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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Essay

Exploitation POW! : Why I Won’t See Sucker Punch, and You Shouldn’t Either


Editor’s Note: If I had the time to wrestle with the outrage that Sucker Punch engenders in me, I wouldn’t have any time left over to run a blog. Fortunately for me, Zoe Chevat did all the wrestling I could have asked for.

Don’t get me wrong; I love an excuse to slaughter allegorical giant samurai as much as the next Terry Gilliam fan. I like a good mecha fight, I don’t mind trading in my gothic fishnets for a bronze raygun every now and then, and I am certain that Jon Hamm‘s chin remains as chiseled as ever, no matter what size screen it’s on.

But I remain, knowing very few details beyond what I’ve seen in the trailer, disinclined to fork over a wad of sweaty single bills to see Sucker Punch.

Indeed, I am disinclined to spend $11-$13 on any film whose trailer alone sends me into paroxysms of disgust. (Given the slim confines of a graduate student budget, this is probably a wise choice.) My disgust is squarely in the arena of feminist concern, the main problem of which seems to be how to communicate one’s objections without ranting histrionics. I will try for everyone’s sake to explain, without the customary verbal violence, exactly why I find Sucker Punch so objectionable. This is saying something, because, much like the sight of Ann Coulter on television, the trailer for Zack Snyder‘s latest CG-fest sends me for the rawhide sticks to avoid chewing into my couch in my rage.

So please, allow me to ruminate, while I illuminate the possibilities.

I have the same problem with Snyder’s high-kicking girl-revenge festival of maim and bombast as I did with parts of the otherwise enjoyable Kill Bill; it’s unbridled invocation of exploitation. I would argue that all of Snyder’s movies are exploitive on both sides of the gender divide; 300 was riddled with enough Photoshopped beefcake and shiny nipples to put the Fagles translation of The Iliad to shame. But these things are, as we have seen, different for girls.

It’s about power, ladies, and ladies, and gents. Power and the Gaze, that concept your high school feminist art history teacher liked to rattle on about while you were listening to music under your hoodie. The reason this brand of exploitation is different is that, when female characters rally and kick ass, it’s through the prism of a biased gaze. Women in these movies only take revenge after abuse and humiliation by captors, often of an overtly sexual nature. These scenes of abuse are presented to the audience as another in a chain of action sequences, expected to command as much rapt attention as an exploding 747. Using rape or other forms of sexualized physical abuse to elicit audience outrage is a cheap trick . I didn’t care for it when Battlestar Galatica did it, and I sure as hell don’t care for it from the director of Watchmen (which also contained a near-rape scene that played out longer than necessary). This pattern establishes a world in which the ‘powerful’ female avatar is still an object without power, because she is still subject to the appraising gaze of the director and the viewers.

Moreover, the petite bloodthirsty girly-girls of Sucker Punch still bare their midriffs and cleavages even in what is supposedly their own fantasy scenarios. Maybe I’m alone here, but when I am imagining myself kicking some high-fantasy ass, it’s sheathed in the sort of Kevlar weave, full-body armor that would put a Nolan-verse Batman to shame. Leather hot-pants, after all, have a tendency to ride up when one is jumping out of bomber jets into frenzied combat.

Moral of the story? I don’t think there’s anything particularly innovative about a panty-baring schoolgirl fighting robots. I don’t think that it’s healthy for young girls to see, especially young girls who are already having a difficult time competing for space in a male-dominated geek subculture. If I want that sort of entertainment, lads, I can turn the entertainment dial back about 20 years and watch some bad VHS dubs of anime.

I want the power to land some sucker punches fully clothed more than I want Emily Browning‘s flushed pink flesh on display for my edification.

Perhaps I am wrong about Sucker Punch.

Somehow, though, I doubt that I am.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog, Anachrolush.

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  • http://twitter.com/MildlyAmused Donna D.

    You certainly aren’t alone but you don’t have my vote.

    I like to look sexy and in my fantasy world, I would be kicking ass…in a corset. So I’ll say here what I said on Tumblr a week or so ago,

    “I don’t care if you think the rest of us are “bad feminists” for “buying into the patriarchy”. I will go see Sucker Punch for the same reason I saw 300; bad ass cinematography and action. I will be there with GOD DAMN bells on. I enjoyed my greasy, shirtless men and I’ll be damned if anyone tells me that it’s sexist to enjoy girls in corsets.

    FUCK OFF. I LIKE HOT CHICKS.”

    /endrant

  • http://twitter.com/MightySquid Kate Falanga

    I’m not sure if it inspires the same amount of rage in me but I was extremely displeased to see the trailer as I was looking forward to Zack Snyder’s next venture. It’s almost porn like and not in a good way. Hot chicks with guns? Please.

    Also I tend towards the black leather in my fantasies but it is in no way form fitting. It also has a lot of pockets. I think more heroes need pockets. They’re important.

  • Anonymous

    My first thought when I saw the trailer was “If they’re in an asylum, why would they wear so much eyeliner?”

    I often feel that when it comes to female protagonists, I’m the dog begging for scraps. I’m desperate for any movie with strong female protagonists that I’m ready to accept anything. When it comes to films like this (and also, the Wonder Woman costume makes me feel the same way), it just doesn’t have to be this way. It’s a conscious choice to make the skirts shorter, the voices breathier, and the makeup sexier. Having not yet seen the film, I can’t comment on aspects of the plot, but I think that swapping in new clothes and less makeup would make it a very different film. It would at least make it a very different trailer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001024198090 Scott Mccormick

    I get what you’re saying,and I damn sure really get what Donna D. said.The movie looks like a “splosion filled, bad- ass, jiggle fest with mini-guns,darkling samurai robots and leather clad dance numbers with illiterate giggle girls as the lead characters.But,visually I like it.Although you did have one serious point that I too have a huge fucking problem with.The rape/abuse leading to female empowerment storyline pisses me off like you would’nt believe.And I think if a director/writers gonna use it,then to satisfy me,they need to spend at least as much time tearing the antagonist into tiny little,sobbing pieces of degraded and demoralized flesh bits.I mean pieces -parts where death is begged for,and not given.And when it comes right down too it,sucker-punch just wants to be Brazil anyway,right?smoochies…

  • Shroomi

    Although I don’t know much about the film in question, I’ve got to say, I do think that the abuse that triggers the female protagonist’s revenge in a lot of films just makes the resulting violent revenge all the sweeter.
    On the other hand, it would be interesting to see a few good films where the male protagonist is humiliated that much initially.

  • bobbarob

    Oh thank god I’m not the only one. There’s just something about that trailer that put me off every single time, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and you hit the nail on the head. It’s probably worth mentioning that I tend to zone out or change the channel when it comes on, so I wasn’t even aware of the rape backstory. Can’t say I’m surprised by it, though. And not that I take any issue with my heroines looking good while they’re kicking ass, but the way this film goes about it is just so… obvious.

    Definitely not bothering with it.

  • Ajillo

    When I saw the trailer, I thought, another crappy movie to add to the tens of thousands like it. My husband thought it looked neat.

  • blissfulslavery

    I’ve been seeing press and fanboy/girl adulation for this movie for about a year and a half now, and I still have no idea what it’s about other than scantily clad girls who are supposed to be “tough” and fight robots?

    My problem with the film industry in general, not just this film, is that the tough/kickass girls are typically either extremely sexified to show that tough can be sexy too, or ridiculously butch girls who try their damndest to act and look like guys so they can be accepted. Where is the middle ground? I know it exists, it’s been on TV; Zoe Washburne is a spectacular example of the kickass, strong woman who dresses appropriately for her job, and still manages to be very classy and feminine. Is it possible that Joss Whedon is the only person in the movie and television game clued into this kind of woman?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Emma-Jones/1539134495 Emma Jones

    I just don’t think it looks like a good movie. Yeah, you can talk about the exploitation of women, but saying you wouldn’t want to look hot while kicking some ass? I’m not saying bikini-clad ninja stuff, but I am most comfortable in my own skin, with very little on top of it. I’d say, either shorts or a skirt that doesn’t get in the way, and a tank-top… or, if I’m going to be armored, I’ll take biker-chick look any day… because that’s fucking hot.

  • http://twitter.com/thelambandtea The Lamb

    I’m trying to keep myself from speaking out against a movie I haven’t seen, but I also feel some blind rage whenever I see an ad for Sucker Punch.

    I could be okay with the overtly sexual nature of the story and appearance of the female cast… if the story was rich and layered with complex characters. That these characters are interesting people first and the fact that they’re cute girls is just icing on the cake.

    But I’ve seen Zack Snyder’s previous films, so I’m extremely doubtful in that being the case here.

    So far, he has been all flash and no substance, especially when it comes to female characters. It’s very impressive when you can take Watchmen and make Laurie even less of a character and more of an object, but he sure succeeded impressively in doing that.

    I’d be very happy to have Snyder prove me very wrong about Sucker Punch, though.

  • Serenitystowaway

    I recently read a book that took a different view on the female’s response to rape and degradation. Margo Lanagan’s “Tender Morsels” is a fantastic Young Adult novel with interesting characters set in world straddling brutal reality and empty fantasy. And it maaaaybe has what some of you ladies were looking for in terms of “the male antagonist getting humiliated and ripped apart in that way.”

  • mu

    I had the same problem with Kill Bill, but Sucker Punch, so far, isn’t bothering me that way. (It’s kinda all in the camera angles: I felt like the cinematography of Kill Bill was constantly saying to me “Look! loook at this woman’s ass! you like that!” and I just didn’t find the protagonist convincing. where as Sucker Punch says to me “She is cutting a robot in half with a sword!!!” and it has this sturdy impactful look)

    I feel like the whole big debate puts me in the middle of a fight where I don’t like either side. I hate the suggestion that female characters are only valuable for their looks, but I also do not like the implication that sexy looks invalidate the strengths of a female protagonist. I find it highly problematic to suggest that women who dress skimpy, look or want to look thin and pretty are less authentic or inherently un-feminist, but I also acknowledge that it’s crap for that look to be expected of women.

    I definitely don’t see it as a feminist piece, but unless bad things show up in the story, I have an over all positive feeling about it. In the wake of Twilight, there’s huge potential for a more serious effort on the part of the film industry to feature female main characters and target a female audience. It’s impossible to tell if a female audience was intended for Sucker Punch, especially through the advertising, but rumor has it Snyder broke rules to make a female centric film, and that alone has created a stir.

  • Monark48

    Until I see the movie I cannot make a judgement on how poorly Zach Snider has written his female protagonists. Trailers can be deceiving and this trailer gives little away concerning the story line and therefore does not supply the viewer with enough information on what this movie is truly about. The culprit here is marketing for this film, which is aimed squarely at the 15 to 30 year old male demographic and presents this film in a hyper sexualized context.

  • http://www.facebook.com/1shewolf JoAnna Luffman

    Agreed. My D&D games always have a very hot chick in them, except one time where the only mini that had a crow familiar was a over-dressed druid.

    I want to kick ass, and I want to look like sex on a stick while I do it. While my tastes don’t extend to my gender, I can easily appreciate a well formed ( or well ‘shopped) babe.

  • mu

    Can ask about it being “almost porn”? (If I can ask without challenging your feelings, and while expressing genuine confusion) What makes you say that?

    A lot of people have complained about the porn-iness, but I have to say, I really don’t see it. I do recognize the male gaze, and they are young women in less than modest dress, but saying it’s pornographic, to me, implies explicit sexual content, which I don’t see suggested. Maybe I have a stricter definition of porn, but even with a softer definition of porn, what makes this display of human bodies noteworthy in such a way?

  • Anonymous

    The trailer is so unilaterally awful in every respect – it’s amazing how the total can be less than the sum of its parts – that the movie does a few extra loops around the so-bad-it’s-good dial right into the Who Cares zone. Chances are, it’ll be forgotten in eight months and its only purpose will serve as a litmus test for potential dating partners.

    Is it a feminist movie? Not in any way whatsoever. Having female main characters only does not a feminist movie make. (Ironically, it may pass the Bechdel test, which, ha.) These ladies exist solely to assuage your fantasies – they’re objects, “characters” only by the base definition. Their only agency is granted by the male characters. Without having a male openly antagonize them as the inciting incident, there would be no story. When was the last time you sat around waiting for some guy to assault you so you could kick his ass? Exactly.

    So, are you a “bad feminist” for watching this movie? Not necessarily. It depends on whether you’re going “LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” whenever someone brings up a discussion involving kyriarchy and this movie. We can’t stop them from producing films like these, and a boycott won’t be effective. But discussion and analysis? Bring it on. And the sillier the movie, the more there is to discuss, I’ve found.

  • http://twitter.com/MightySquid Kate Falanga

    A difficult question to answer actually but I will give it a try. The old adage “I can’t describe it but I know it when I see it” somewhat applies but I realize that is a bit of a copout answer.

    Not knowing anything about the film than the trailer and the promotional images the main characters seem to be portrayed as sex objects rather than fully fleshed out characters. Much in the same way as some modern big budget sci-fi porn is. I don’t know if there are any actual sex acts in the film but it certainly implies that there are.

    Porn isn’t a bad thing when marketed for what it is (to the right age bracket). I believe the issue is the marketing is trying to suggest that the characters are strong female individuals who just happen to not be wearing very much but the images tell a different story. Scantily clad women with guns is a pretty popular mainstream porn fetish with or without explicit sexual acts. The film seems to be capitalizing on that fetish and pretending that it isn’t. I believe that’s the porn connection. At least to me.

  • Anonymous

    When I watched the animated short for this, I thought woah, this is awesome. Then as soon as the saw the normal advert with the stereotypical “sexy but bad” outfit, you just know it’s going to be a clichéd mess. It doesn’t fill me with rage, it just puts me off going to see the film. Gender stereotyping like this makes for boring films.

    My personal pet peeve with these mass produced characters is the unfeeling superman (often combined with the equally irritating wussy woman), a characters who can be found in any action film, and depressingly many many children’s films.

    Sometimes films use these to great effect though, Gran Torino played brilliantly on the superman character (I won’t ruin it by explaining how). IMO this is a nice example of how gender stereotypes can be turned on themselves.

    With regard to the rape scene in the in The Watchmen, the scene has a profound effect on a number of characters, in way that was vary rarely portrayed at the time the comic was written, so I don’t feel that it’s cheaply used. However I agree that this isn’t always the case.

  • http://carnivaloftherandom.blogspot.com Kristen McHugh

    There are problems with objectification in film. There are huge problems with the use of rape/abuse of women in films. There is also an over-victimizing treatment of women who are raped and abused, both in the real world and on film. Without seeing it, I’m not going to judge whether Sucker Punch is troubling. Wrap your mind around this: I am a rape survivor, who thinks hot women are awesome, and hot, ass-kicking women who are, (with my understanding of the premise,) FIGHTING BACK and WINNING. Being sexy or sexual, has nothing to do with whether or not someone can be or has been a victim, but saying that the act of presenting oneself as sexy or sexual is in conflict with having been victimized, is ridiculous. If you view it as a reclaiming act, it seems perfectly logical to me. I’m not going to reject Sucker Punch, sight unseen, but with Snyder’s handling of the treatment of, and strength of women in both 300 and Watchmen, I have no reason not to trust his ability to deliver a film in which yes, women are abused and objectified, as they are in the real world, every day – yet, where women are more than capable of reclaiming their power and their lives.

  • http://twitter.com/inbarati Xia Harris

    So, somehow, if a woman’s fantasy is kicking ass in a miniskirt, she’s not a feminist? Wow. While I’d like to see at least one of them in body armor, I have to disagree with you. Part of being a feminist is not falling for that slut shaming bullcrap too, y’know?

  • http://brightlywound.net Rachel

    I wish it were possible to enjoy eyecandy for eyecandy without it going against feminism, be it men with abs made out of a brick wall or girls in mini skirts and knee highs. Unrealistic? Hell yes. Artistic? Unf, yes.

  • Michelle

    I’m saying this without having seen the movie, but what if their costumes are meant as a means of them embracing their sexuality? You know, that sexuality that was violated in some form or fashion.

    And if we’re going to argue that rape or attempted rape scenes are a no-go for wanting revenge, then I guess that means Buffy is out (since Xander and Spike both attempted it), V for Vendetta is out, The Craft is out…the list is virtually endless.

    Other than murder or attempted murder, rape or attempted rape IS the most heinous violence that could happen to a woman. A mugging just isn’t going to release the same level of emotion, thus this is utilized as the “trigger” to emphasize why such a level of revenge is necessary (for lack of a better word).

    And by logic alone, revenge is typically taken when someone is abused and/or humiliated in some way. Without that element revenge would be irrelevant.

  • mu

    “the main characters seem to be portrayed as sex objects rather than fully fleshed out characters” can you elaborate on this point? What makes the characters look hollow to you?

    They are dressed sexy, but even their sexy outfits in their pin-up style posters show at least a creative theme, and suggest, to me, unique backgrounds and personalities. (SweetPea for example, has a neat looking broad sword, and sensible shoulder armor (not hugely sensible in the context of the whole outfit, but it’s not jutting out to the side for no reason or covered in ridiculous spikes) it could be a theme selected at random, but until I see the movie and get the full story, it looks to me like it’s going to fit with her back story and her character development)

    I think a character can embody fetish tropes and still be well rounded and complex. I’m reminded a lot of Major Motoko from Ghost in the Shell (it’s a manga/anime). Her main outfit is something like a bathing suit and a jacket, but she’s not a stereotypical woman, and while not explicitly related, the show explores the relationship she has with her cyborg body in interesting ways. There’s also Wonder Woman, which had some significant bondage fetish themes, at least in the early days.

  • http://twitter.com/biancachez Bianca Chesimard

    Good notes, but I think I will watch it before I judge it. It may be awful, but maybe not. And I don’t really have a problem with the pin up looks of the girls in and of itself. .

  • VampireZombeh

    I agree. It seems as though the author is in denial. Rape is real. It happens. It sucks that this is a world in which that happens, but still it happens. The scene in Watchmen was uncomfortable, and I’m sure that is the point. It initiates a drastic change in the characters and their futures.

  • http://twitter.com/hbflyte hbflyte

    I always thought feminism was about being able to choose who you are as a woman, outside AND inside your head.

  • http://www.thechildhealthsite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1 Edcedc8

    yep. I won’t be seeing this 13 year old boy’s wet dream.

  • http://www.thechildhealthsite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1 Edcedc8

    lesbian schoolgirls: the new Gloria Steinem!

  • http://twitter.com/kalsangikid Katrina

    Zack Snyder has actually gone on record with Entertainment Weekly on the subject of Sucker Punch’s wardrobe and makeup:

    Sucker Punch may look like it gets salacious kicks from women in titillating getups, but Snyder says his intention was to make a movie about the very subject of female objectification. The look of Babydoll (Emily Browning) was designed to be ”the personification of innocence and vulnerability,” says Snyder, causing the skeevy men in the movie to both target her and underestimate her. ”The women in the movie take control of the sexual trappings foisted upon them, even turn [that iconography] into their own weapons. The challenge was to confront the concept of exploitation of women without creating exploitative imagery. My approach was to shoot the action the way I’d shoot any kind of action in any film, whether the subject was male or female.”

    source: http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20474245,00.html#20924748

    I’m now interested in seeing the movie just to see if he succeeds.

  • ladykaiju

    I won’t be seeing this because it is a load of crap, like the films made in this mold before it. On the feminist note, I thought the point of Suckerpunch was that the reader/viewer is submerged into the fantasy world of these girls and their overt sexuality and extremism is a result of their abuse, hence the schoolgirl uniforms and like ilk. Being trapped in real life also traps you in your dreams. derp.

    Our power is in our weaknesses.

  • mu

    It’s trickier than that when we’re talking about fictional characters constructed, largely, by men. A character designed and dressed a certain way is open to more criticism than an individual making her own decisions to dress and act a particular way.

    I think there was a split second in the t.v. spot where SweetPea was wearing more of a suit of armor, but it moves to fast, and it’s definitely not a focus of the ad campaign. They do get that awesome looking mecha-tank with the bunny face.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jadisnd Jadis DeHere

    I’m usually the first person to eye roll the outfits they have women wear in action movies but Sucker Punch is different. I see this as the ultimate Mary Sue movie. In their fantasy world, they wear skimpy outfits while kicking ass because in all honesty, a lot of women would fantasize themselves as being insanely hot with the cute outfit to match. They don’t need to have body armor or anything practical like that. Since even in the context of the movie none of that is real, it makes more sense than the outfits that any given girl in a comic wears.

  • http://twitter.com/LDG22381 Melissa E.

    I love it when the feminasties come out swinging.

    Disclaimer: I’m not at all against feminists, but I enjoy hearing from women who want other women to be powerful without dismissing that women can also be sexy and that’s their choice. For example, the feminasties that whine about women who work at Hooters annoy me to no end.

    Zoe Chevat is such a hypocrite. If you go on the same blog this article is posted on and look at the “artwork”, there’s scantily clad women there, too. Also, her only completed comic has no strong female figure – she puts a young boy in the warrior role while a woman lays pregnant in a bed. Oh, is that all women are good for, Zoe – making babies? Give me a break!

    I’m gonna go see Sucker Punch and I’ll be the first one in line the day it premieres and I’ll be in the front row. Feminasties be damned!

  • http://nympholepsy.tumblr.com nympholepsy

    I’m a rape survivor. I’m going to see this movie at least twice.

    “Moreover, the petite bloodthirsty girly-girls of Sucker Punch still bare their midriffs and cleavages even in what is supposedly their own fantasy scenarios. Maybe I’m alone here, but when I am imagining myself kicking some high-fantasy ass, it’s sheathed in the sort of Kevlar weave, full-body armor that would put a Nolan-verse Batman to shame. Leather hot-pants, after all, have a tendency to ride up when one is jumping out of bomber jets into frenzied combat.” Awesome for you! However, I’m gonna say fuck it and wear a chainmail bikini. Why? Because it’s MY fantasy, which means any expression of sexuality that occurs in it is outside of the male gaze (although potentially influenced by it, but as a gay woman, I’m not particularly concerned about pleasing men) and owned and controlled by me, a woman. Also in my fantasy kickass scenario my fake leather hot pants aren’t gonna ride up, because they’re fake. I am not Batman. I don’t want to be Batman.

    Obviously part of this is moot because a man conceived and directed this movie, and the characters, not being real, had their wardrobe decided by a man. However, I see it as an opportunity for reclamation. Men conceived a lot of things I embrace as a part of my sexuality, after all. Sexuality is a part of my life–a huge part of it–and I am not a ~bad feminist~ for consuming media like this. I am also not a ~bad feminist~ for watching and getting off to porn or wearing corsets or stripping.

    And not to get all choose-your-choice feminism, but I find it really gross when people go on and on about how such-and-such thing is bad because there are women “baring their midriffs and cleavages”. At what point does an outfit become too sexy to be feminist? When you can see cleavage? How much cleavage? How much leg is acceptable to show? Am I unfeminist if I wear a short skirt? What if I wear hot pants to do yoga in? Wearing something thinner and skimpier allows me greater flexibility and agility–that’s why I jog in spandex, not jeans. Am I unfeminist if I try to look cute when I work out, not because I’m concerned about pleasing men but because I might stumble across a cute girl I’d want to impress? “Bare their midriffs and cleavages,” “I don’t think that it’s healthy for young girls to see”? Slut-shaming much?

  • L.

    Do I 100% believe Snyder’s comments that the outfits are there to cause the antagonists to underestimate the girls? Not necessarily. That’s surely not the only reason.

    Do I realize if you’re going to do an extremely stylized action movie with a female protagonist, she’s probably going to be dressed sexily? Yes.

    Look at the greased up torsos and torn shirts on the male leads in action movies. If they’ve ever got a shirt on, it’s likely testing the limits of its elasticity. These movies are at least 90% about adrenaline, and frankly sex is a part of it. Both sides get their fair share of objectification in action films.

    Frankly it doesn’t bother me that they’re dressed that way. I thought the whole point of feminism was that women can accomplish the same things as men and don’t have to be defined by or shamed by their sexuality. Some girls want to sex it up in their fantasies, it’s not a big deal.

    I’ll probably add it to my NetFlix queue.

  • Anonymous

    We live in a sex obsessed culture. (I shouldn’t need to point out any obvious examples to prove this.) Thus, these babes look hot, so more people will buy tickets. Business is business.

  • Nicole Hazen

    I’m done with movies who use rape/abuse as a “starter” for the character (male or female) being badass. There are plenty of ways to make a badass character develop and abuse doesn’t have to be the ignition. It’s used way too often and is lazy writing if you ask me.

    But rape in movies is way way way over used.

    I won’t be seeing this.

  • Cirulian

    I’m confused. Are we not supposed to be outraged by rape then? And is the problem actually that women should be reacting violenty to other things. Because, yeah, that’s what we need. More violence.
    It’s a movie about someone that has lost control of a situation taking it back, any way she can, even if it means just in her own mind.
    And PS, how can rape be overused in movies if it happens so much less frequenlty that it does in real life? Rape and what it really means, that it’s also about power, is not addressed enough. I mean, some dumb ass representative wanted to make it a LAW that rape victims had to refered to as accusers and not as victims. (But if you get mugged, you’re still a victim. House robbed? Victim. Car stolen? Victim. Raped? Accuser.) So, excuse me if I’m insulted that the person that doesn’t want anyone to see this movie is upset because it’s about a girl fucking kicking ass after someone thought they could take all her power away.

  • Ninfanwill

    While I don’t really enjoy the use of rape in a film to justify a female characters motive for revenge, wouldn’t that be the most terrible thing that could happen to a woman? If they kidnapped her dog and she slaughtered the entire group it wouldn’t make much sense. If they have been abusive or raped her than there is no punishment that is great enough to equal the pain of the female character.

    What would you suggest as an alternative to someone being beaten or raped? They made fun of her? They broke into her house? In order to make the revenge portion of a flick powerful the reason for revenge should be just as powerful.

    I enjoyed 300 even though it had just about every girl I know drooling over the hard ripped abs and bulging biceps that seemed to fill almost every scene in the movie. Here we have the male equivalent of scantily dressed girls fighting giant robots and dragons and whatever the hell else Snyder is planning on throwing at us. I never understand why it’s so wrong for women to portrayed as sexy. I wish someone would portray me as a well muscled guy!

