Spring Break is a time to unwind, relax and futility attempt to catch up on old homework. So it is pretty easy for an awesome movie release to go unnoticed, like the fantasy thriller “Sucker Punch” for instance. “Sucker Punch” is the first true film from director Zach Snyder (of Watchmen and 300) who not only directed the movie, but also wrote the script for it.
The story follows a girl named Baby Doll, who is put into an insane asylum by her abusive stepfather in an attempt to thwart her large inheritance. Soon after arriving, she learns that in five days she is going to be dealt with in a more permanent fashion and decides to draw up an escape plan with four other of the female inmates. The other four inmates are seen as an elite femme fatale fighting force that take on impossible odds including, steam-powered Nazi’s with robotic battles suits, 12 foot samurais with machine guns, and dragons.
From there on out, the rest of the storyline takes place mostly in the alternate reality of a stylized 1920’s brothel. Baby Doll crafts up a dream world in her mind in order to escape the horrors of her real life in the asylum.
It is in this level that every thing a geek/nerd/fanboy loves about anime, science fiction, fantasy, swords, etc. comes together in ways that don’t always make sense, but are nonetheless fun to watch. It doesn’t really matter why the girls are fighting an ancient dragon with a World War II bomber plane, especially when Synder makes every frame look like a painting.
Now some will inevitably compare “Sucker Punch” to “Inception” for it’s multileveled alternative realities, but that is where the similarities stop. Comparing this movie to “Inception” is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes both movies focus around dreams, but “Inception” focused on the potential consequences of dreams through metaphorical analysis, like privacy invasion or capitalistic greed in a nonmaterial world, “Sucker Punch” examines dreams and their role as a means of escaping torment.
As such, the action is more open to the grandiose instead of being grounded in plausible reality and the personal story of Baby Doll takes on less of a role so the audience doesn’t get as invested. This is “Sucker Punch”s greatest strength and its greatest weakness. Because the entire movie doesn’t center on the tension of Baby Doll’s escape, there is more awesome action and less personal satisfaction at the end of the story. So really “Sucker Punch” isn’t good or bad; it’s just plain awesome.