Is Sucker Punch the Most Brilliant Sociological Experiment of Our Time?
When Zack Snyder made Watchmen, and decided to make it as close to a shot-for-shot adaptation of the comic book as possible, I praised him for it and, I think RIGHTLY SO.
If we believe the story, and I figure we may as well, Snyder initially passed on the movie, considering it impossible to adapt; later, when the chance came up again, he figured he ought to do it…because if he didn’t the studio was just going to keep looking for someone who would, and eventually they’d get to Michael Bey.
You know what? I respect that. And whatever problems people might have had with Watchmen, the fact of the matter is that it IS impossible to adapt successfully, and so it’s not fair to judge the movie as an objective failure. Of course it’s an objective failure; it was always going to be an objective failure, and Snyder admitted as much going in. But it is a comparative success, in the sense that it’s about as good an adaptation as was possible in the first place, and Snyder deserves credit for that.
So, then we come to Sucker Punch. Sucker Punch is a movie about underage girls in fetishwear fighting dragons and robot samurais.
It’s hard to make an argument that this anything but the exploitative fantasies of a 14-year-old boy.
Then I got to thinking about it, though, and I started to wonder if maybe that was precisely the point. If the point was that I wasn’t giving Zack Snyder enough credit. Maybe the point of Sucker Punch isn’t just that it’s exploitative girl-ogling fantasy, but that it’s the MOST exploitativist, girl-oglingest, gothic-lolita-in-a-robot-fighting-a-dragonest movie EVER CONCEIVED BY MAN.
It makes a certain sense, I think. I know that, as an artist, whatever kind of piece I decide to do, I want to make it the most like itself as possible. So, if I was leaning towards underage underwear girls with swords, you’d better believe there’d be, like, fifty chicks in their underwear and they’d fighting a robot laser dragon from Mars.
Maybe, I think to myself, maybe this is Zack Snyder’s plan. Maybe he doesn’t want to write a new chapter in teen-girls-fighting-zombie-Nazis exploitation. Maybe his plan is to actually close the book on it.
I’m imagining a scene between two douchebag film-makers going like this:
A Douchebag: Hey, dude, let’s make a movie that’s awesome.
Bret Ratner: Dude, yeah! We’ll put a hot chick in her underwear and give her a sword!
Douchebag: You mean like in Sucker Punch?
Ratner: No! Well, yeah. Except this will have dragons…wait…
Douchebag: What if we put in some…uh…some Nazis…shit…
Ratner: Lesbian…damn it. Robot…samurai…fishnets—
Douchebag: Russian ballerina…
Ratner: …they could be in prison, or…damn.
Ratner: Oh, well. Let’s go and make the world a better place.
Is it possible that Zack Snyder has actually crystallized and encapsulated the very last urges of what it’s like to be a fourteen-year-old boy, and that when he’s done with Sucker Punch, we can all finally become grown-ups?
I choose to believe that such a thing is possible.