As soon as I saw the trailer for Sucker Punch, I thought "I'm seeing that"...I knew not to expect the greatest story but I was still surprised by the negative reaction, even though I hadn't read any actual review. This kind of put me off but still, I decided to take the plunge...
And was glad I did.
I'm not going to say this was a great movie or even a good one but what it WAS, was absorbing. Many films I've watched recently haven't been bad but have failed to engage my interest or empathy. It's possible the fault is mine but I doubt it: I always hope to be entertained at the cinema. Seeing a film in a darkened theatre can be utterly absorbing and quite therapeutic: more than once I've sat down to watch a film in a low or bad mood only to leave the theatre far less stressed as I've been transported somewhere else.
Let's start with Sucker Punch's flaws: I knew the story would be sleight but there's almost no plot, just excuses for the spectacle. There's no great performances and some of the dialogue is a bit ropey, the while many of the effects resemble a computer game more than real life.
However, the flip side to that is....
There's no faffing about as the film opens with a stylish flashback for the lead character before cracking on with the set up that she is about to be lobotomised and sets up fantasy scenarios within her mind to try and escape her fate. The mix of effects and music, often edgy covers of classic songs, creates a wonderful alternate reality. Yes, it's style over substance and it's not always convincing...but what Sucker Punch is about is pure unbridled visual imagination.
Knights storming a castle as a dragon chases a Second World War plane? Shiny sleek robots defending a bomb on a train set to destroy a futuristic cityscape? Steampunk zombie German soldiers fighting in the trenches? Giant sword wielding samurai? This has all of that and more, and it's unapologetic: it's not about plot, it's about visual spectacle, the joy of the imagination, COOL SHIT without the need for justification.
This is unadulterated pulp fun.
And then the end...most of the film washes over you (and if any of you are ever going to see it, it HAS to be at the cinema, watching at home will kill the immersive effectiveness of the film) but the end...well, I won't spoil it.
But out of nowhere, the film shows that all the time, it DID have a point and more than just as an allegorical context. Fir the first time in ages, I wanted to punch the air with the sense of invigoration that literally came from nowhere.
I can't say it's great but if you watch with your critical faculties in reverse and your fun gills open, hopefully you'll be left with the genuine thrill I had at the end of the film, and THAT was the real Sucker Punch....