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VidCritz: ‘Sucker Punch’ Reconsidered

VidCritz: 'Sucker Punch' Reconsidered

VidCritz is Criticwire’s home for interesting video essays and criticism. Because, really, who wants to read? 

Whether you loved or hated Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch,” you didn’t understand it. That’s the message (and the title) of a new video essay on the film by /Film‘s Adam Quigley. And here it is:

Quigley’s main argument is that no one has fully recognized what’s “really” going on in the film — namely that everything we see onscreen is a fantasy, including the base level of reality where the character named Babydoll is institutionalized at a mental hospital by her evil stepfather. In fact, Quigley says, that’s all taking place in the mind of another character named Sweet Pea, a mind that is about to be lobotomized. And when we see Sweet Pea *almost* get lobotomized early in the film, she actually does; the entirety of “Sucker Punch” is her character’s attempt to disassociate from that trauma. 

Given that line of thinking I may still not get it; if the whole movie is a fantasy, how do we know the one scene with Sweet Pea’s almost-lobotomy is real? But let’s assume I buy Quigley’s argument. My next question: is it possible to understand “Sucker Punch” and still kind of hate it? Because I think that’s where I’m at.

All of the other things Quigley says Snyder’s trying to do — upend our notions of reality and fantasy, interrogate the gender inequality of the past, encourage women to “stand together in all their erotic glory — are definitely present in “Sucker Punch,” but that doesn’t change the fact that the movie’s also self-indulgent, meandering, and frankly kind of boring. Even with those themes, it’s still an awful lot of style for what amounts to some pretty meager substance.

That said, I love when someone defends a movie I (and lots of other people) don’t care for; after all, I’m the dude that wrote a celebration of “Junior” a few weeks ago. So while I can’t join Quigley in his quixotic quest to redeem “Sucker Punch” (and while the tone of his video essay seems designed to shame me into feeling stupid), I like the fact that he’s trying.

Read more of “VIDEO: You Don’t Understand ‘Sucker Punch.'”

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