I watched Sucker Punch for 99 cents and I'm glad that's all I spent. While I think Zack Snyder is a step up from Michael Bay; he too shares the same flaws. He's good with visuals, but has issues with story beats and is clueless when it comes to weaving a cohesive story. The story is about a girl named Baby Doll, who accidentally kills her sister while defending herself from her evil stepfather's attacks. She is sent to an insane asylum, where in 5 days a doctor will come and give her a lobotomy. She develops a plan to escape after going into her dream world, where a Raydenesque character tells her she needs to retrieve four items and the fifth one will be revealed at the appropriate time. She teams up with other patients, Amber, Blondie, Rocket and Sweet Pea to bust out of there. Don't these sound like names of the Pussycat Dolls?
This movie was a point of contention for some critics over whether it was exploitative of women or empowering. I stand on the side that this movie is neither. While the women have to dance for the pleasure of men or to pacify them--we never see this hypnotic dance Baby Doll does. We're supposed to believe these women are empowered because they kick ass in the fantasy world; however, in the real world they are more like cowardly kittens. If I'm suppose to believe that their fantasy world emboldens them, why don't I see it when they are brought back to reality? Also, the Rayden-like character played by Scott Glenn gives them instructions in each of their fantasy missions. He makes a point of telling them that the enemies they are facing aren't real. This seems to allow our heroines to keep their hands relatively clean, because they never have to shed real blood.
Which leads me to think why couldn't this film have been a fantasy film. A movie with women warriors who battle dragons and zombie samurai. It seemed as if this movie was trying to ride the success of Christopher Nolan's Inception with its dream world plot. However, Zack Snyder's technique to use slow mo at certain parts of the action sequences throughout the movie bogs the film down. In fact, the movie itself seemed like one long music video. The artists and songs selected work well within the action scenes as an emotional background. The problem with using the music this way is you take away an opportunity for your actors to provide the emotional beats. What I took away from this movie is that it would have been better if it were a video game. I would have enjoyed playing anyone of these heroines on a PS3 instead of watching a 110 minute long music video.