The Big Picture: You Are Wrong About Sucker Punch, Part One

awesomeClaw

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I watched, I understood, I hated.

To put it simply: The movie is a hypocritical, disorganized and generally very, very meanspirited film. The whole premise of trying to pander to a crowd only too mock and condemn it when it arrives is so preposterous that I don´t even know where to begin.

It´s hypocrisy at it´s finest. "I want all the benefits of having the girlsloving crowd on my side, but I also want to claim that they are morally inferior compared to me." No. You don´t get to do that. That´s not being clever and provocative - that´s being a dick who bites the hand who feeds him.

Furthermore, the movie failed(deliberately, I´m guessing) to convey this message of """"""misogony"""""" to the people it was condemning. Why deliberately? Because otherwise people would be pissed, and rightfully so. The movie basically compares those who enjoy watching such movies to Hitler.

I didn´t provide any cohesive argument agaisnt why one shouldn´t watch such movies either. All it did was say "people who watch these movies r bad, ya´ll." Why? No reason. They just are.

Maybe the above post was a bit incohesive, but I´m really pissed at this flick. It´s one of the few movies that actually made me want to punch whoever thought of it, and that really takes something.
 

Therumancer

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Err, well I think the problem here Bob is that you don't seem to get it. Unless it's covered in the second part of this entire thing, which I doubt as it would undermine everything you said here, every point you make is undermined by the actual plot of the movie. There is no real hidden meaning here because the good guys and bad guys are clearly spelled out during the film, which means that saying there is an intended audience analogy here doesn't quite work out because the movie sets out to create the clear good vs. evil seperation.

What Suckerpunch is, at it's core, is simply a surrealistic vision quest movie, which stands out by having two layers of parallel reality instead of just one. It's no differant than a movie where say a character in a coma undergoes all these wierd ans surrealistic experiences that ultimatly represent them striving to recover from their injury.

The actual "Suckerpunch" in the movie, which is actually kind of spelled out from the beginning is that the apparent Protaganist, Babydoll, is not actually the focus of the story. All of the stuff about the plot to steal her inheritance and such is just a giant smokescreen for everything that is going on, by trying to get you to care about her, where the actual point of the story is the salvation of another girl in the asylum. The narrator tells you that, as does the "cut back" scene at the beginning of the movie right before you see her Lobotomized at the beginning.

Overall the point here is that in the deepest layer of reality there is ONE character who does not have an analogy to any of the other layers of reality, the guru/mentor figure who gives Babydoll her marching orders in the dreamscapes, who is incidently a man. You do not see this character make an apperance until the very end of the movie where the actual girl who was supposed to survive, the one Babydoll was there to rescue so to speak, finally completes her escape. He actually plays a role, if an offhanded one, as a bus driver (still in a colorscape which can make you go "huh" but that's anothr whole discussion) in manipulating events directly for the first time.

The big mind trip here is of course whether he, the guiding force, is actually god, some great spirit, or whatever else.

Now granted, Suckerpunch is a movie that can be heavily debated, and I suppose the fact that it's not straightforward is exacvtly why it's gotten such mediocre reviews. We could actually argue everything that I've said, but it seems to be something of a consensus at least among those people I've talked to about the movie seriously, and I believe Zak himself is supposed to have confirmed a lot of this in a magazine interview early on, but I've never actually seen that (just heard other people talk about it). The point here is that your basic theory pretty much ignores a lot of things that happened within the movie, ranging from initial narration, to the prescence of the guru figure, etc...

It's doubtful you (Moviebob) read this, but I'm going to say two final things:

#1: Your right in a general sense of the disguised exploitation of women, though it has little to do with this movie, though your wrong about some of the specifics.

