Sucker Punch: The Review (with more spoilers than a Rice Rocket Convention)

by wfgodbold

I’m not joking; If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t keep reading, and don’t hit the jump.

It’s not just a review; it’s a discussion of the plot and WTF happened.

Zack Snyder has a gift; 300 was practically frame-for-frame a film reproduction of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, and Watchmen was likewise an almost exact replica of Alan Moore’s.

Sucker Punch, though, is Snyder’s own brainchild; he co-wrote it with Steve Shibuya.

And what a brainchild it is; I’m not entirely sure what it was I watched, but I’m almost positive it was awesome.

It follows the story of Baby Doll, a girl set to an asylum by her evil stepfather so that he can claim her inheritance; to keep her from talking, he bribes an orderly to have her lobotomized. Once she’s in the asylum proper, though, things go all bizarre; her fellow patients become exotic dancers, the asylum becomes a bordello, the shrink a madam, and the evil orderly the pimp who runs everything.

Spoilers! This is your final warning!

All I can figure is that Baby Doll listened to what the doctor was saying to one of the other patients when she was admitted (talk about controlling the world, and how you have all the weapons you need); she created the fantasy bordello (and maybe some of the other girls) to help her do what she needs to do (and collect the items she needs to collect) in order to escape before five days pass and the “High Roller” comes to have his dastardly way with her (the High Roller is the doctor who performs the lobotomies).

While in this fantasy bordello, Baby Doll dances; we never see her dance, but it’s apparently quite mesmerizing. Everyone stops what they’re doing and can’t look away. While dancing, though, she enters yet another fantasy; in this one, she and the other girls are decked out with swords, guns, and any vehicles they need. In each of these fantasies, the goal is for Baby Doll and co. to grab some item of import that will help them escape. While Baby Doll is dancing, one of the other girls will grab the corresponding item in the bordello.

All of the items they collect are things that Baby Doll sees when her stepfather first checks her into the asylum, so they have analogues in all three of the realities. A map on the office wall in the asylum corresponds to a map on the pimp’s office wall in the bordello corresponds to a map held by steam-powered clockwork WWI German zombies (Yes. Really.). They go through this fantasy battle/dance sequence a few times, and each dance has a different setting, different enemies, and different goals, but in all of them, an old man appears to brief the girls on the mission and give them a piece of pithy advice.

They collect the various items in the bordello, and by the end, the group of five girls is winnowed down to just Baby Doll and Sweet Pea. They break out of the main bordello building, but there are guards outside, and Baby Doll sacrifices herself to let Sweet Pea escape. After she kicks one of the guards in an uncomfortable place (no, not the back of a Volkswagen), he retaliates by punching her in the face.

Mid-punch, his fist becomes the doctor’s hammer, striking home the lobotomizer (or whatever it’s called); the whole bordello thing was all in Baby Doll’s head. The doctor discusses her with the shrink, who relates what Baby Doll had been up to while in the asylum: everything we saw her and the other dancers do in the bordello, she did in the asylum, from stealing stuff all the way down to helping another girl escape.

After the orderly is arrested while trying to rape/molest the now lobotomized Baby Doll (and promising to tell the cops about her evil stepfather and the money), the focus shifts to a local bus station. Sweet Pea is in a dress, and is going to board the bus to go back to her family.

A couple cops almost get her, but the bus driver lies to protect her, and we see that he’s the same old man who was giving the mission briefings in Baby Doll’s fantasies. The bus pulls away, and we’re left wondering exactly what the fuck it was we just experienced.

Sweet Pea was the narrator at the opening and closing of the film; when she’s introduced, one of her first lines is, “I’m the star of the show.” Snyder comes right out and tells us that Baby Doll isn’t the main character; she might be the viewpoint character, but she isn’t the main character. It’s Sweet Pea’s story, and Baby Doll is just living in it (from the narration, either she or the old dude are probably some kind of guardian angel or something; it’s not really clear).

Finally, the whole thing was very Wizard of Oz esque: the opening and all the scenes in the asylum are shown in shades of grey; it’s not until Baby Doll imagines the bordello that everything becomes colored. All of the characters in the bordello are people she saw while walking into the asylum (much like how Dorothy’s friends were her companions in Oz).

The only thing that calls the resolution into doubt is that when Sweet Pea is at the bus stop; and as she rides away into the sunset (or was it sunrise?), everything is colored, and not washed out shades of grey. It’s a final tweak of the nose for this aptly named movie; the Sucker Punch is that Sweet Pea is the main character, and not Baby Doll.

I think.

Oh, who the hell knows. If nothing else, you can turn your brain off, enjoy the pretty girls and ridiculous action, and have a good time.

I will say this; Snyder’s take on Superman sure as hell won’t be boring.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: