Other critics have noticed the lack of substance. We usually agree with them. We almost didn’t even see this movie, because it has a 20% approval rating on RottenTomatoes, the critical review aggregate site. For those who aren’t familiar with the site (and you should be), a score like this usually translates into a grade of D- for us.
But we think the critics are being wayyyy too hard on Sucker Punch.
First of all, the action and visuals are amazing. The fight scenes and some situations are genuinely intense, even though they are gore-free. The movie gets you to care about the girls, thin characters that they are. The movie tries to explore decent themes. And it IS a true lesson that you can use your mind and attitude to overcome difficult surroundings. Lots of people are going to call the messages pretentious and shallow, but we aren’t that cynical. The message was fine. But, more importantly, the movie was a visual and technical feast.
Is anyone surprised the movie is light on good acting, dialogue, story, and characters? It’s not like we were expected Shakespeare from this. Does no one remember stupid, but bad-ass 300? We have seen far worse action films from big studios. It's no where near as bad as the second Transformers.
Major gripes: The main one is the sexism. The movie makers, in interviews, have talked about how the girls use their sexuality as weapons. They say it isn’t demeaning, because the girls use the “sexy baby girl” image to their advantage to gain power and freedom. We’re sorry, but that just sounds like an excuse to put the girls in skimpy, childish outfits during most of the movie.
The main girl is known only as “Babydoll.” A huge part of the alternate reality she dreams up is the setting of a brothel where girls dance for slimeballs. LIKE ANY GIRL WOULD MAKE THAT A PART OF HER SELF-EMPOWERMENT FANTASY.
Guys don’t make out much better in the movie. With the exception of one old guy, the men in the movie are liars, leeches, creeps, rapists, and pigs. It’s not fun to watch girls threatened sexually for two hours.
Also, call us grandmas, but this movie is freakin’ loud, especially in the first half. Bring earplugs, just in case it starts to feel oppressive. Also, SACRILEGE covering “Where is My Mind” by The Pixies. Psh. Also, the lines at the end of the movie overdid it with the cheese and preachy-ness for us. They beat that horse dead.
Bottom Line: If you are interested, go ahead and see it, and see it on the big screen. Just go in thinking it’s going to be shallow, stupid eye candy, because that's what it is. Only go if you love action with all your heart and soul, and go if you mildly enjoy the plotlines of videogames. We'll admit that we fit in that category.
Movie grade: B+