In general, women left to their own devices tend to create this same stuff for a female audience when they produce it. If you read things like "Anita Blake", "The Hollows", and other series written largely for a female audience, or just look at the artwork (statues, paintings, etc...) by female artists the differance between what they create and what men create is pretty much zero. The imagery in of itself if absolutly nothing bigoted or exploitive, women are as fond of their outlandish costumes and physical perfection as men are, and at the end of the day wind up with the same exact endgame of spectacular amounts of butt being kicked. If anything the differance is in the way stories are told and a relational as opposed to rational viewpoint and way of reaching the same exact place, but relational vs. rational and those tendencies are again another entirely discussion and dissection of writing.

BUT you are CORRECT that this trope tends to be subverted, especially by non-western creators. A lot of action-girl anime is intended to be humorous and part of the joke is how inherantly ridiculous the idea of women doing this stuff is, especially when your dealing with young girls who act extremely, stereotypically, young, and wind up inflicting huge amo unts of devestation on the bad guys more or less accidently, perhaps with an emotional trigger.

The idea of trying to subvert that back in on itself is an interesting one, but truthfully it's self defeating, as it's not common enough overall to warrent it, and such a message would ultimatly wind up knocking the entire idea which would of course also be telling women "you can't have this, there is something fundementally wrong with it" perhaps tied to the idea that something men can also enjoy or be attracted to is wrong, which is kind of counter productive, and insulting to the women (and men) who create this stuff seriously.

In some respects I think it's become too easy to project irony into campy or deliberatly corny-cool productions, where people seek a deeper meaning than is present. Certain critics pretty much demanding creators come up with arguements about irony to defend their work certainly doesn't help matters much either. Sometimes a hot girl, in a hot costume, kicking butt with a ray gun, is just what it appears to be, and there is absolutly nothing wrong with that.

In short, I think there was less subversion going on here than you. The dreamscape/vision quest idea ultimatly being a unique spin on what is otherwise a fairly grim asylym escape story, and a way of sort of playing up what would otherwise be a very subtle supernatural element. Told without the dreamscapes you'd pretty much have the escape guided by a girl hearing voices in her head, which are shockingly accurate in knowing a few things the girls couldn't otherwise know, following by the final girl unknowingly running into the source of the voice of that one girl's head. While presumably all of the corrupt forces at the asylum undergo a house cleaning due to the attention that has been garnered by the events of the story. It could be good played "straight" but this was a unique way of telling that story.


#2: Bob, look man, I respect you for knowing more about geek culture than I do, which is actually saying something, but really, I think you need to stop projecting politics onto everything. While it has less to do with Suckerpunch than a general tone of reviews, you
are seeing crap that just isn't there.

I get that you had a rough childhood as a persecuted geek, I can feel for you, heck I spent a good portion of my childhood messed up in residential facilities as I've mentioned before. Anything that is mainstream, pro-American, pro-majority, or critical of minorities is not inherantly bad. You seem to be so focused on seeing a status quo burn that you haven't really thought things through, especially in terms of an actual "big picture" so to speak. If you had, you'd notice there is actually far more of an agressively pro-liberal message in a lot of these movies, and a lot of them are pretty insane when you get down to it. It's not like your point of view (and those even more extreme) isn't represented. If anything I'd think someone like you would actually find some of what the other side has to say, when it appears, thought provoking at the very least.

Basically, I'm saying that you should probably lay off the politics a bit, I get that you like "Suckerpunch" but really, I think your projecting more depth than is actually there, because you want it to mean more than it actually does.
 

TheDrunkNinja

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Oh. My. God.

The very title says it all. Any video that directly addresses the audience and tells them they are wrong about a subjective interpretation on any form of media immediately loses all credible worth. And this is just part one?

Do I even need to watch this? Do I even need to add one more to the view count and listen to Bob's gloating voice talk about why he's right 6 minutes?

If there's any actual value to this video, I'll totally watch it, but I feel like this is one of those cases where you can judge a book by its cover.
 

PunkRex

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I thought the film was alright but I felt the message got abit lost in the clutter, there was alot of stuff going on in this bloody film. I felt Starship Troopers did it better as it was alot more focused, not to mention alot more in your face then Sucker Punch.

