We'll say this about Zack Snyder: The guy knows how to stir up passion in moviegoers, whether those intense feelings skew toward the aggressively negative or the bow-down-before-a-cinematic-god positive. Just take a peek at reviews for the director's adaptation of "Watchmen" in 2009.
A similar disparity in critical assessments surrounds Snyder's latest offering, the fantastical battle royale called "Sucker Punch." Some reviewers are passionately defending the film and calling out the haters for simply failing to understand what the director was trying to accomplish. Many more, however, are accusing Snyder of being the one who failed to deliver.
Will you love it? Hate it? Have you somehow never even heard of it? Check out what the critics are saying and decide for yourself.
"The story centers on Babydoll (Emily Browning), an orphan falsely accused of murdering her little sister and imprisoned inside an asylum where she is scheduled for a lobotomy. Before the procedure can be completed, Babydoll disappears into an alternate reality that exists entirely in her mind. There, she and four fellow inmates (Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung) are performers in a bordello managed by the theatrical Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) and run by the cruel pimp Blue (Miami's Oscar Isaac). In order to escape — the cathouse and the mental institution — the girls must first fight off winged dragons, zombies, giant ninja robots and android aliens and collect five talismans. No, Sucker Punch doesn't make any sense. But none of that matters, because the ride Snyder takes you on is so vividly conceived, so deliriously bizarre and wonderful." — Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"The film abdicates so many basic responsibilities of coherent storytelling, even coherent stupid-action-movie storytelling, director/ co-writer/ co-producer Zack Snyder must have known in preproduction that his greasy collection of near-rape fantasies and violent revenge scenarios disguised as a female-empowerment fairy tale wasn't going to satisfy anyone but himself. Well, himself, plus ardent fans of Japanese-schoolgirl manga comics. ... You will be unprepared for a film packing this much confusing crud into a little less than two hours of solitary confinement, which feels more like dog hours, i.e., 14." — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"Loaded with all kinds of visions of the fantastic and high-octane excitement, it's a visceral feast that utilizes Snyder's signature techniques with all the velocity of a fire-breathing dragon ... But 'Sucker Punch' is not just style over substance. That's an argument the film is sure to be met with, as well, but there is just as much bubbling up under 'Sucker Punch's' CG surface than there is in its sepia-toned skies. Filled with themes of empowerment, escapism, and changing the course of the typical narrative, the film rides high in its jet-propelled mech warrior, and it has much to tell us when it's done doing loopty loops around our brain." — Jeremy Kirk, FirstShowing.net
"You could go to see 'Sucker Punch' this weekend — a lot of people probably will, and a few may even admit as much back at the office on Monday — or you could try to make it yourself, which might be more fun, though not necessarily cheaper. Here's what you will need: a bunch of video-game platforms; DVDs of 'Shutter Island,' 'Kill Bill,' 'Burlesque' and 'Shrek'; some back issues of Maxim; a large bag of crystal meth; and around $100 million. Your imagination will take care of the rest." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
The Final Word
"Some will see the worst sort of objectification in its Victoria's Secret-esque femme front line that also includes the scantily clad corps of Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung. Others will argue that 'Sucker Punch's' sexy guerrillas represent female empowerment, to say nothing of the benefits of diet and exercise. I'd suggest the film is a wonderfully wild provocation — an imperfect, overlong, intemperate and utterly absorbing romp through the id that I wouldn't have missed for the world." — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
Check out everything we've got on "Sucker Punch."
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