Sometimes I feel like a feminist living in the Land of the Nerds. I happen to like video games and movies with flying metal and explosions, but I am revolted every time I see that a game designer has spent most of his time making sure the lead character’s boobs jiggle realistically, or seeing the countless movie posters with airbrushed-beyond-belief women. This happens unnervingly often, and so even with names like Lemony Snicket’s Emily Browning, Jena Malone from Saved! , Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish and of course Jon Hamm, I found myself a little wary when I went to see Sucker Punch last Friday.
By the last frame, however, I was shocked. It. Was. Awesome. I absolutely loved it, so of course I went home and checked out what other people are saying, hoping to join what I thought must surely be millions of other fans. Unfortunately reading the reviews out now I appear to be one of the few that actually liked it – and I think I know why.
With posters and trailers that visually striking it’s hard not to come to the theater expecting something. Some people wanted a movie that empowered women, some were annoyed they had to think, and some just wanted to see well, more, if you get my drift. The truth is the movie could have easily strayed into any one of these categories, but (and I’m being serious here) somehow it managed to stay away from excess.
There are plenty of dark themes here to wrap a movie around – It kicks off with abuse, violence and finally, with some intense mental struggle, the characters using their sexuality to fight back. But it toed the line. For all the violence in the movie you never see anything more than what you need to. There’s almost zero blood and while the clothes are definitely racy, you never see the dancing scenes and there isn’t any actual nudity. This is what made me respect the director (Zack Snyder) for trying to tell a story, rather than show a movie. Pandering to a mainstream idea of what a movie that looks like that should be about would have given us either Charlie’s Angels or an actual fanboy anime. Thank goodness this was neither.
One review by Scott Mendelson at HuffPost Entertainment may have had my favorite parting shot:
“Rarely have I spent so much time and effort defending a film that I merely liked. But the seemingly willful misinterpretation of the film merits mention and acknowledgment. You can’t complain about the lack of challenging and socially-relevant mainstream movies and then fail to see the relevance of this challenging movie. It is no coincidence that Universal chose today to announce that it is finally moving ahead with a movie about… um… Candy Land. Reap what you sow, moviegoers.”
So skip the reviews, do yourself a favor and check out something imaginative and fresh (with an amazing soundtrack)….or you could go see that movie where the rabbit craps jelly beans.