I’ve been looking forward to the Zack Snyder’s original, “Sucker Punch” for almost a year now. His visual style is simply breathtaking, and I expect his best effort in “Sucker Punch”.
I was eagerly awaiting the first set of reviews. I expected that there would be a range of opinions on the movie – some people like Snyder’s style, and some just do not. However, I didn’t quite expect that the reviews would be such polar opposites.
The bad reviews are very, very bad. I think Massawyrm at AICN has the most damning comments:
Zack Snyder’s SUCKER PUNCH is a movie so terrible that it retroactively makes his entire body of work worse. It is a soulless automaton of a movie, lumbering loudly from scene to scene, knowing where it has been told to go, but never giving a shit about where it’s ending up.
Another AICN reviewer, Ambush Bug, also intensely disliked the film:
SUCKER PUNCH is a loud, gaudy, fetishistic, bombastic piece of cinema. It’s also hollow, remedial, and bereft of substance.
However, I found some extremely positive reviews, such as this one from Bill Gibron at FilmCritic:
This is the kind of movie that will have college cults springing up within days of its release…More than just the mere sum of some arguably amazing parts, Sucker Punch is a geek gal’s BFF. Guys will love it as well, considering the sly combination of strip tease aesthetic and brazen babe butt-kicking at play. In the end, it may be a case of style over substance, but what a brilliant bit of technique it truly is.
Jeremy Kirk at FirstShowing.Net agrees with Gibron, reacting even more strongly:
Visually captivating and thought-provoking, Sucker Punch is an explosive success, one that begs the question: “What the hell is Zack Snyder going to show us next?!”
And, finally, Nordling over at AICN (yup – the same site that has the two scathing reviews) provides the most cogent comment (for me):
…the more I turn SUCKER PUNCH around in my head, the more I think that Zack Snyder’s film is one of those rare “kitchen sink” films that works, on multiple levels – as sheer entertainment, as a deeper comment on film, and as Snyder’s grand statement on the power of myth and storytelling. In short, I think it’s one hell of a movie.
So, what conclusion can we draw from these reviews?
I think most of the criticism of the “Sucker Punch” falls either into the style over substance category (i.e. the visuals are great, but the characters are one-dimensional) or into the ‘this is a completely indulgent manga dream’. The latter criticism seems to center on the choice of using contemporary music and Baby Doll’s dance scenes as the transitions to enter her dream worlds.
The praise for the movie centers on the visuals, and on the ability to take the movie as a whole, rather than trying to figure out the individual motivation for a characters action within a fever dream. These reviews indicate the whole story ‘works’, even if individual storylines might not make sense, or are one-dimensional.
Normally, I’d be the guy saying ‘Hey – that character would not do that!’. But, in the case of a Snyder movie, I know going in that a large part of the appeal will be in the atmosphere. I can’t think of another director that can take a mental image and convert that image to film better than Zack Snyder.
I’m still planning on seeing “Sucker Punch” as soon as possible. I loved “300″ and liked “Watchmen” – Snyder hasn’t failed me like he has for several of the reviewers. The other movie that often came up in comparisons to this film was “Scott Pilgrim Against the World” – and I totally ‘got’ that movie.
“Sucker Punch” isn’t for everyone. If you hated “300″ and “Scott Pilgrim”, you should probably pass. But, if you liked those movies, and enjoy a visual assault on your senses, I think you’ve got to go see this.