Sucker Punch Review

Where director Zack Snyder often fails is in crafting real, relatable characters. They feel like contraptions made for focus groups, rather than individuals with some degree of sanity or sympathy. Take the opening to Sucker Punch, for instance, which plays out like an early 2000s music video. Heavy downpour, sad characters looking good and guns, all to some nonsense pop track that has faded into the abyss with about as much fanfare as this film. Little. Speaking of little, there is little of value or note throughout, an embarrassing slog that suffers tremendously every step of the way. It limps on with no end in sight, and it is this feeling of never-ending incompetence that pushes it down to aggressively poor, filled with covers of The Beatles and the usual brown-dipped wash-out his films usually have.  

While Snyder has often had tremendous difficulty with pacing, it is within Sucker Punch that this is worst of all. For here it is coupled with the repetition of White Rabbit or other such songs and is infused with utterly dense or happenstance occurrences. A character is in danger? No matter, throw in a robot to save the day out of the blue and end the excruciatingly long. It is clear from the erratic moments of action that Snyder wished to make a poorly-paced video game, rather than a film. Dragons, shooting, and everything in-between. It is boring and vaguely jaded. There is more emotional connection to a brief, villainous dragon and their child than there is to these dense characters, who wade their way through oddly similar-looking rip-offs of Lord of the RingsArmy of Darkness and just about any World War film. Still, these performances take much of the heat.  

Abbie Cornish in particular stands out as rather wooden, but then, so are the rest of the cast. Oscar Isaac does his best Gomez Addams impression with the pencil moustache and rendition of “Love is the Drug”. It is awful, again extending the idea that all Snyder can do is pump his film full of over-sexualised characters whose attires and airhead fantasies are all the depth they have. It is the faux post-feminism provided in these simulated, expressionless moments of empowerment that Snyder comes to for guidance. He throws them in not because he cares, but because he gets a kick out of portraying whatever seems hot or cool for the moment. It is tonally indifferent and very, very weak. One moment we are in a nightclub tapping along to a musical number, the next we are watching a poorly rendered samurai fire bullet after bullet at a leading character whose name is of no importance or interest to anyone.  

“If you do not dance, you have no purpose.” Snyder must continue this song and dance forevermore, for he fears obscurity and true craftsmanship. It is all the hallmarks of his direction folded and fumbled into one. Not an ounce of quality in sight, and much of Sucker Punch boils down to flashy, poorly-cut action set pieces that are moments of fantasy, rather than responsible or interesting plot detail. It is bleak, grey and boring, with its hyper-punk soldiers and gas-mask wearing antagonists neither anything to fear because they do not exist, or nothing to invest in because Snyder does not deem them important enough to even consider. His amateurish abilities take full control of Sucker Punch which foams at the mouth anytime its CGI makes an appearance. It is a sure sucker punch to the jaw of anyone wanting a good time.  

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