One of my biggest problems were the action scenes getting gradualy worse. The first scene with the Samurai was awesome as was the trench warfare scene, the castle/dragon scene was abit all over the place and then the train scene which was all slow mo and up close and just plain bad.

Still, I don't think its as bad as alot of critics/audiences say it was but neither do I think it was all that amazing. If your trying to make a statement and your film losses that message under its imagry, set pieces, exacution, etc, etc blah blah blah its not what I would coincider a success.

It was alright... Starship Troopers was better.
 

drummond13

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People hated it because they thought it was misogynist?

That's news to me. Everyone I know hated it because it was an incredibly poorly made movie. Even if the filmmakers really intended all the things Moviebob says they did (and I find that VERY hard to swallow), it's STILL a terrible movie, perhaps even more so in that it fails to convey its "message" to virtually its entire audience, fans and critics alike.
 

jaymiechan

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i'm saying this as noticing a general pattern. Bob is proving to be notoriously bad concerning gender issues in what he covers (this, the Game Overthinker "Heavens to Metroid" video) to the point that if he is going to cover it, i'm just going to tune it out. That's a sad thing, considering that otherwise, he and i agree on a lot of things. It's just the massive disconnect, but he's a guy, i'm not, we'd naturally diverge in that way.
 

tarnim80

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in other words: Zack Snyder choose an overly elaborate way to point out something that's completly obvious.
 

soh45400

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I didn't want to watch Sucker Punch in the first place because I don't like that kind of stuff but never had a problem with it and then I saw Bob's review and began to hate it.
Seriously why all the hatred of men?
And it is not just this movie but a lot of movies and TV shows. I can only name two movies that aims a small fraction of that hate against women, Death Race and Death Race 2. And even in those the main male characters could not have escaped without the help of the women.
But hatred of men, here are the most recent one I remember:
Criminal Minds
LA Noire
Dead Island
Dexter(most of the main villains are men, most victims are women)
Two and a Half Men

I know that certain men do some very bad things and they do deserve to be called out on it but simply praising everything that hates ALL men is that really fair?
Am I supposed to hate my own gender because of statistics someone else is responsible for? for crimes someone else did? Because women were treated badly in movies or tv before in shows or movies I didn't watch nor condoned? Bob mentioned that the Idiot Husband trope came about because it used to be the opposite before. Well, my generation never watched the opposite, we only got to watch Homer or Fred. Why are we being punished for something most of us don't even know existed?

That's my feeling whenever a feminist thread pops up. You want to make gaming more inclusive? I am all for it. You want to ban some kind of people in online games? You should because online games would be better without them. You want female characters in games to dress or behave differently? Fine I am all for diversity and more importantly, better characterization. I only have one condition, don't blame it all on men and to do that try not to phrase your posts like you hate all men because they all look like that to me. And I have the same opinion about Sucker Punch. If you pull it off without hating on all men, fine. But if you have to hate men, well I am a man and I hate you back.

Back in the early 2000s, Kim Possible pulled off something like this without looking like it hates men.
 

Casual Shinji

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FargoDog said:
Casual Shinji said:
Honestly, I wouldn't even have mind, or maybe even liked this movie if it was just competently made as an fantasy action film. Juvenile interpretation of female empowerment/explointation be damned.

But it's just such a mess.
Exactly. There's nothing wrong with crass sexual exploitation in satirical films - see the filmography of Paul Verhoeven - but when that's really the only thing you've got going for you, it's extremely problematic.
Zack Snyder can produce some cool stuff if he's kept on a leash, but when he's allowed to do whatever the hell he wants, like writting, the end result is just wet, sticky spaghetti.

This is what has me somewhat hopeful for Man of Steel. As long as he stays behind the camera and away from too much blue screen, everything will be okay... I think... I hope.
 