    I happen to have a young daughter and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that she understands that you don’t have to look a certain way in life. That may be easier in my household when I’m the last person everyone expects to see dropping his two kids off at school. Maybe if parents spent more time making their children realize that they don’t have to look like anyone (or everyone) else or be a certain body type than the world wouuld be a better place.

    Marketing is marketing and it will always be full of unrealistic portrayals of both men and women. I don’t know many men who are ripped like we’re constantly portrayed in the media and I don’t know many women who fit into a size 0 (something I find personally moronic since 0 shouldn’t be a freaking size in the first place.) I do know plenty of guys who love a sexy looking girl and plenty of girls who love a well built man. It doesn’t make me think less of them or the things that appeal to them.

  • Anonymous

    I like attractive women who kick butt, and I’m not about to apologize for that.

  • Nicole Hazen

    I don’t believe anyone was asking you to.

  • Nicole Hazen

    I’m assuming this was in response to my comment?

    I’m an abuse survivor. First off, I’m sick of having to get others to see movies for me to make sure if there is a rape scene, it’s not done for the sexual aspect of it. There is no denying that no matter how “awesome” the person is after the rape, the rape is sometimes used as the sexual draw of the film. I find this disgusting.

    Second, yes, rape is almost always what is used in movies to make a character “take that extra step.” No one is saying we shouldn’t be outraged over rape. But seriously? Is that what you see when you see the trailer for Sucker Punch? A movie about the empowerment of women after being a victim? I saw scantily clad girls cutting up robots or something and oh by the way, they don’t want to cut up robots until they are raped. I was excited to see this, till I heard yet again, abuse was used as a character changer.

    Third the argument about us not needing more violence is basically a straw man. You are ok with the violence as long as it’s in revenge for a sexual attack but say they were beaten up instead, can they have violence then? What about if they were kidnapped? Violence ok then? This is what I’m getting at: There are plenty of shitty situations to put people in to make them fight for their “power” back. They could have been creative. To me (opinion) it looks like yet another cookie cutter movie.

    Anyway, chill out. No one is jumping your shit because you want to see it. Go for it! I don’t think less of someone who wants to, no reason to get upset.

  • Emily

    I’m an educated feminist, and I have a problem with Sucker Punch as well, though it’s not the same problem. It doesn’t bother me that she kicks ass while looking sexy. It DOES bother me that she kicks as…in a little sailor suit. There’s almost nothing more pedophilic. The idea that this girl was abused by her stepfather, and in order to escape her abuse is using the EXACT SAME TROPES is what disgusts me. She’s buying into the system that’s vicitimized her in the first place–it suggests that no mater what she does, she can’t escape. She’s a victim, or she’s powerful, but either way she’s a childish sex object.

    And here, as I see it, is the difference between female revenge stories and their male equivalents: In female revenge stories, the heroine is always the victim. She’s been raped or abused, and is now turning the tables on her own victimhood. In male revenge stories, very rarely is the male a victim. Usually, he’s taking revenge on someone who did something terrible TO HIS WOMAN. Other than the Count of Monte Cristo, I’m hard-pressed to find a counter-example.

  • Alyfox

    So, if I go to this movie, and I enjoy it, does that mean I am anti-feminist? I only ask, because anti-feminism is not something to be wishy-washy about. You can’t really say, “You know, maybe it’s just my opinion, but I think this movie hates women.” Because you see it, it’s there? And if I don’t see it, does that make me ignorant?
    Honestly, I am just asking.

  • Nicole Hazen

    I don’t think the movie says anything about hating women. No idea where you got that from. I just think rape/sexual abuse is overused and lazy writing.

    Like I said, I wanted to see it till the same ol’ story crap popped up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Estefania-Rodriguez/500585905 Estefania Rodriguez

    Wow….repressed O_O
    Just because you are a girl doesn’t mean you have to be a feminist. You don’t have to bring down the “man” just to prove your point. Honestly.. this article just seems stupid to me.
    It looks like a good movie, great cast, most of those women that I have seen before are really talented, I’m interested in the story, and the visual effects looks flawless and amazing.

    It’s about pop culture, not feminism.

  • Chandlerscott2005

    There’s no way you’re not single and own a lot of cats.

  • Ironicmoniker

    Is feminism about portraying women in a specific way or is it about women being able to decide, individually, exactly how they want to be or are willing to be portrayed? I also think that deciding the entire narrative of a film must be a sexist mess from watching a trailer is jumping the shark. Sex sells. Trailers are attempts to sell movies. The number of films whose trailers don’t actually represent the film with any actual legitimacy is probably into the four or five digit realm.

    Maybe it is a sexist film, and you’ve a right to your opinion in that. On the other hand, I’d suggest that any specifically predisposed idea of what is and is not “feminist” is in a complete contrast to what is actually probably best for women, and is a more actually liberating feminism, which is to allow women, as much as men, to adopt and inherit whatever role or image THEY want, individually. Though there is definitely a history of objectification of women that men haven’t experienced, an actual equality would suggest that like men, women can be, present, act (within reasonably lawful standards) as they see fit. If a man is attractive, and uses that to his advantage, especially in Hollywood, no one holds it against him. Let’s face it, Brad Pitt’s a pretty good actor, but none of us would know that if there hadn’t been breasts across the country heaving and sweating over him in the early part of his career. And, if we’re really being honest, George Clooney and Ben Affleck have both proven to be creatively strong people in their own rights, having even directed a few really great films… but none of that would be true if they hadn’t attracted enough female attention to put butts in seats and sell magazines. Why shouldn’t females do the same? And women have been one of the only growing forces in the market place. There have been more and more films directed at a female audience than at any other time before. I’d bet that if that trend continues, what we’ll actually get is a much wider variety of female archetypes, and many of those may not fit the traditionally feminist role, because now, I think younger women see feminism as being able to be themselves, regardless of any of the rest of it, including what other people believe is “feminist.”

  • Marabelle

    Well, you’re missing the point. If you don’t see something, and you judge it before you do, you’re worse off than you could be if you got enlightened. I am seeing it, and my fanatic brain aside I actually know things about the cast and they would not subject themselves to being demeaned. This is nothing demeaning. Women are allowed to look sexy and that’s the point. It seems YOU don’t like that. There is a difference between looking sexy and kicking ass vs selling their bodies and then murdering the guys and whining to their boyfriends to come save them.

    Now THAT would be pathetic, but there are no romance roles whatsoever in the movie which is one thing that amazes me for sure.

  • Alyfox

    Thank you for the response, although I wasn’t taking “hate” from you specifically, and maybe it is a strong word. My comment/post is in response to the ARTICLE, not to you. The title of the article says “and you shouldn’t either”. However, it is not a huge leap from “this guy/movie/book/ uses women/puts women through abuses/objectifies women” to “doesn’t respect women” to “hates women”. Maybe it’s a leap to some, but I don’t think it’s a huge one. So Nicole, all due respect, I was asking the question to the author of the article: if a movie offends you in some aspect, does that mean I offend you if I don’t pick up on the same thing?
    Definitely an interesting topic, no offense intended.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550724474 Thomas Forsythe

    Hold back your judgment on the film until you listen to the brilliant diatribes of Jena Malone (she plays Rocket in the film) in the Women Who Kick Ass panel at Comic Con 2010. She was poignant, insightful, and quickly launched herself to the top of my favorite feminists list. You can watch the whole thing on youtube here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqHQCF4nJ6E&feature=related

  • Pdr

    You’re not recognizing this film for what it’s intended to be:

    A popcorn fan-boy flick for WoW nerds.

    That being said I say hold your judgments until you’ve seen the movie. Remember, advertising is usually very specific and only shows people a glimpse of what the movie is really about. They use action & sex to “sucker you in”.

    Unless you see the film, you’re just another person judging a book by it’s cover.

    As for exploitation: No one in this movie was forced to do anything, but plenty of women exploit themselves without the help of men.

    And finally, not being able to publicly address, talk about or depict rape, sexual assault or any other kind of abuse is just as bad as denying its existence. Not talking about it doesn’t make it go away. The more we know about it hopefully the less it will happen.

  • Nicole Hazen

    Oh none taken. It was my bad for phrasing my comment like the question was directed at me. I should have been clear that I was just responding in general.

    No worries! Unicorns and rainbows for all! =)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Benjamin-Eugene-NElson/659451790 Benjamin Eugene NElson

    I’m not saying you’re wrong.. but you’re going to condemn this movie before you even see it?

    Trailers lie after all.

    Just saying.

  • Shrugged

    When did Xander attempt rape?

    Seriously, I can’t remember that ever happening.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Agreeing with your final statement… but that’s probably because I’m somewhat of a sadist.

    Also, it’s happening (and I realise I may sound like a promo worker for Starz); check out Spartacus. Crixus, Varro, Pietros and Gannicus are all abused and humiliated in a variety of ways, along with some other minor characters.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    It happens a lot more in fiction, and certainly in fanfiction… some fic readers and writers are sick, twisted bunnies.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Hyena Xander (The Pack), perhaps? I can’t remember that one brilliantly well. Also not sure if he tried to kill Spike upon Spike’s return from Africa, if that was what was meant.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Wow that’s a lot of comments… you people are keeping me from going to bed!

    I’ve not seen the longer trailer, or clips or actually read very much about Sucker Punch (I didn’t even realise it was a Snyder flick until I read this post)… but I really want to see it. Even now I know what it’s actually about.

    I thought it was just a silly hard-chick-kicks-fantasy-ass film, but now it actually sounds reasonably good. I won’t be going to the cinema (because I’m not a millionaire), but I’ll add it to my DVD list… I’ll come back and make a more informed post when I’ve, you know, actually seen the damn film >_>

    As for all the sexploitation and rape comments; has anyone seen Bitch Slap? Comments?

  • SuckMyDick

    Why am I reading this? I have a dick.

  • http://writingmakesrich.blogspot.com JaneR

    I actually don’t agree with some of your comments. When I’m fantasizing about kicking ass, I don’t imagine myself wearing Kevlar. Why would I? It’s my fantasy world, I don’t need Kevlar, because I’m not going to get hurt. I’m that badass in my imaginary world (by which I totally mean I’m that badass in real world too! :P) Sometimes, when fighting an entire pack of werewolves I’ll get hurt, in the arm, or if I’m feeling adventurous in the leg, but that’s only because it’s good if after a difficult fight the hero is somewhat bloody.

    But as I rewind my fantasy scenarios… Jeans and Tshirt, but no Kevlar. I fought in PJs once, but it’s because it was night and the vampires took me by surprise.

  • Moshilee

    So…have you actually seen the movie? These are very large opinions to voice merely based on a 3 minute trailer. Hey, I’m as feminist as the next woman but shouldn’t you at least see the movie before you judge it and keep an open mind? We must remember that trailers pick out the bits that are eye catching to the audience and create buzz about the movie and sex sells. So maybe we should all actually watch the movie before slating it?

  • Anonymous

    I keep hearing the term “feminism”. Feminism died the minute progressive females decided to apply a double standard depending on politics. Feminists no longer have one ounce of credibility.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7LNX5K7I6LPTJUO5FQVEH5E5GE Eric Mackin

    I really tried to read this article seriously, but all I could hear was, WHAAAA!!!!! This is not FAIR to women!!!!! WHAAA!!!!! I have a feeling that the author of this post does not look like the main characters of this movie and might be a bit on the jealous side and now is trying to spin this movie as a anti-female. Go see the movie and make your own opinions. Some women might find it empowering to see strong female leads on the silver screen. Some might find it offensive. However, I could say with quite a bit of assurance, that the women who see this movie who have the same psychical attributes of the stars will like this movie and emulate the style. The ones who don’t, will not.

  • Crawford

    “On the other hand, it would be interesting to see a few good films where the male protagonist is humiliated that much initially. ”

    Die Hard.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    And you’re clearly thinking with it. Not only did you read something you didn’t want to, you then wasted more time in commenting.

    Well at least you gave me a cynical little giggle.

  • Squidgee

    I have to admit I read the article here and I was thinking ‘Yeah, I’m a woman and why should I be objectified? Yeah!’ but then I remembered, it’s Zack Snyder. Honestly, what were you expecting? Before I saw the trailer, I was expecting, explosions, kick-ass fight scenes, scantily clad everybody (not just the girls) and weird men. I saw all of that, it met all of my expectations and I was still thinking ‘Hells yeah, I wanna see this!’

    In entertainment, it is very hard to create an empowered female character that can’t be criticised from a feminist stand point. If she’s sexy and strong, then she’s some male dominatrix fantasy and if she’s not, if she dresses sensibly and fights aggressively, then we women moan about how it could’ve just been a man in that characters place. Whenever I play Mass Effect (and I do, a lot) I love female Shepard. She is strong, appropriately clothed, and excellently voice acted (the male voice is lacking, I find. Rock on Jennifer Hale!). But she is still designed as a male character, her character sits like a man and her voice options are only different if in the romance dialogues.

    My other issue is with the argument of using abuse as a catalyst for change. I’m pretty sure abuse in some form or another is the catalyst for a dramatic change in anybody. Heck, look at Dexter as a character (although I haven’t seen further than season 2)! As far as I can tell whilst he has a supportive upbringing, he also experiences a form of psychological abuse. And why, in the fantasies, might they be scantily clad? Well, perhaps, if you have been sexually abused, you might feel ashamed of your body and cover it up, or frightened that if you bare too much someone may try to take advantage. So showing not-quite-all might be a way to take back the power of the female form. That’s also something feminists like to reject. There is a lot of power held in the female form, patriarchal society made it that way, we suffer the Gaze not only from heterosexual men, but jealous women and even homosexual men who recognise the power it holds. And aren’t men being subject (if only slightly) to objectification? Superman, good-looking and brave. Where’s the true geek hero? The one who cowers in the corner and isn’t miraculously stereotypically good-looking when he removes his spectacles?

    I could go on all day, but unfortunately I need to pack to move house. My point is, whilst feminism is a worthwhile pursuit, it can be taken too far. I pick what parts of a character to be inspired by and which parts to ignore, well tut at. Everything is bound up in loops and cycles and perceptions and if you try to unpick it all, well, you just might go mad.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Yup, just watched The Pack. Xander tries to rape Buffy. He gets as far as sexual assault and then it cuts out. We return to Buffy dragging him, unconscious, into the library and telling Willow that she hit him with a desk.

  • Anonymous

    “I would argue that all of Snyder’s movies are exploitive on both sides of the gender divide”

    …Legend of the Guardians…

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    “Where’s the true geek hero? The one who cowers in the corner and isn’t miraculously stereotypically good-looking when he removes his spectacles?”

    Rory!

    Of the latest season of Doctor Who? I’d say the Doctor himself, but he’s hardly a coward. It’s hard to come up with, like, a cowardly hero figure :P

    Daniel Jackson (Stargate)? Niko Tatopolous (Godzilla)? Jackie Chan? Wash? Spock and Bones McCoy? Hank McCoy? Niles Crane (lol, my train of thought is so obvious here)? Elim Garak and Bashir? Data? Jonathan (The Mummy)? Jonathan and Xander (Buffy)? Gil Grissom? Dave Lister or even Arnold Rimmer (yes, some women find Rimmer attractive… go figure)? Iolaus and Joxer (Herc and Xena… I suppose you could throw The Chin in there as well; Autolycus)? Charlie (Numb3rs… or David Krumholtz in anything)? Sherlock (not Downey Jr’s Holmes, Cumberbatch’s Sherlock)? Dirk Gently? Blackadder (pick a number)? Lupin… something or other, I don’t like Harry Potter… he’s played by David Thewlis (Dragonheart, The Big Lebowski, Seven Years in Tibet)? Richard E Grant’s The Scarlet Pimpernel? Stark (Farscape)?

    Now I’m just running along my DVD collection… which is hedging its way back in time beyond the 80′s and into the 50s and 60s (tell me Danny Kaye and Jim Dale were stereotypical good looking, even for their times, and I’ll fall off my chair… never mind Stan Laurel and Kenneth Connor).

    While none of them could be described as ugly or even funny looking (hello Steve Buscemi… you bizarrely attractive fellow), they’re not exactly chisel jawed, macho types.

    I’m not a big perv, honest!

    Huh, not many non-white guys in that list…

  • http://profiles.google.com/hzg.lauren Hillary Lauren

    Nicole– I’m really sorry to hear that you are an abuse survivor. I imagine that anyone seeing what was (or is) a horrible, terrifying experience in their reality being used in a film as a plot device and ‘entertainment’ would be frustrating.

    I think rape or sexual abuse is often used as a revenge reason because it is pretty exclusively associated with women as the victim. Who says there couldn’t be a powerful female political leader who is framed, publicaly humiliated, striped of her power and put into prison? That is a plot that is much more original in terms of female lead roles.

    Now a general comment–After reading the comments about how the character is sexualized with her costume and then watching the trailer for the first time… I can’t say I agree (and I thought I would agree before watching, because it is all too common). I think the costume is tame compared to other female leads who are sexualized, as in a lot of video games. There are no shots (in the trailer at least) of DD breast cleavage or panties–the main character is actually pretty reasonable and more ‘cute’ than ‘sexy.’

    Media portrayal of females and sexuality is obviously worth talking about, and there are a lot of cases to point to where certain stereotypes are way too common. Would I like to see more kick-ass female characters that didn’t have to be sexualized in order to be an awesome person? Hell yes.

    However, the trailer gave me the impression that this movie is about finding the power and courage within one’s self to fight back against situations in our lives that we find oppressive, humiliating, scary, etc. It is done through violence in the film (being a fantasy/action film), but the point is nonetheless encouraging and empowering, I think. I’m curious to find out if I will still feel that way after viewing the film.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sphyre Jenna M. Pitman

    “Using rape or other forms of sexualized physical abuse to elicit audience outrage is a cheap trick.”

    Hear, fucking, hear! I am SO tired of pop culture, and even non-pop culture films, books, and games, using rape as a plot device. “It’s ok because she gets revenge!” I’m sorry, that’s bullshit. We need to start showing rape like it REALLY is. And get rid of the angry survivor myth. And the violent rape myth.

    And Zach Snyder, while he shows us hunks, has a lot of violence against women in his films.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sphyre Jenna M. Pitman

    With the exception of Buffy rape is hardly ever presented in a realistic way and the “revenge” is never handled in a realistic way. I challenge you to read/watch/play books/films/tv/games for the next year featuring ONLY female protagonists. The amount of times they are raped, or female characters around them are raped, is staggering. And the amount of times it handled as it should be is also mind boggling. It’s a plot device writers who haven’t experienced it will throw out there and after the “revenge” is had life is all better. Like somehow the only option to rape is going and hurting someone and any other option isn’t ok. And the only rapes that happen are violent. While it does work, it IS massively lazy and incredibly overused AND misused.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sphyre Jenna M. Pitman

    Personally, I have nothing wrong with women looking hot while they kick ass. I write about women like that and I read about women like that. But I DO get sick of woman warriors CONSTANTLY being in super sexy, tiny skirts, midriff baring shirts, etc. They are FIGHTING! Against people with SHARP POINTY THINGS and GUNS! There’s a reason why armor was created and it’s just gross that no one seems to think women need it (I do joke that in fantasy, horror, and sf the level of a woman’s armor is directly proportionate to how little clothes she is wearing. Ergo, pasties and a g-string would make her invulnerable!) But really, women CAN be sexy and attractive wearing practical armor that would do them good. Look up pictures if you don’t believe me.

    And while I don’t think that this one movie is to blame for that, I do get the OPs frustration with a culture that writes it off as “how strong women kicking ass should dress.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/sphyre Jenna M. Pitman

    PS: Screw the haters, you’re saying what needs to be said. We need more strong women out there who AREN’T being objectified. You can still be hot, you can still be sexy, and you can still be damned attractive while being a lot more than a pretty body on screen. Thank you for writing this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sphyre Jenna M. Pitman

    Maybe you should look at the motivations they use to make MEN badasses and think about applying those to women.

    You’ve spent five paragraphs ignoring the fact that men are never shown to be victims of sexual assault and yet films, tv, books and games have no troubles coming up with ways to make women badasses. We got Ripely without her being raped, why can’t we see more women like that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/inkybrushes Sarah Elena Supik

    Yes, I’m offended by the trailers I’ve seen…but not for the reason that seems to be the focus of discussion here. I have no problem with women dressing sexily. In fact, it’s awesome. Feminism and sexy clothing don’t have to be mutually exclusive, you know. Sure, in real life, I’d want to be wearing some body armour or some shit like that if I’m fighting. Because, you know, I don’t want a sword/bullet/knife/whatever being plunged into my vital organs ’cause I just had to show off my cleavage. However, this movie isn’t even trying to pretend this is a real life battle. It’s a straight up FANTASY. Get over the clothing thing. Like you never wanted to kick some jerk-off’s ass while looking hotter than hell.

    The thing that offends me about the movie (and which I feel deserves more attention) is that the female characters seem to be portrayed as intellectually vapid, babyish, and have horribly stilted, cliched dialogue. Now I haven’t seen it yet, but from the looks of the trailer, the writer obviously didn’t even bother to focus on the character development of the girls beyond “Oh noes, I’m so weak and helpless and innocent and you raped me, and my little brain can’t handle it! But now I’ll get revenge on you, because I finally found a reason to be strong!” With this tired, sexist, old trope in play, minus the character development, the girls DO become little more than poorly named (Babydoll? Sweetpea? GIVE ME A BREAK) pretty bodies backflipping with samurai swords. And that’s a problem. Women being portrayed as fluffy sexpots with matching fluff for brains.

  • Limewarrior

    Unfortunately, people are willing to condemn this movie based on a trailer. This goes for all these haters and the author of this post as well: watch the movie before you rant about it. I’m not saying it will change your mind, but you are all seriously misinformed by the trailer.

    This movie was the most refeshingly “feminist” movie I have seen in a while. I’m not sure i should use the word “feminist” because it is better than that.

    This movie is very burlesque. The reason they are kicking ass in skimpy clothes is because they are an unwilling part in a risque show for men. In order to defeat these men they take ownership of their situation and attempt to escape.

    Watch the movie, then we will discuss its faults.

  • Laura

    I just saw the film this afternoon, and though I honestly was going to see Jon Hamm be attractive in anything he does (in the end, all I got were about two and a half dashing minutes of his fine visage), but what I got was a rather brutal look at the manner in which we vindicate ourselves after surviving tremendous heartrbreak. I was abused as a teenager, and even though I have overcome it, I have to admit the rape scene (which is done in montage in the first five-minutes) is pitch-perfect.

    MINOR SPOILERS, but it is only an attempted rape–and in this way Snyder actually discusses what is most devastating about sexual abuse and objectification: the sense of betrayal, of being helpless and wronged and feeling simultaneously completely alone and trapped.

    It could be said that the confusing, sometimes ridiculous mess that follows that opening scene is some sort of extended metaphor for the tremendous task of making sense of one’s life in the aftermath of sexual abuse, but I don’t think that Zack “remove-the-giant-octopus-but-keep-the-obvious-CGI-purple-cat-in-Watchmen” Snyder is quite that calculating.

    Nevertheless, for as absurd as the following two hours are, the first five minutes of Sucker Punch stays with you, and forces you to admit that you were, in fact, unprepared.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jake-Mulligan/578612239 Jake Mulligan

    I don’t know what was more “surprising”: the fact that a feminist is decrying a movie she hasn’t seen, or the fact that the circular dribble of words you called a column was written by a graduate student. Although I think I knew your opinion on film was irrelevant when you said “Kill Bill” was cool “except for the exploitation”… the film is a 4 hour tribute to exploitation films of all kind. There isn’t a second of that film that isn’t exploiting something, that’s the whole damn point. Are us college kids today so self-satisfied that we review films without seeing them?

  • http://www.facebook.com/RoamingSoul Chad Hooper

    Lets be honest, though I love the Ghost in the shell anime I’ve seen, I think the main girls sexuality plays differently for me then the people it was made by(Translation can only do so much). I’ve seen a few anime shows and there is a comment I heard explaining some of the busty women in them. In short you get guys to watch more if you have jiggly boobies. It explains rather a lot of the close up action scenes in such shows even if the writer can make good use of such a character(which they do very well in Ghost in the Shell). I’ve defended 7 of 9 in Star Trek Voyager a few times but the other day I saw how much that costume clung to her butt and it looked like she could’ve worn a g string on top of it. She was a sex symbol, meant to draw attention because sex sells and every now and then they had a good episode with her as the main character. Since this looks more like a hot action film please remember women have as much reason to enjoy say ‘Tomb Raider’ and any guy has to enjoy a James Bond film(especially since Jolie’s guy in that first one was the most recent Bond).
    When it looks like dumb fun… don’t over think it, even if you personally have read the same story a hundred times excluding anything not original gets as dull as a completely unoriginal story. Remakes wouldn’t exist if we didn’t occasionally enjoy revisiting a story.

  • Binder236

    Something tells me you are simply confused about your role in society and struggle with it publicly. Just be careful of calling yourself a feminist because then that struggle will exist as long as you call yourself that. Sometimes it never goes away and you go around being mad at men and never growing up. You arent saving the world with this blog, you can only save yourself. This might make others think but it will also make others think negatively rather than positively. If you want to help I suggest going deeper with your posts and stop complaining, so that you can stop creating more opposition for yourself. Look at the physiology and psychology of men and women and consider all the realities and possibilities. As it is a blog like this is only about creating more confusion rather than solving the perceived problem. I think if you solved it, you wouldnt feel the need to post any more. It sounds off base but trust me, these issues have always existed and will always exist somewhere. They exist because we cant all be wise out of the gate. There have been societies that were considered savage that considered women equal to men, yet at the same time women in those societies took care of the children. And they didnt view it as oppression, it was an honor to feed and nurture ones family. I think thats why women compete so harshly. They all want to nurture so badly that they want to be the dominant nurturer. ANYWAY, ill leave all that with you.

  • http://tinypinkrobots.smackjeeves.com Rori

    That’s cool that everyone’s talking about this and all, and honestly the discussion is more interesting than the article…but MarySue couldn’t find someone to write an article that had SEEN the movie? You don’t even have to pay for it, they usually have a critics screening and numerous freebies for these mega-bucks films. Since when is this considered in the realm of professional to review something without experiencing it? That’s just your personal blog crap, or a tweet. And don’t we sassy internet people usually make a buttload of fun of people who do that?

