Yes I know what you're thinking, Sucker Punch was a massive box office fail and it was terribly bashed by critics all over the world they said the movie was filled with mindless action sequences and accused Zack Snyder for spending everything on visual effects rather than developing plot and characters, they even claimed that Sucker Punch was totally against women and promoted sexual violence and perversion, in short this movie was titled worst movie of 2011.
One day I was bored and I had nothing to do, so decided to watch Sucker Punch Extended Cut to understand why this movie received massive hate but to my surprise I totally LOVED the film, it was the exact opposite of what the critics were claiming this movie to be, but yeah simple words won't make it so I'll breakdown the movie for you, so that you'll understand the kind of genius movie that Sucker Punch was and the kind of genius filmmaker Zack Snyder is.
By the way it took me two viewings to understand this movie entirely, but remember this, I'll keep this article somewhat vague so that you can figure out the elements, deconstruct and enjoy the movie yourself.
Sucker Punch Is Like Inception (2010) But Deals With Psychology, Philosophy and Feminism Rather Than Science Fiction and Heist.
Yes you heard me right, just like Inception, Sucker Punch is also a movie which has deep emphasis on levels within levels and layered narrative but purely from a psychological and philosophical point of view thus making it even deeper and richer in my opinion, let me explain.
So this movie takes place in 3 levels.
The first layer of the story and the closest layer to reality, we see this asylum only twice in this movie, first time in the opening and second time during the epilogue. This layer is used to introduce the plot elements and also to setup layer 2.
The second layer of the story represents the trauma of Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), she was sexually abused by cruel men and thus she imagines this layer to be a brothel where she and her projections are prostitutes/cabaret dancers, moreover in the "real world" she doesn't have any sort of freedom, in the "real" asylum she lives like a caged animal bound by rules and that's carried forward to this layer as well.
Third layer is an equivalent of Inception's dream within dream concept, we are taken to this fantasy realm four times with each fantasy filled with different sets of enemies, obstacles and objectives that mirrors the obstacles and objectives in the second layer "The Brothel" and ultimately in the first layer "The Asylum" as well!
There's No Element Of Reality In What You See!
Don't be deceived by what you see on screen in this movie because none of the events are actual reality, that includes all three levels that I discussed above.
As a matter of fact, Baby Doll (Emily Browning), Amber (Jaime Chung), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Rocket (Jena Malone) are mere subconscious projections of Sweet Pea's psyche, yes this movie is entirely about Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) and her loss and how she overcomes it and finds peace by fantasizing and taking control of that world in order to right her wrongs and redeem herself from her guilt and suffering.
One might argue by saying "What's the use of Baby Doll's character then?" you see Sweet Pea created Baby Doll to fight the battles when she cannot find the strength and courage to do so, similarly every other lead character represents a particular subconscious psyche of Sweet Pea.
Similarly others might say "What's the use of fantasized death of Sweet Pea's projections" the simple answer is to understand why she needed those projections in the first place, she needed them to realize herself and to become a stronger person, so it's about absorbing the strength and courage and stripping herself from fear, guilt and suffering and also she no longer needs her projections to fight her battles because now she can do it herself!
The Ultimate Sucker Punch
You see there was this absolutely beautiful, mind blowing and thought provoking epilogue in this movie, it was divided between layer 2 (The Brothel) and layer 1 (The Asylum) simultaneously yet they are totally connected.
It proves that woman are in total control of their body and mind and they can do whatever they wish for and there's nothing that a man can do about it. It was THE massive sucker punch coupled with a deep message.
Zack Snyder trusted his viewers to be intelligent individuals those who do not need constant spoon feeding in the form of window characters who asks and clarifies our doubts (in hopes of laying out everything so that we can follow the plot) like how Ellen Page's character Ariadne was in Inception, there is no concept of exposition through window character in Sucker Punch though.
The exposition comes in the form of everything other than the window character in this movie, the three interconnected layers and the events happening in them are an exposition in itself, every single dialogue is an exposition in itself (no matter of subtle they are), every single visual element on screen is an exposition in itself.
This isn't a generic, bland, focus tested and dumbed down popcorn flick, this is a movie that requires you to use your brain and demands your full and unwavering attention.
Maybe that's where Zack Snyder made his mistake, to trust his viewers to be intelligent people who can follow and understand the plot by themselves, too bad he was way too ambitious, experimental and original and forgot that moviegoers and critics are way too much used to dumbed down/watered down flicks and thus a movie which demands complete attention and use of brain feels like an alien concept.
I wish would people re-watch and re-evaluate this GENIUS movie as soon as possible so that this movie is praised for what it is, rather than being bashed for what it's not and for those of you, who are reading this article I ask you to re-watch the Extended Cut of this movie if possible and please do look beyond the breathtaking action sequences and visuals because that's where a genius story is hidden, a story crafted by a GENIUS director!