Sutter Cane

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TheDrunkNinja said:
Oh. My. God.

The very title says it all. Any video that directly addresses the audience and tells them they are wrong about a subjective interpretation on any form of media immediately loses all credible worth. And this is just part one?

Do I even need to watch this? Do I even need to add one more to the view count and listen to Bob's gloating voice talk about why he's right 6 minutes?

If there's any actual value to this video, I'll totally watch it, but I feel like this is one of those cases where you can judge a book by its cover.
Don't judge the video until you've watched it dude.
 

SonOfVoorhees

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Im wondering if Bob is looking way to much into this movie than he needs to, you can make thing mean whatever you want if you look hard enough. I found the movie watch-able and fun for what it was but any message is lost due to the crappy acting and clichés. Why is every man portrayed as evil? Its to simple, it could have been more complicated with out the simple black and white characters. The female empowerment thing is bullshit as well, they are using their bodies to get what they want even though it insults men who use a woman's body the same way? What? A prostitute uses her body to get what she wants also and that not considered female empowerment.

Thing is, they could have played the fantasy stuff straight. As in the fightening nazis thing filmed more akin to Saving Private Ryan. None of this stripper clothes and OTT stuff and it would have made the movie better. An its ideas it was trying to communicate better.

As for the title "Sucker Punch" it has nothing to do with nerds, and more to do with what the girls were doing to the men. As in, she keeps them occupied while dancing and the rest steal the stuff. Think that makes more sense dont you?
 

Razhem

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The movie was a boring mess. The music videos were making me fall asleep. If it had been just that, I wouldn't have given half a damn and would have forgotten it already.

But then Snieder had to say that it was "empowering" and the pretentios asshat dug his own grave with this. Basically, having women only succeed in a dream world inside another dream world (because they failed horribly on the first dream layer) and having her in the end be lobotomized, while having the BALLS to actually say that it is "liberating", has to be the farthest thing to empowerment I've ever seen.
 

Frybird

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Hmm...seeing the movie that way, the film fails for me at the same level as "Funny Games" by Michael Haneke (both the original and the remake since they are essentially the same movie) does.

It wants to hold up a mirror to me saying how i kinda suck for enjoying these kinds of entertainment (simply speaking), when i really don't.

Funny Games failed for me in this case by being just gratingly paced, utterly pointless and vague, and Sucker Punch failed for me because the oh-so-pandering actionscenes, as imaginative as they were, felt hollow and insubstantial since it lacked any real excitement or danger.
And i even find enjoyment out of the original Aeon Flux Shots (wich are basically both a more comic and more straightfaced variant of this kind of pointless action)...so yeah, it just doesn't work.

Many people critcised Spec-Ops the Line in a similar way, but at least there there was a somewhat compelling character to follow and a downward spiral to unfold if you weren't into the whole "shaming" thing.

With Sucker Punch, i don't see anything but the agressively surreal facade and pointlessnes behind it.

EDIT: Buuut i admit i'm curious if Bob comes up with a good explanation (aside from the obvious one) of why the protagonist imagines herself in a horrible brothel instead of a horrible asylum instad of...you know, actually imagine a better place. (The film lost me pretty quick)
 

Sutter Cane

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SonOfVoorhees said:
Im wondering if Bob is looking way to much into this movie than he needs to, you can make thing mean whatever you want if you look hard enough. I found the movie watch-able and fun for what it was but any message is lost due to the crappy acting and clichés. Why is every man portrayed as evil? Its to simple, it could have been more complicated with out the simple black and white characters. The female empowerment thing is bullshit as well, they are using their bodies to get what they want even though it insults me who use a woman's body the same way? What? A prostitute uses her body to get what she wants also and that not considered female empowerment.

Thing is, they could have played the fantasy stuff straight. As in the fightening nazis thing filmed more akin to Saving Private Ryan. None of this stripper clothes and OTT stuff and it would have made the movie better. An its ideas it was trying to communicate better.