    I just found this site, and I’m really enjoying it. I hope this isn’t something that happens on a regular basis.

  • Westley

    SPOILER ALERT: Just got back from the film. I agree with you that in Zack Snyder’s film, there is a lot of violence towards women, but this film seems to counter all that. There is not a single male in this movie that is a good guy. The women in the movie are orphans who are placed in an insane asylum, which the head person is using as a front for an illegal burlesque house. The women aren’t nearly as objectified that is portayed in the posters. For being a burlesque, Zack Snyder shows absolutely no dancing, no sexual advances. Whenever there is a dance scene (the main character is SO GOOD as it, she hypnotizes all the men), you are instantly transported to Babydoll’s fantasy world where she is doing nothing but killing men. It’s all part of a unique storytelling explaining how the women plan to escape the asylum.

    Rape/sexual abuse is flirted with, but is never shown in this film. We have no idea why they are all in the asylum, but what we do know they are trapped by the male objectification of women and are seeking to break out.

    I feel that judging a book by its cover (or in this case, a movie and it’s trailer) is poor form. You don’t have to see it, but I don’t think you have a right to spark a feminist discussion off of it if you have no idea what it’s about.

  • fuckityfuckfuck

    Jesus Christ you are all worthless.

  • Dougie

    The thing is this–many male geeks are just big submissives. They’re scared of/don’t understand women and fantasize about being dominated by a tough (but always smoking hot) chick. And luckily for them, modern pop culture mistakes their dominatrix wank fantasies for bold feminist statements so they can pretty much run with them to their heart’s content. But at the end of the day a lot of this “strong female” stuff is as rooted in male fantasy as the helpless maidens of yesteryear. If you enjoy it, that’s fine. You’re entitled to it. It just bugs me when people hail this kind of exploitative nonsense as “feminist” because somewhere behind a curtain, the horny fanboy responsible is wanking furiously to his creation and saying “yeah, feminism! That’s it, I’m a feminist!”

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Dude, read all the comments before you lump us under the same banner as the OP.

    Also, get some balls and use a name we can follow you by, as oppose to being anonymous. What, are you afraid our words will you hurt you so badly?

    Anonymous commenters *sigh*

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    While I agree with you on the point that sometimes the strong character is strong merely as wank fodder for someone of a different taste to those that came before them, I have to say; it’s fantasy. That’s sort of what it’s there for; to be wank fodder (can’t really comment for this particular movie, as I’ve yet to see it).

  • http://carnivaloftherandom.blogspot.com Kristen McHugh

    Well, given that around 100,000 rapes occur in the US every year. . . it’s not so much laziness as statistical accuracy. Being badass doesn’t just happen, and y’know what, I can honestly say that while I *still* can’t literally *kick* ass, my threshold for being *nice* went down to just above zero, when I came out of my initial PTSD phase after being raped. Lazy use of rape, is rape without consequences for the rapist, although that, too, is statistically accurate. Is it better to introduce a character who witnesses a murder, and becomes badass that way? Or is tortured, non-sexually, as a catalyst? Whether or not you see the movie, I’m actually curious about *what* motives for being a BAMF you think would be less lazy and more effective in the narrative. I’m genuinely wondering what would be better. I want to see this film, even after hearing that it’s probably been the victim of a bad cut, because now that it’s actually out, nearly EVERY woman I know, has loved it.

  • http://carnivaloftherandom.blogspot.com Kristen McHugh

    “Rape like it really is,”which is? Most rapes are coerced through threats, intoxication, or simply emotional pressure, but violent rape occurs. Neither is more, “real,” just statistically prevalent. “Angry survivor myth,” how is this a myth? Depression, generally speaking, is just rage turned inward, back onto the self. I was angry, I was depressed, and eventually, I took my anger, and I spoke. I didn’t stop speaking, I haven’t stopped speaking. I will not stop speaking. I would dearly love to be able to identify and get revenge, and maybe if we stop believing that the system will fail us, if we keep fighting rape apologism, and we keep fighting, maybe someday, we’ll live in a world where women aren’t asked what they were wearing when they were raped, where reporting rape isn’t piling trauma on top of trauma, where rape cases are prosecuted rather than dropped or being pleaded to a misdemeanor, because a survivor is a sex worker. Maybe we need to stop playing by reality’s rules.

  • http://twitter.com/orpheussf Brendan Kirkpatrick

    You might be interested to know that Charles Moulton, the creator of Wonder Woman, was a serious bondage fetishist in real life.

  • Gracelyn

    I’ve been excited for this movie since it was in pre- production. I saw it in IMAX last night, too. I loved it. The soundtrack was killer, (if Alison Mosshart covering The Beatles dosen’t at least make you twitch to get your jacket and bolt to your nearest theatre, I don’t know what will), The cinemetography and the narrerating was beautiful, and… I dig the costumes. If it makes me a bad feminist- so the fuck be it.

    I think the girls are much stronger then they give off. Except for Amber and Blondie. What you see it what you get, with those two.

  • Julia

    The initial problems I had with this article have been discussed above: People who criticize this movie for objectifying women obviously don’t understand that women, “empowered” or not, LIKE TO LOOK GOOD. It’s why many of us put on makeup every day, why we like to shop for new clothes, and why we fight for things like rights and equality. Looking pretty doesn’t mean anything if you’re still just a pretty slave.

    I feel that Zack Snyder, who has had help from his wife Deborah on nearly all of his films, probably received a substantial amount of help from her with this project, especially with envisioning the story (which he came up with and wrote himself). Which means, dear blogger, that this isn’t just some perverted man-fest that some action director thought up to appeal to nip-slip-seeking male audiences. Feminine input most likely had a vast amount of persuasion in the outcome of this film. This is evident in the fact that Zack Snyder still has a wife.

    If it’s socially acceptable for men to admire surly male characters swinging around seven-foot buster swords to beat the shit out of transgender half-demons, why isn’t it okay for girls to admire other girls who can handle an assault rifle and take down an army of robots while wearing a pair of 4-inch pumps? And, more importantly, WHY do you have such a problem with it? Would you despise the premise of this movie as much if it was directed by a woman?

    However, what irks me the most about this article is the fact that you won’t even give Sucker Punch a CHANCE. I’d be willing to bet that an inspired, culturally aware feminist like yourself forked over money to see the giant setback for women known as the Twilight Series – if anything just to witness its trainwreck of a plot and indulge in Taylor Lautner’s abs, and of course, so you could rightfully vomit up a critical assessment on the film and how it only served to blow on the flame of your obviously unreasonable standards of how women should be presented on film. You refuse to see this movie as it doesn’t appeal to your own personal standards of ass-kicking fantasy in which you wear heavy kevlar body armor. I’m afraid to inform you that art, dear blogger, doesn’t quite carry over your caution and sensibilities when indulging in an asylum inmate’s vivid daydreams of fighting in a completely mind-controlled fantasy world.

    I wouldn’t say it’s a film for everyone, but it’s not the male-dominated setback to feminism that you seem to think it is. Considering that it’s rated R, of COURSE it’s not a movie that young girls should see. They invented the ratings system for a reason, and in this case, that reason is VIOLENCE. Most other girls I’ve talked to either don’t care to see it because it’s not their thing, or they have seen it, and they think it’s the shit. So maybe you should taste the cake before shrieking to the masses that it’s undercooked.

    PS – Not that I would know from experience, but it’s probably easier to do a roundhouse kick in a pleated schoolgirl skirt than a 40 lb. set of body armor.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    “Would you despise the premise of this movie as much if it was directed by a woman? ”

    I’ve been thinking the very same thing. However, I fear the answer we might get is “but a woman would NEVER dream up such exploitative material.”

    The flip side to this is when we objectify men. Is that okay? Has anyone noticed that we’ve been objectifying men (and women, can’t ignore the lesbians) since time immemorial, we just have different fantasies?

    Meh.

  • Anonymous

    I just saw your mention of Bitch Slap. I have (unfortunately) seen that movie and it was horrible. I have also seen Sucker Punch. Trust me, Bitch Slap is the exploitation flick that everyone calls Sucker Punch. However, the messages of the two movies are different.

    Surprisingly, Sucker Punch argues that the exploitation of women is wrong and something women struggle to escape. Whereas, Bitch Slap just exploits women.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if Zach Synder inteded this movie as a message towards men. All the “exploitation” scenes happen when the male atagonists of the movie are objectifying women. For these scenes, the audience is doing the same thing as these evil men! It was a very “meta” moment for me.

    I’m curious how many guys realized they came to the movie to objectify these women. Effectively doing the EXACTLY what the “evil rapist men” in the movie are doing. If Snyder (male director speaking to a male audience) intended this message, he is a genius.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Sucker Punch is sounding more and more interesting the more I read about it. I need to see it before I can really discuss it.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    As a straight woman, I have to say that I very much enjoyed Bitch Slap, as have most other women (straight, lesbian and bi) that I’ve inflicted it on. In contrast, the straight men I’ve watched it with all got bored and started discussing modern politics.

    Go figure…

    Of course, I mostly enjoyed the epic fight scenes, gun battles and Michael Hurst playing a villain (along with his commentary, out-takes and comedy documentary intros… yeah, mostly I just like watching Hurst work).

    Admittedly, I’m pretty easy going and very hard to offend. I’m also unsure as to what makes a sexploitation flick a bad thing.

  • Datatrike

    Zoe and Mary Sue, you really should experience something before you critique it. I almost stayed away from this film based on your article, but I’m extremely glad that I didn’t. I’ll also observe that you’ve done more damage to your argument than you have good. One thing I take from this is never listen to anyone who bases opinions based on a trailer or synopsis. To me you’ve proven the wisdom of the old maxim “Never judge a book by its cover.”

    “My disgust is squarely in the arena of feminist concern…without ranting histrionics”. Well, you ranted. The tag line for the film is “You Will Be Unprepared.” You should have paid attention. Then you might not have been suckered right in.

    I won’t give spoilers, that would ruin the fun for those not taken in by your misconceptions based on 4 mins and 4 secs of experience (the length of both trailers for this movie). You did watch both trailers didn’t you, or did you base your opinion on only one? I wonder what your review of “The Return of the King” would have been based on the title?

    This wasn’t a story of female empowerment. Listening to the interviews done by some of the cast will give some clues. One thing that’s key to the story is the open vulnerability of Baby Doll/Emily Browning. I’m sorry if this sounds sexist, but I can’t think of a single male actor who could have pulled it off nearly so well as Browning did. Nope, not a one.

    Two spoilers I will give. No one was raped. The story was never about revenge or “getting back”.

  • Anonymous

    I had the same concerns before seeing the movie, but having seen it now, I have to say that the trailler makes it seem far more exploitative than it is. In fact as the first 10 minutes of the movie rolled I was bracing myself some really awful exploitation and was pleasantly surprised. Since the story is based on a premise of sexual abuse, I was expecting that topic to escalate aggressively as the film unfolded. Not so.

    You really have to watch it to understand it. The director clearly made some some decisions to NOT include scenes that would have been incredibly exploitative in favor of innuendo and that really worked for the film. While costuming is pretty standard fare anime, I feel vindicated by the extreme high quality fight scenes, where women are portrayed as strong ass kickers and not just a choreographed caricature. 

    In fact, this movie’s art direction and choreography are what really blew me away. And despite my initial concerns and trailler-motivated reservations, I believe the director has delivered one of the most well accomplished video-game cinematography I have seen to date.

    Yes, the sexual abuse theme is disturbing, but that is the case because sexual abuse IS disturbing, not because the film exploits the topic to enhance the story or limits itself to the imager or emotions of sexual abuse.

    Ultimately, I felt the film delivered on it’s message that you are in charge and it’s really up to you to change things. I would not call the film empowering, but neither would I call it exploitative. It is by no means a perfect film (there is some mediocre acting and dialog at times), but that is more than made up throughout.

  • Aknights89

    This is why you probably should watch a movie before critiquing it.

    The film actually makes astounding use of costume design to show how the women are empowered in their fantasy universes, as opposed to being exploited. The gist (as I understood it) is thus, when the women are in the “real” world, they’re dressed in sexy, revealing clothes, which often come off as looking tawdry, awkward, and exploitative. This highlights how in their “real” everyday their sexuality is being used against them and is in a sense, out of their control. However, when they’re inside of their fantasy universes, yes, they are dressed sexy, but they also look badass. I felt this was a representation of how they were taking back their own sexuality, that they were sexual beings and that was a part of their strength and power. To be honest to imply that to be a strong woman you have to be pure and chastely dressed seems more offensive to me than women portrayed as sexual AND strong.

    Not to mention that when I picture myself as a badass woman in my personal fantasies, hell yeah I imagine myself sexy and smokin’.

  • Flybynight

    What irks me is that it’s a movie which is supposedly about the evils of objectification and women’s power…. all while it’s carefully tailored to be a teenage boy’s wet dream. So the men in the show are monsters because they like to look at women as sexy objects and get hard-ons from it, but when the audience does exactly the same thing it’s okay? It gives me whiplash.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sartorialnerd Sartorial Nerd

    I will start by saying HERE THAR BE SPOILERS so if you haven’t seen Sucker Punch, you probably shouldn’t read this. If you have no desire to see it and don’t care about spoilers, you are a silly silly person and need to make a beeline to your local theater and see it. This is a long review but its lengthiness is necessary as Sucker Punch is much like an onion – lots of layers. Or maybe it’s more like a parfait since all its layers are absolutely delicious.

