Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder opens up about people saying the fantasy action film is an “explotative” example of female empowerment.
While fans wait for Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon to touch down on Netflix, Letterboxd is going one-on-one with the filmmaker about Sucker Punch, a divisive action fantasy epic often raked across the coals by film buffs. Sucker Punch was Snyder’s first original concept to hit screens after Dawn of the Dead, 300, and Watchmen helped put the fan-favorite director on the map. Sucker Punch stars Emily Browning as Babydoll, a young woman committed to a mental institution. Throughout the film, Babydoll and her fellow patients (Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung) execute an elaborate escape while acting out the plan in a series of dream-like sequences.
Speaking with Letterboxd (via Variety) about Sucker Punch, Snyder admits to the film being one of his most controversial works, saying, “It was a very polarizing film,” Snyder said. “To be frank, the people I’ve run across who’ve come to me and said ‘” Sucker Punch” is my favorite movie’ are normally angsty teenage girls. It’s like a Morrissey song or something.”
Snyder also told Letterboxd he hopes to one day clarify his vision with a Director’s Cut. “You’ll get to see it at some point, I’m sure. I hope.”
“I’ve never gotten around to doing the director’s cut. I still plan to at some point,” Snyder mused. “But in the original ending when Babydoll is in the chair in the basement with Blue — she’s already been lobotomized — when the cop shines the light on her, the set breaks apart and she stands up and she sings a song on stage.”
“She sings, ‘Ooh, Child, things are gonna get easier,’” Snyder explains. “Blondie, and all the people that have been killed, join in and it’s the idea that in a weird way, even though she’s lobotomized, she’s kind of stuck in this infinite loop of euphoric victory. It’s weirdly not optimistic and optimistic at the same time. That’s kind of what the tone was at the end. We tested it and the studio thought it was too weird, so we changed it.”
Snyder also spoke with Letterboxd about the film being called “exploitative” by reviewers. Many fans say Sucker Punch is a strange story with female empowerment at its core. However, a section of people writing about the movie said it was little more than a 13-year-old’s wet dream masquerading as a female power fantasy. Snyder disagrees and finds those derogatory reactions disheartening.
“I feel like the main criticism of the film was that it was too exploitative,” Snyder said. “People took the movie as if the girls fighting and all that stuff was the movie. I found that slightly disheartening.”
Much about a film can become lost in the editing bay, and it sounds like, to a point, Sucker Punch was a product of audience interference and executive decisions.
Snyder argues the movie is highly genre self-aware. “It’s talking directly to them about what they wanna see,” Snyder attests. “They wanna see the girls, they don’t wanna see the girls empowered. They wanna see them in sexy outfits. That was the whole thing to me; I always thought it was interesting when people would review the movie and say it’s exploitative. It’s like an anti-war movie that gets the war too good.”
Do you think Sucker Punch is exploitative or misunderstood by some viewers? Are you excited about seeing a Sucker Punch Director’s Cut? Let us know in the comments section below.