As for the title "Sucker Punch" it has nothing to do with nerds, and more to do with what the girls were doing to the men. As in, she keeps them occupied while dancing and the rest steal the stuff. Think that makes more sense dont you?
pretty sure Snyder has said in interviews that the title refers to what the movie itself was intended to do to the audience's expectations, so bob's interpretation is probably closer to what Snyder intended
 

unacomn

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I found Sucker Punch to be one of the most depressing things I've ever seen. It was more or less saying that regardless of how much you'd like, you can't escape your sin (
BD accidentally shooting her sister
), you can't go on, save whoever you can, but fall on your sword and maybe find solace in that.
 

Piorn

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I don't get why people always focus so much on the "sexy girls". I loved the action scenes for what they are, not for the girls starring them. What hypnotized me during babydoll's dance wasn't her body, it was shiny robots being trashed.
 

Oskuro

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I didn't get all these subtleties when I saw the movie, but I think my subconscious did, if only for the feelings I had as the movie closed. I had this sense of dread regarding the female characters that clearly told me the movie was *not* about female empowerment as I originally thought, but more about their victimization.

I liked the movie.

I understand why so many people don't.

I think MovieBob's analysis has merit, and agree with him on the points he makes, but also think it doesn't excuse the movie's poor execution. But, then again, I'd rather have a movie like this that clumsily tries to make a point and risks the backlash, than the dozens of mind-numbing "safe" movies we usually get.


Anyway, my two cents.
 

Furrama

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Sorry, gonna have to go with Jesuotaku and Filmbrain (I guess) on this. She just seems more on the ball than you on this issue.

I also disagree with your assessment of Bayonetta if that means anything. Looking past the surface only means something if most people can look at, then see they need to look around it or disassemble it, then get it, even some might need a little help or education to get there. If even most of the "experts" on such things pan something then the movie probably failed and possibly became that which it might have been trying to lampoon.
 

LazyAza

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Man I feel like an idiot now, this explains why I've had the disconnect between my feelings about the movie and how so many others, especially critics seem to feel about it. I knew their was more to it than just "hey hot chicks doing cool shit in fetish outfits" but I could never really figure out why. Thanks bob for making sense of it. It's a shame Sucker Punch wasn't more clever and better thought out because I agree that it's intent was indeed more noble than what most people seem to have taken away from it at a mere glance.

Imo Bayonetta was quite similar in that on the surface the game appears to just be "hey hot lady in skimpy outfit kicking ass" but if you pay attention to the details the entire game she's essentially laughing at the mere idea of any man ever being capable of being anything but worthless to her as she utterly destroys everything in her path and ultimately having her greatest adversary/ally being another super empowered female.
 

PunkRex

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TheDrunkNinja said:
Oh. My. God.

The very title says it all. Any video that directly addresses the audience and tells them they are wrong about a subjective interpretation on any form of media immediately loses all credible worth. And this is just part one?

Do I even need to watch this? Do I even need to add one more to the view count and listen to Bob's gloating voice talk about why he's right 6 minutes?

If there's any actual value to this video, I'll totally watch it, but I feel like this is one of those cases where you can judge a book by its cover.
I get what you mean guy but its actually something I kind of like about Bob, at least when he keeps it classy. I enjoyed this vid, hell it made me realise a few things about the movie I didn't previously notice, but the moment Bob gets aggressive like he did in his Expendables 1 and Transformers 3 reveiws is the point were I kind of have to draw the line.

Also before anyone goes calling me a fanboy, I can't stand ALOT of what Bob has said he finds enjoyable e.g. Zodiac, Drag me to Hell, Clash of the Titans (I know he said it was only okay but my gawd that movie), hated each one with a passion. I don't think you necessarily need to agree with someone to find their points of veiw interesting.

I liked the vid, as I said it made me think of a few things I didn't before, curious as to next weeks topic.