    It pained me to see this movie get ripped to shreds by critics I usually respect (A.O. Scott, I am looking at you, sir). I suspect many critics went into it expecting a straight forward action movie chock full of eye candy and while it had all that, it’s also a movie that makes you think. If you’re expecting mindless explosions and beautiful women in skimpy outfits shooting up zombies, then being asked to consider a deeper meaning can be hard. Complex and meaningful action movies are made especially more difficult for the average audience to stomach when they’re about women who happen to be scantily clad but also forcefully exhibit their own agency. The cries of sexual exploitation are absurd. We saw a couple of inches of thigh here, some midriff there but there was a whole lot more flesh in Zack Snyder’s other movie, 300, and no one called him out on then. Lady flesh is scary, y’all! Guess it’s just their fault they’re female.

    My initial reaction to Sucker Punch wasn’t that it focused so much on female empowerment but rather on a depiction of how the powerless empower themselves. I’m personally sick of the Anita Blakes of the sci fi world – women who are given power and privilege on a silver platter and are never made to earn it. A story about women (and young women at that) who create their own power when it is denied them is so amazingly powerful. I feel a great deal of the criticism this movie has received is in part due to critics judging the movie based on their expectations rather than what they actually got. I partially blame Zack Snyder for that since he slapped the film with a ‘female empowerment’ label when it’s actually a lot more complex than that. Sometimes, it’s best when an artist lets the work speak for itself. If you have to explain it, you’re not doing it right and Snyder did it right here.

    As someone who’s been (unjustly) committed to a psychiatric institution for a few days for the crime of having actual feelings, Sucker Punch was a story I needed. While the words may sound cheesy to some, when Rocket says “We’re already dead,” I wish people understood that to many, that’s exactly what being locked up in an institution feels like. It was the most absolutely dehumanizing thing I have ever experienced. If you’re there, chances are you’ve hit rock bottom. That one line drove home the fact that all these women knew in their current situation was absolute despair. When you have nothing to lose, you might as well go down in a blaze of glory.

    Institutions are horrible places, especially for women – they’re often taken less seriously in mental institutions due to the prevailing and shamefully archaic notion that women are prone to hysterics and therefore cannot be trusted with their own feelings. Even reading this as a straightforward escapist fantasy without the greater intricacies of the plot shows that Sucker Punch is about how unbearable reality can be. And when that happens, sometimes you have to make your own. Imagination is far more powerful than we think. As the women in the movie exercise the only freedom they have – that of creativity – we see them create their own destinies.

    At its heart, it’s a story about choice. In a environment where the ability to make their own decisions has been taken away from them, the women of Sucker Punch found a way to circumvent that and fought to create world where the basic right to choose was restored to them. And that, my dears, is a frighteningly powerful thought, especially in the hands of ass-kicking, gun-toting young women.

    The first time I saw the movie, my chief complaint was how the brunettes, Amber and Blondie, were marginalized – they seemed so obviously expendable. Upon a second viewing, I realized that it wasn’t as simple as that. While Blondie and Amber had relatively little screen time compared to their blonde counterparts, they both played critical roles to the story. When Blondie cracks and gives up the plan to Madame Gorski and Blue, it actually feels honest. Sucker Punch is many things, including a war movie. The soldier who eventually reaches his or her breaking point is a war movie staple. It creates a dramatic tension and an extra dollop of foreboding. The women of Sucker Punch are trying to survive a horrible situation and sometimes, not everyone can handle it.

    Amber won me over in the end. She saved the day by keeping her wits about her even as her friend was dying at her feet and made it possible for the remaining girls to complete their mission. At first, I thought her death was simply meaningless but sometimes in war stories, there are meaningless deaths that make you yell at the scream in righteous indignation but they have to be there to drive the point home that the current situation is horrible and unfair. War is messy and unkind and sometimes even heroes fall.

    It isn’t obvious in the beginning, but as Babydoll says to Sweet Pea, “This was never my story . . . it’s yours.” Everything we’re watching is filtered through Sweet Pea. Complaints about overstylized imagery are as shortsighted as the ones about exploitation. The multiple layers of dreamlike scenarios are fantasies based on events seen through a character who has witnessed things so grim and horrible that the only way to deal with them is to apply a fantastical filter for the harshness of reality. I’m still not sure the music video style opening is as successful as it could have been but its vagueness works if you consider that it is Sweet Pea relating the story to the viewer. She only has first hand experience with Babydoll at Lennox House so it makes sense that Babydoll’s backstory would be the least fully realized part of the story.

    Despite Emily Browning (Babydoll) protesting the removal of her character’s sex scene with John Hamm (aka High Roller aka the lobotomy doctor), I am so glad it was removed in editing. It is a much better movie without it. I can understand why they would have shot one (when John Hamm said “it was almost like she wanted me to do it”), it still would have felt more like a Stockholm Syndrome type surrender. Its inclusion would have undermined Babydoll when she said “You’ll never have me” which, while directed at Blue, had a meaning that was relevant to the story as a whole and necessary to her “perfect victory” as the Wise Man called it.

    I’m still distraught over Babydoll’s sacrifice but I don’t think I would have it any other way. If this is a movie about choice, then there is no choice more powerful than sacrificing yourself for another. While some may complain about the heavy handed moralizing of the film, I found the message to be quite powerful. Action movies with morals with a mostly female cast aren’t especially common and can be startling. If all you want is meaningless eye candy, this is not the movie for you. Sucker Punch has been called many things but above all, it is beautiful and tragic and absolutely essential.


    Sartorial Nerd
    https://thesartorialnerd.blogspot.com

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Have you seen it? There is VERY little in the way of a chance to objectify them.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    This. This a hundred times over. Like. Like. Like.

    (Yeah, I just got back from watching Sucker Punch)

  • http://profiles.google.com/sartorialnerd Sartorial Nerd

    Yay! What really bugged me about this was to see that on a blog I usually respect, they’re so willing to judge a movie without seeing it. That got a big REALLY? from me. I have a personal policy of not judging a creative work without fully experiencing it (which is why I read the entire Twilight series just because I wanted to be able to talk shit about it without being a hypocrite). It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    It’s not as if they couldn’t have waited a couple of extra days and reviewed the actual movie. Two weeks ago there was a post about judging movies by their trailers because some marketing people will pull, and I quote “a genre bait and switch” on the audience; http://www.themarysue.com/women-and-action-movies/

    I tried to read Twilight, just like I tried to read Harry Potter. I simply can’t read things I’m not enjoying.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    I saw Sucker Punch last night, so now I feel more able to address the gross misconceptions about this film taken from the trailer alone by Zoe Chevat.
    SPOILER ALERT, obviously.

    “Women in these movies only take revenge after abuse and humiliation by captors, often of an overtly sexual nature. ”

    First of all; you can’t take revenge for something that never happens. If Babydoll’s life had not gone to crap it’d be a pretty dull movie.

    No one ever gets round to any sexual abuse of Babydoll. Her stepfather tries it on, manages to remove a button and then she bests him. He turns on her sister but Babydoll appears with a gun and shoots.

    It all goes to Hell in a handbasket after that. She’s not in the asylum because she’s crazy after her stepfather abused her, but because she a) bested him and b) killed her own sister.

    Looking at “a” you could consider her incarceration a rape of sorts; her control and power has been taken away from her and Blue, it ermerges, has been using the girls for his own fun… but this never happens during the course of the film and Babydoll is never sexually abused.

    There is an event at the end that is analogous with rape, and she did want it. This is what people are talking about with the Stockholm Syndrome scene… but unless you’ve seen the whole film it’s hard to discuss.

    “These scenes of abuse are presented to the audience as another in a chain of action sequences, expected to command as much rapt attention as an exploding 747″

    Again; we’re never shown any sexual abuse. We never even get to see Babydoll’s titilating dancing. The scene cuts away to her escapist fantasies (as it does when she witnesses the self sacrifice of a friend).

    “Moreover, the petite bloodthirsty girly-girls of Sucker Punch still bare their midriffs and cleavages even in what is supposedly their own fantasy scenarios”

    Babydoll really doesn’t have much in the way of cleavage, and as many have said before; so what? It’s her fantasy and she’s taking back her own sexuality and that of all the girls in her world. Personally, my fantasy outfits are usually very Han Solo/Zoe Washburn/Spike Spiegel/Faith, but who am I tell someone else that their fantasy form has to be well covered? Should we all be wearing Burkas in our fantasies?

    And oh no! Some cleavage and, heaven forbid, a bit of midriff! I suppose the shots of her ankles were too much for you too?

    The bloodthirsty thing isn’t as it seems either; they never actually kill any humans. Orcs, dragons, zombies, robots… but no mortal, bleeding humans.

    “I don’t think there’s anything particularly innovative about a panty-baring schoolgirl fighting robots.”
    I don’t recall a panty shot… but I wasn’t particularly looking for it. I have a thing for bellies and backs.

    “Somehow, though, I doubt that I am.”

    Maybe you should watch it >_>

  • http://profiles.google.com/sartorialnerd Sartorial Nerd

    Oops. Thanks. There was an extra letter in there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chemise-Rogers/39609427 Chemise Rogers

    Can someone please explain to me why some folks are defending this movie? Sexism or no it is a really crappy film. Even if the someone was turned off by the outfits the acting and story is subpar anyway. It’s not like they are missing anything!! The story could have been good. It could have had some meaning but most of the emphasis was on visuals. Maybe if we got to see a bit of who Babydoll (SPOILER or rather Sweetpea) really was then the visuals would have meaning. Without the proper context is really was just fan service. I was at least hoping to get some cool fight scenes but the setting and enemies felt more like ripoffs than homages to fantasy, sf and anime. It really is a waste of time.

  • Uy

    Totally failed on the “avoiding ranting histrionics” front.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    “Maybe if we got to see a bit of who Babydoll (SPOILER or rather Sweetpea) really was then the visuals would have meaning.”

    Eh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chemise-Rogers/39609427 Chemise Rogers

    “Eh?”

    Spoiler
    Arguably nothing was real in the movie it was all Sweetpea’s imagination. You never thought that it was odd that Babydoll was in full makeup all the time? Even in the “real” world. That not only was Sweetpea the most “normal” looking one out of the bunch but the only one to get away? That it was babydoll’s role to sacrifice herself for Sweetpea’s safety?

    “I got a bit bored in the initial samurai battle, but the undead Nazi battle? Awesome. I especially enjoyed Sweetpea and Rocket fighting with and for each other.”

    That was pretty much the best part. Other than that it was a total snore fest for me. I hated Babydoll’s fighting “style”. She was way too stiff and it was far too obvious that parts of it were cg. It didn’t help that the movie didn’t set up any real opportunities to become invested in the characters. That there was no suspense or consequences. Or that the enemies weren’t original. Sure nothing truly is but you can tell the difference between being inspired by something and ripping it off. I just found it really odd that I have been more entranced by live action anime movies considering the lower budget than this blockbuster film. After the second one I began to dread the action sequences.

    “Because sneakers are every day and boring, while those 40s heals were different (I’d say cool but… they’re shoes)… and it was a fantasy.

    Blondie’s outfit… WANT. And Sweetpea’s coat? Sexy, sexy piece of tailoring… (I have a thing for coats; while women traditionally collect shoes, I collect coats).”

    So? I’m generally a firm believer that there is a time for everything. But it’s always a fantasy. ALWAYS. That is my point. For this movie it makes sense but I’m talking about the big picture. If there were a more varied body of representations for ass kicking women in mass media then I’d let it slide. But it seems that folks can’t even imagine something different for women. And if they do the mainstream media thinks we are all so biased that we won’t buy it. Male characters don’t have that problem. It isn’t some independent comic book artist or lesser known novelist that decides to do something different.You don’t have to dig to find varied representation for men(more specifically the “average white male” what ever the hell that is supposed to mean).

    And no sneakers aren’t boring.Male characters wear them all the time and no one calls them boring. Male characters wear “neutral” colors and no one calls them boring. Action movies set in a more realistic world aren’t boring. We are just as able to find the dressed down “every man” as engaging as a spandex covered, trench coat wearing super hero or a tuxedo wearing spy. Here is a random example. No one questions John McClane or Jason Borne’s ability to kick ass just because they are in street clothes. No one thinks that they aren’t cool either. Why can’t we do the same for women more often?

    “We’re all more defending the idea of actually watching a movie before you critic it. You did, and didn’t enjoy it. Not everyone will, but at least you watched it before making your opinion known.”

    Meh. Sometimes you can just tell that you won’t like something. I haven’t watched or read the Twilight series. But then again I know myself enough to know that I wont like it. And honestly I have no problem with people knowing that I think the entire concept sucks. Honestly I wish that I went with my first impression of this film and didn’t see it.

  • Keithhandschuh

    I think I might understand your initial and superficial (by which I mean the definition of the word “on the surface,” not the negative connotation) opinion of this movie. Since you’ve no intention of seeing it, I can inform you without guilt that the main theme imparts a message championing following your bliss and fighting for your dreams (and all that happy horse crap, which I still find inspiring from time to time). Maybe your frustration at seeing an uncomfortable sexual situation used to motivate female characters into violence stems from taking things a little too literally. In a movie you have a short time to make an emotional impact. The quickest way to do that is to wrap sexual objectification into a smaller package, such as sexual “abuse and humiliation.” In light of the resulting metaphors of fighting your demons and excaping a prison of your mind that are presented in this movie, my explanation might be even more valid in this case.

