their sense of irony.

        I think if the majority of the audience doesn’t get the points that are trying to be made. If they don’t see the irony and just read it as offensive, that’s a fail on the movie’s part and certainly not on the audience’s.

        It was clearly too clever for me, too subtle, too ironic. Maybe if they have a DVD with a director’s commentary where he explains what he meant in excruciating detail in each bit.

        I probably wouldn’t listen to it though. It’s been interesting enough to read all the various fan-theories that are out there about what the movie’s really about.

    • I’d also meant to say something about the Emily Browning quote, keeping in mind it refers to the whole kiss/lobotomy scene.

      “I had a very tame and mild love scene with Jon Hamm. It was like heavy breathing and making out. It was hardly a sex scene… I think that it’s great for this young girl to actually take control of her own sexuality. Well, the MPAA doesn’t like that. They don’t think a girl should ever be in control of her own sexuality because they’re from the Stone Age. I don’t know what the fuck is going on and I will openly criticize it, happily. So essentially, they got Zack to edit the scene and make it look less like she’s into it. And Zack said he edited it down to the point where it looked like he was taking advantage of her. That’s the only way he could get a PG-13 (rating) and he said, ‘I don’t want to send that message.’ So they cut the scene!”

    • I went into the movie completely blind. I hadn’t read any interviews, all I knew was that people were very mixed about what they though, but all of that you quoted just disgusts me. Every single word makes it oblivious that Zack Snyder wouldn’t know what female empowerment was if it hit him in the face.

      A man thinks that the best way to beat and humiliate another man is to have that man fail at getting an erection!? I How about Babydoll and others sneaking around, getting everything, and outsmarting Blue at every turn in the end! The version of the film in theaters shows that in a very “all we need is more swords and bullets” way but it does show it a little.

      What Zack Snyder wanted in theaters sounds only a little bit better than a lame porn movie trying to hard to be deep and metaphorical. The evil dude fails at the most important role in a sexist man’s life. Getting an erection and forcing himself on a woman.

  4. I went to see the movie only knowing that it was an action film that starred women, had received terrible reviews, and had a downer ending. If I’d read Zack Snyder’s quotes before I wouldn’t have gone since I find them extremely troubling.

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