I watched Zack Snyder’s magnum opus this week. I hated it. Why? Two Reasons:
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
Reason number 1: The Fantasy Bullshit is Disturbing
The first few minutes of Sucker Punch held promise. The music video like exposition (to the tune of an awesome “Sweet Dreams are Made of These” cover) of how Baby Doll ends up in the insane asylum is a tribute to Zack Snyder’s knack for giving meaning and weight simply through excellent camera shots/angles. But alas, it all went downhill once Baby Doll entered the asylum and she started having her hallucinations.
As anyone who is familiar with Sucker Punch knows, the fantasies are the scenes when the characters in the movie go all anime and display copious amounts of super human acrobatics, glorious slow-mo battles and other forms of bad-assery. These scenes are used to depict how Baby Doll and her cohorts obtain the necessary tools in order to escape the mental institution they are locked in; namely a map, a lighter, a knife, a key and a fifth unknown item.
Now to my point; the fantasy parts are distracting because of the reason the movie gives us for their existence. They are a way the protagonist copes with the trauma of her situation. Like the movie states, she uses them to “Fight“.
I don’t know about you, but this is how I escape my trauma
So while watching the vibrant visuals of the fantasy being played out, a part of my mind kept asking; “What the fuck is actually going on in the real world?” I can only come to one reasonable conclusion: In order to obtain the items they need to escape, Baby Doll has sex with someone as a distraction while the other girls steal the map, lighter, key or whatever.
When I came to that realization, all enjoyment from watching the fantasy scenes evaporated. How could I possibly enjoy them when I now know they’re the escapist fantasies of a girl whose desperation brings her to sleep with people who ooze sleaze in order to escape? How!?!
I probably felt the same way as the people in “The Soylent Green” movie felt, when they found out the yummy food they’ve been eating were actually human beings.
Reason number 2: The Ending Blows
I’ll give Zack Snyder credit. I was indeed sucker punched by the ending. I didn’t see or expect it coming. But it is also common sense, that people don’t like being sucker punched. A pleasant or mind-blowing surprise is completely different from a swift unexpected fist to the nuts.
The sucker punch ending is that Baby Doll is not actually the protagonist. It’s not her story. The real hero is one of her cohorts, Sweet Pea (aka the one who doesn’t die). On the verge of freedom, being blocked by numerous goons, Baby Doll realizes that she is the fifth, previously unnamed item, necessary for escape. So, she sacrifices herself by distracting the bad guys so Sweet Pea can escape, to “live for all of them“. As for Baby Doll, she gets lobotomized but not before regaining her sanity at the very last second before the ice pick is hammered into her brain.
It was a tragic ending. And it also completely, undoubtedly, unquestionably 100% sure-as-the-sun-rises BLOWS!!! Why does it blow? Because we don’t give a monkey’s ass about Sweet Pea. Throughout the whole movie, we were made to sympathize with Baby Doll and Baby Doll alone. The first 10 minutes (which as I said previously, was awesome) were designed to make us feel sorry for her. The backgrounds of the other girls were only given an iota of development. The bare minimum! This resulted in us not giving a fuck about them. If a little effort was made to make us care for anyone else aside Baby Doll, the ending wouldn’t have been so bad. I’d even go out on a limb and say it had the possibility to be a kick ass ending. But I digress…
So in summary, to have the one the audiences don’t care about go cavorting into the sunset and the one we DO care about being turned into a walking vegetable is a stupid ending. A dick ending. A Sucker Punch ending. If Zack Snyder’s goal was to piss the audiences off, he succeeded.