    And yes, I agree with other posters. I like feeling sexy and when I kick butt. I like watching other sexy women, too. And, studying in a predominantly male field such as Computer Engineering, I’d like to throw in another interesting observation. I belong to a couple of the female clubs in our department, but truth be told, I prefer the males. The ladies in my program are often catty and competitive, while the males are genuinely sincere and kind. Sometimes, I just don’t understand complaints from women about the difficulty in working in predominantly male fields (I think I actually prefer it)…and I took my daughter to see the movie. I want her to know that she’s not just pretty and smart, she’s one tough cookie, too.

  • http://anothernotebook.tumblr.com kalsangikid

    If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s an interview with Zack Snyder on what he really wanted to do with the movie. http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/interview-zack-snyder-on-the-sexuality-and-world-of-sucker-punch.php

    He seems quite aware of everything we’ve been discussing here, and for that alone, I applaud him. After reading the interview, I’m excited for the director’s cut of this “awful” movie.

  • Nicole Hazen

    I’m glad to hear there’s no sexual abuse/rape in it. Very glad I was wrong about that.

    But, being that friends of mine who’s interest is similar to mine, thought that the movie was horrible, I’m still not interested in seeing it.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    It’s not going to be to everyone’s tastes. There really is very little plot or witty dialogue. It’s all about the ‘message’ of the power of ones own mind… and the fantasy settings. It’s not even so much about the fights but just about the shiny, shiny CG.

    All in all a bit Matrix I suppose.

    I enjoyed it, I have to say but I’m not entirely sure I’ll be buying it on DVD, at least not until it gets reduced in price.

  • http://twitter.com/killbot Jessi

    You can’t really say anything about a movie you didn’t see, just like I can’t really say anything about an article I’m not going to read. You didn’t see the movie.

    I’m not a bad feminist for liking this movie. It had a deeper meaning to it– I don’t want to be one of those assholes who say ‘you didn’t get it’ but you didn’t get it, you didn’t give it a chance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessica.adamson Jessica Adamson

    “Using rape or other forms of sexualized physical abuse to elicit audience outrage is a cheap trick . I didn’t care for it when Battlestar Galatica did it, and I sure as hell don’t care for it from the director of Watchmen (which also contained a near-rape scene that played out longer than necessary). ”

    The rape scene in Watchmen is directly from the graphic novel and wasn’t exactly played for kicks. The scene has a huge ripple effect for many of the characters and was meant to discomfit the audience in juxtaposition to how Sally ends up falling in love with the Comedian.

  • Buhallin

    90% of the movie happens in her imagination. As a general rule, I’m pretty sure the laws of physics don’t actually apply in our imagination, so the practicality of the armor seems somewhat irrelevant. I agree with the general complaint, but the objection in this case completely ignores the context of the movie.

    As for the movie itself, I loved it. If you let yourself make up objections without seeing it, it’s your loss. It’s a remarkably thought-provoking movie that had my wife and I talking about it two days later. Not many come down the line like that, kickass girls or no.

  • http://profiles.google.com/withlove.tacy Leona Weber

    I saw a preview for this movie a few months ago and right away wanted to see it, mostly because I liked the idea of a bunch of ladies kicking ass. Then, a week ago, I actually went to go see it. Very disappointed.

    As far as the action went, yeah, the special effects were really pretty. The actresses were really pretty. The fighting scenes featured a lot of ass kicking. But I left the theater very disappointed and confused: the Inception-esque “dream within a dream” story never really came together, and the women in this world are ultimately controlled by men. If I had seen that in the previews, then I would have saved myself $9.50 and not even seen this movie.

    After the show, I thought to myself, “Maybe I should think this over. Take it at face value.” So yeah, pretty girls and “edgy” film style that is made to appeal to the male audience. Can’t remember the article I read it on, but the article claimed that Snyder’s choice of costume for the girls reflected a “critique of the male gamer” – only there WAS no critique! You did not see the girls turn around and say, “This skimpy little skirt isn’t going to protect me – where’s the real fighting gear?”

    So, if you want a mindless show of sound and fury, then go ahead and watch this movie. As Heather Ah San writes in her review of this movie, “The trailers for ‘Sucker Punch’ portray it as a female-friendly movie, but in reality it is the antithesis of that. Only in Baby Doll’s dream world does she, or any of the other women, ever escape the terror they face by the men in the real world, and nothing is ever resolved.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/SafyreX Cyrene Powell

    Completely agree. Ooh looking hot whilst ass-kicking = yes. Ooh looking like a total easy slut whilst ass-kicking = no. I’d MUCH rather look like the character Scarlet Johansson (Natalie) played in Iron Man 2 than wear a skirt barely covering my vagina with ridiculous school-age-themed pigtails. Where’s the class?

  • http://twitter.com/rlfcomic Robin

    I actually DID see Sucker Punch as a group of friends were going, and you are entirely right. In fact, it’s slightly worse as the main character is in an asylum but percieves it to be a brothel that she and her friends are trying to escape from. So she has fantasies within this fantasy to ‘empower’ herself. And yet she and her friends still wear the same uniforms in these “empowerment fantasies” as they are forced to wear in the brothel? That’s all kinds of messed up.

    Actually, the movie could have been very good. There’s grains of something genuinely interesting there, but the exploitation completely ruins it. For example, there’s no plot based need for the brothel fantasy. The scenerio serves the exact same purpose as the asylum- to provide a wall against which the characters must break through. Why have a fantasy that’s serves the same role as reality? Well, of course it’s to show off as many lady parts as possible…a thinly veiled excuse.

    But you know, if they’d left out the brothel fantasy and made the other delusions less exploitative the movie might have shaken up to be something pretty good. Oh, and tied the ending up better. I think that’s the worst part of it…that you can see what the movie MIGHT have been but clearly isn’t.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Sorry, didn’t see you’d replied because you didn’t… you know, us the reply button :P

    Just got back from work and am exhausted… I’ll get back to you at some point, when my brain isn’t melting out of my ears.

  • guest

    yeah, I want to see this movie and am fully aware how porny it is, I’ve already joked with my bf about how he’ll want to leave halfway through to hurry back to our bed..

    but it is also silly! I have worked in institutions, trust me those girls don’t wear FALSE eyelashes EVERY day.

    also, these girls are making money. their choice. and giving poor nerds something new to fantasize about…. and maybe me too. they look pretty hot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001969991706 Amanda Mary Janesten

    I understand that you don’t like the movie.
    But I’ve seen it. Twice. And it’s epic. So comment on the stuff you love instead of the stuff you hate or you’ll make the people who loved the movie pissed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001969991706 Amanda Mary Janesten

    Ok, this is a spoiler too
    but if it was in Sweet Peas imagination then why didn’t she recognise the bus driver? And also at the start and end they talk about angels, and how they can take form of a girl or an old man, i thought that it was so ‘angels’ made Baby Doll escape but really they were the guardians os Sweet Pea…? It doesn’t make that much sense when i write it down.
    But i agree, the first fight was a little boring

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001969991706 Amanda Mary Janesten

    i think that this person should actually WATCH this film 2 see what it’s about because there are so many twists that the trailer would spoil them all if you knew the plot so go watch it before you talk about ‘how awfull’ it is.

  • http://profiles.google.com/joanna.moylan Joanna Moylan

    It’s not porn, it’s burlesque.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FIHX3A7GP4G6GQNEOEIFR5BDFY Tawny Woods

    I agree that a character can be rounded while playing on fetishes.
    I don’t think any character in Sucker Punch is anything close to rounded and complex, though.

    I just saw the movie and the different outfits strike me as only necessary to visually distinguish between the girls (and to cover as many fetishes as possible) and not related to their personalities at all.

    Even if you consider SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    that it may all be Baby Doll’s perception of the other inmates, it still doesn’t say much about them, about their relations to each other or about her.

    END SPOILER

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FIHX3A7GP4G6GQNEOEIFR5BDFY Tawny Woods

    Yeah, ’cause he uses lingering shots of thighs mid-battle in his other action films as well.

  • Raknai

    I don’t thing you get the point
    the problem here is not girls in sex costumes
    Principally because they aren’t so sexy in this movie
    And the cinematografy was very boring and action sequences are nothing memorable
    They are very boring

  • http://confusedgender.wordpress.com/ AlexM

    I read this some time ago and always meant to write a rejoinder to it but was slow to actually see Sucker Punch, so didn’t really have the tools to say what I wanted.  However I thought I’d post since I mention Zoe Chevat in this article fairly extensively in a blog post I wrote, and given that she wrote this provocative post in the first place I presume she’d be interested in responses to her opinions.  Apologies to Zoe for my flippancy towards her personally and hope that she doesn’t take any genuine offence… I just think that the argument in this blog post is really very terrible :p

    http://confusedgender.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/why-i-wont-use-my-brain-and-you-shouldnt-either-unthinking-opinions-regarding-showgirls-basic-instinct-300-and-sucker-punch/

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/91afb736-ee2d-11e0-8890-000f20980440 MB

    I’m a woman as well, but I think you’re taking your hatred of the movie too far. Watch it with open eyes. With the exception of Amber, the characters all change–Blondie grows to trust more, Rocket goes from rebellious to homesick, and Sweet Pea goes from cautious to determined to fight for her freedom. Babydoll even goes from protagonist to assistant.
    She’s not really fighting back, eh? She DOES stab Blue when she gets the chance. Remember that she’s only a twenty-year-old girl in an asylum, on almost constant watch from usually multiple orderlies (except when Blue has her alone). She defends herself as best she can but the point is there’s not always a happy ending. To give these girls a quick way out would be a disgrace to the women who have been oppressed and have been struggling. They are literally trapped, and if they refused to play along, their consequences would be even greater and they would have absolutely no hope of escaping.
    The fantasy versus reality is actually very clear–the fights are obviously imaginary, and the brothel realm is just a projection of the asylum and the crooked schemes (rape and lobotomy) by Blue there. Simple as that. Babydoll is happy after her dances because she dances to retrieve an item that helps them escape–she is satisfied because they succeed. When Dr. Gorski is talking with her in the real world, she is crying with her hands pressed to her stomach–obviously not happy, and never happy when she looks at Blue, her tormentor.
    You’re also very aggressive against the idea of her being so sexualized, but you forget that their dances and seductivity are barely shown. They are wearing semi-revealing clothing, yes, but only cleavage and stomachs are shown–something you’d see simply by going to the beach. They’re not actually shown moaning and gyrating.
    Look again. You’re being just as shallow with your criticism of this movie as you claim men to be with women.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_H77264ANIMBKYRLGXMAO7CJPNE Nuraini

    didn’t feel like watching it when it came out. didn’t seem like it would be engaging enough, and while i’m not too fussed about the costumes the styling seemed to mark it as a B grade movie which reduced the appeal. and now the picture you’ve posted up dissuades me more. i mean, her eyelashes look like they belong to a camel. it’s distracting. 

  • Anonymous

    I don’t care if this response is a year too late: you clearly just don’t care for these types of movies. Action for the sake of action doesn’t seem to be your thing, as you lambast everything from Battlestar to Batman, and you insert some shoddily paraphrased Foucalt or Mulvey in the middle. Stick to what you like, author, and stop trying to use your huge ego to make other people share in your disillusionment. You’ll be happier overall, and I’m sure there are plenty of Downtown Abbey DVD’s left at the Barnes and Noble near your house; stick to that. Leave the heady action/sci-fi genre criticism to someone who actually cares, instead of someone who simply criticizes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abraham.corrigan Abraham Corrigan

    So I know this is a year old but this movie is awesome and this review is terribly off the mark. In fact, I’m fairly confident the person writing it never actually saw the movie because almost all of these concerns are not only addressed but made explicit in the movie.
    1) Not a revenge movie… No one gets even with anyone else. You are correct that some pretty heavy stuff happens in the first 5 minutes, but to accuse the movie of manipulating sexual violence to justify murder later never happens or is even hinted at.
    2) Every scene that contains ass-kicking is a feminist re-appropriation of sexual desirability. The characters dress the way they do because they are sexually exploited mental health patients whose only option/source of power comes from their sexual appeal. Now, obviously this plot could easily become a soft core porn and if that were the case I think a lot of your criticisms apply. Instead, what the movie does is equate the ways the characters have to use sexual desire as a weapon in the same way a masculine action hero would use violence. Obviously, there is essentialism in this approach, however that essentialism is done for the purpose of making the audience aware of their own sexist bias when we think about what it means to fight and ‘do’ action. The female characters transform from passive recipients of masculine desire to active subjects that kick ass and take names.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abraham.corrigan Abraham Corrigan

    probably why you should see the movie before getting upset, it’s really quite good

  • Kate Drew This

    I realize that you wrote this post two years ago, but I only just read it now, and I think this is the comment that I agree with the most. At least, as much as I can, being attracted to men and not having survived rape.

  • Kate Drew This

    By that I mean it hasn’t happened to me. I just read that comment and realized how badly I phrased it.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. I’m sorry frustrated with women who defend skimpy costumes on female warriors. You like that? Great! You must be really satisfied then, because that’s almost ALL THAT WE EVER SEE. I personally DON’T want to see women fighting with their breasts barely contained by their schoolgirl outfits, because it’s stupid and unrealistic. And to all of those people mewling “OMG! Slut-shaming!” – shut the fuck up. Seriously, shove it up your ass. I love sex. I have quite a lot of it. I’ve never been ashamed of that. I fail to see how an enjoyment of sex and wearing a school girl outfit to look sexy to men while fighting are somehow equivalent. They aren’t. Please stop.

  • http://www.facebook.com/naomi.tayler.79 Naomi Caroline Tayler

    You were not wrong, going by the twenty minutes I was actually able to bring myself to watch. It was like a bad Britney video rip off. For what it’s worth, my husband also thought it was terrible.

  • http://twitter.com/seriouslyyouguy you guys

    High School art history? Zoe Chevat is part of the 1%, I’d wager.

  • http://www.facebook.com/isshite Gabriel Octavian Requiem

    Oh shut up. Did you not think that maybe the makers just thought it would be a cool idea for a film, rather than an excuse to belittle women. It’s an okay movie, not great, but it’s just an interesting concept, not an exploitative male-chauvinistic porno. Alo, at least watch the damn movie before you post on your blog dismissing it. You’re as bad as that idiot who said there was uncensored sex in Mass Effect.
    In conclusion: get over yourself.

  • http://dbcooper.livejournal.com P.F. Bruns

    I would suggest to the author that the biggest problem with Zack Snyder movies is not the scanty costumes–after all, as even she points out, he hands those out with egalitarian (if leering) vigor–but the fact that he can’t seem to make a film without a character getting raped.

    Yes, “Watchmen” and “300″ both had rape scenes in the source material that were integral to the plot, and both clearly showed that the antagonist committed the heinous act out of a desire for dominance and power (though I would also argue that the scene in “Watchmen,” especially the graphic novel version, was far more nuanced, complex, and emotionally charged, particularly in the facial expressions. No offense to Carla Gugino, who did an excellent job playing the film version of the first Silk Spectre; she just didn’t get enough screen time to do the same. The comic panel allows the reader to pace the story, and the expressions Dave Gibbons’ illustrations of Sally Jupiter are so wrought with conflict that they force most readers–at least me–to take notice. Films are not only linear; they move forward without the approval of the viewer).

    But what about “Sucker Punch”? Why did there have to be a rape scene? Yes, rape was possibly a more common occurrence in mental institutions in the 1950s, but it wasn’t ubiquitous. It wasn’t even necessary for the story! There were dozens of other ways to give Baby Doll (!) pathos.

    As for the cheesecake costumes, has the author ever considered that some women actually do find them empowering because of the effect they have on others? It’s not universal, but look at, for instance, cosplayers. Both men and women sometimes wear very provocative outfits for the express purpose of garnering (mostly positive) attention.

    I’m not discounting the author’s premise entirely, since it does raise some very important questions, but I do think Zack Snyder’s track record of having female characters raped is far worse and more exploitative than his female (and male) costumes. I also question the fact that the author simply dismissed the fact that men were mostly skyclad in “300″ with, in essence, “but with girls it’s different,” without really supporting that assertion.

    I need more convincing.

  • standgale

    Agree. I found that most people who saw and reviewed the movie totally missed the layers of reality and what they meant. And the ending! Amazing. And I felt that the mix of brothel and institution, which historically have been places where women are used and dehumanised, was thought-provoking.
    I liked how people in the film made hard choices, and died hard deaths, instead of the writers ensuring that the sympathetic characters “win”, and the minor ones die. Although you could still construe the film as a “win”, albeit in a terrible way.
    Finally, some reviews I’ve seen have said that in this film the women lose and the men win, which is not the case at all in a number of cases in the film (perhaps all), including (and I watched it a long time ago so can’t quite remember) where the female doctor gets the male nurse arrested for what he’s done. A bit late… but I approve that someone actually DID something in a horrible situation in an institution – that seldom happens in any film, and often not in real life either.

  • Philip

    ‘Hey guys, I’m gonna review a film I haven’t seen!’

    This guy as a pretty in-depth analysis on the film, check it out: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/6247-You-Are-Wrong-About-Sucker-Punch-Part-One

  • Anonymous

    Nothing worse than reviewing a movie you haven’t seen. Reading this article was a far bigger waste of my time than watching Sucker Punch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pierreborg86 Pierre Borg
  • Anonymous

    karate kid. batman. iron man. how many more do you need? Sometimes the guy is a victim seeking revenge.

  • Anonymous

    The point of the movie is it’s supposed to be tragic that she can’t escape these things. If you see it as her championing that stuff then I think you’re not giving the original author enough credit. Even when I was a teenager with raging hormones I could have read that from this movie without being too distracted by the outfits.

    Also, You mean in the movie where a woman who clearly has her own sexuality on the brain and who endured related traumas escapes into her internal psychosis-driven fantasy world, there is lots of symbolic and direct sexual references in there? NO! how can that be?

  • http://www.facebook.com/pierreborg86 Pierre Borg

    THis is not an exploitation movie, it is a condemnation of exploitation movies in a similar vein to starship troopers

  • http://www.facebook.com/Flytrap Robert D Clark

    Oh, get over yourself. Had you seen this and what the fight was truly about, I might have more respect for your opinion. But since you want to base your arguments on a trailer, I dismiss your assessment as uninformed and unimportant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Quatermass/1260000946 Tony Quatermass

    Sucker Punch is a great multi-layered psychological thriller. If these commenters would actually watch the film, they’d realize it treats the subject with grace and care. For example, it’s because of how she perceives men and the world that she imagines herself in a nightmare brothel.

  • Amber Barnes

    Karate Kid isn’t a vengeance flick, Batman is most certain constantly avenging his dead parents and Iron Man is about Tony Stark’s change and redemption.

  • Pompey

    The fact that it’s “pedophilic” is the whole point.

    Check out moviebob’s review:

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/6247-You-Are-Wrong-About-Sucker-Punch-Part-One

  • http://twitter.com/ereshkiga sij

    In my eyes, the movie tried so hard, Zack Snyder tried so hard, but then he totally missed it because he simply has no idea what it’s like to be a woman. He can only see women from the outside. I’m not talking about ‘is there sexual exploitation in the movie or isn’t there’, and I really for the life of me can’t see how it’s about the powerless empowering themselves. All I see is this message: girls, you can try but you will always either be pawns for men or you’ll have to die. No woman in the movie survives. They’re all completely helpless.

    Babydoll doesn’t sacrifice herself, she kills herself. She doesn’t have any choice. She doesn’t win anything by giving up her virginity, she dies. She’s happy to die (Znyder even seems to show it so she’s happy to die by being raped which, well, is feminism? It’s really not) and worse yet, the movie implies you’re erased when you lose your virginity. When she, the innocent little fetish school girl, stops being a virgin, she will no longer exist because all of her value is in her sexy baby persona.

    But the real ending of the movie, with Sweet Pea, I think it was the most depressing moment of it all. Sweet Pea escapes, wearing her her black fetish outfit but luckily finds a completely fitting, pure white 50s dress fitting for a housewife or a new bride (now she’s made pure and clean and demure, her sexual past has to be erased for her to be a good heroine again). When she tries to make her escape, she’s stopped by two policemen. And how is she saved? By another man. And then she steps into a car driven by him. Why couldn’t she save herself? Why did that old man have to be at the final scene? Looking at basic symbols, a car symbolizes both masculinity and control, so what does it say about women that even at the end, when her horrible sexual past is hidden beneath virgin white, she can’t speak up to protect herself, she has to be saved by a man and then steps into a vehicle controlled by this man? Society is still against her, she’s still wanted by the police. She’s still helpless and dependent on men, without any agency.

  • Life Lessons

    It was fantastic movie. It showed how one survives abuse by fantasy life. Not a pretty or pleasant thought in fact it is quite painful. As a radical heterosexual feminist who has suffered much abuse I thought it was true and fabulous. It was an amazing movie.

    Perhaps the story and point could have been better served with less sexy visuals. However I am a fan of Snyder and I was not disappointed.

    I also think it is interesting that some feminists hate things for being sexist and vica versa. For example, I think The Walking Dead is incredibly misogynist, hateful towards women, and is basically crap IMHO because of it. Yet The Mary Sue LOVES this show. I guess it all comes down to what moves you.

    Let’s keep on keeping on. :)

  • Enigma

    I know this is two years old now – but thank you! So glad to see that I’m not the only one who thought the movie was layered. It made strong references to rape and abuse that were meant to make you uncomfortable/outraged. Why is that a bad thing? It’s a (horrible) truth, and just because it’s unsettling, doesn’t mean it should be censored. Urgh, anyway. Don’t want to write an essay, so thank you for giving this movie a proper analysis!

  • Anonymous

    Note to author, Zoe Chevat: Please don’t ever disrespect your audience by telling us what we should or should not watch based upon your personal opinions.

  • http://twitter.com/JackVoss1 Jack Voss

    I had not really thought about it in this way. Though I often find it ridiculous when they portray female knights and soldiers in mid riff baring armor. The rest I found very enlightening. Thank you.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sigzero Robert X

    I usually don’t watch these types of movies but…it was pretty good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kim.martin.3139 Kim Martin

    I agree, it was surprisingly good! I enjoyed it.

  • misteriousveiwerwoman

    On the other hand, seeing woman being there own super heroes and living as an of defiance, sorta, changed my life! It’s also pretty, and the soundtrack rocks! I don’t know, I just feel BBDoll, in ways I could never ever ever explain with words!

  • Anonymous

    I’m way late to this party, but I couldn’t resist. Thank you
    for a refreshing point of view.

    This is not about people’s private lives – but about how women are depicted in the media. And as far as the media is concerned, I’m tired of the “it’s empowering for women to look sexy and fight!” argument. Um, no.

    First off, there is a difference between sexy and sleazy (does anyone even remember this anymore?) It’s a line that in most media has not only been crossed, but well and truly trampled over.

    Second, a person does not have to be nude for something to be sexual exploitation. Exploitation involves objectification – this can be done in the form of portraying someone as a stereotype, aka “The Good Girl”, “The Dominatrix”, etc. Objectification is also done by a de-emphasis on the whole human being to focus on certain traits – such as body parts (repeated thigh, butt, and midriff shots, anyone?). Exploitation/objectification presents a false and negative view of women. And to some sadly twisted minds this idea reinforces their own warped thoughts that disrespect – or outright violence – to women is somehow justified.

    Lastly, to those who cry “slut-shaming!” I say, “and your point would be?” It’s bad enough when women are objectified by men. It’s far worse when women seen no problem with objectifying women. And the problem is not going to stop until women aren’t afraid to call other women on it.

    People can call it empowerment if it makes them feel better, but that’s not why the media is depicting women this way. To even suggest it is laughable. Zack Snyder, like other panderers of such drek, is a master of spin. He should give interview tips to Michael Bay.

  • Anonymous

    Of course it’s possible. I don’t think anyone objects to eyecandy. But women are almost exclusively eyecandy. That’s why they exist in art, for the most part. I also want to see real, three dimensional, challenging, challenged, flawed, intelligent, motivated-by-something-other-than-rape-or-death-of-family women on screen. Eyecandy becomes offensive when it’s the only role you’re allowed to play.

  • http://wildflowered.org/ Rachel

    Oh wow, this is an old comment! I’ve definitely come to terms with this kind of stuff since saying this. :)

  • Anonymous

    Another waaay late to the party commenter here… Maybe it’s because I had soaked myself in all the negative reviews before I saw it, but I found Sucker Punch surprisingly not-horrible.

    My 15-year-old daughter absolutely loves it — finds it inspiring and empowering, yes, but mostly just extremely cool. And my best friend — a super geeky, fiercely independent, loud, potty-mouthed cosplayer girl who takes no crap from anyone (an enviable example for any true feminist)– is totally crazy about this movie. Simply because it’s fun to watch. She embraces and thoroughly enjoys the hotness of these girls while they destroy all these impossibly huge, ugly, evil, powerful males. (She does have the ability to sit back and enjoy life and not find stuff to be angry about all the time, though, so that does differentiate her from a lot of feminists I’ve encountered.)

    Nothing incredibly deep about what Zack Snyder was doing; he just wanted to make a cool movie — and if you watch it for what it was intended to be, it’s exactly that, nothing more — nothing more profound, nothing more sinister. The perspective of this article is understandable — I do get the party-pooping gist, which in a measured way should be taken seriously. And the author may very well be a kick-ass person overall. But it’s NOT the perspective of every kick-ass woman out there. Just felt it would be good to emphasize that.

  • Dswynne

    I liked it for the fantasy sequence, not the asylum sequence. But it was how not-compelling the primary protagonist was that put this film in the “guilty pleasure” (i.e. a film that is bad, but still enjoyable).

  • Lexi Crowley

    Someone else already posted this, but it came to mind when I read this:
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/6247-You-Are-Wrong-About-Sucker-Punch-Part-One
    To be fair, though, the question of whether it’s a deliberate satire on the idea of the sadistic male gaze is rendered near irrelevant when nobody can sit through the whole thing without looking at their watch.