Last night we watched Sucker Punch. Through the initial part of the movie, we were uncomfortable. Watching young girls potentially get raped by a lecherous stepfather is not pleasant viewing. Through the rest of the movie, we were not so uncomfortable, thanks to the distraction of the pretty and the explody.
Most of the reviews from friends who saw the movie when it was released spoke about not going in with any expectations. It was hot chicks blowing shit up while wearing skimpy outfits. What more could you want?
But that's not what this movie was about. It was about a young girl, already suffering from deep trauma due to extreme loss, guilt and abuse, then being raped and abused for the rest of the film and slipping into her own inceptions to deal with that fact, while trying to escape her pending doom in an insane asylum.
This movie was about "rape culture" and we were a part of it without realizing it. We enjoyed it without realizing what it truly was that we were enjoying. I'd say that fulfills the definition of a "sucker punch" when the reality dawned on me. (Unless you were Peter Travers, who didn't realize what this movie was about, but at least didn't enjoy it. Boy he didn't enjoy it. If the movie had shown more nudity and explained how rape works, he might have gotten it and been slightly less bitter.)
I confess, I appreciated this movie initially because of how cool it looked, but I knew there was something about that fifth element that wasn't clicking into place until I read reviews like this one, from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center blog. In fairness, the theatrical release was missing many scenes that would have helped to make things more painfully clear to those not accustomed to dealing with trauma and dissociation -- which is probably why those scenes were cut in the first place. Hollywood can understand hot babes and explosions. It can't understand this.
On a technical note, we really appreciated the special effects. J, a stickler for these things, even noted the recoil reflected by the movement of Rocket's hair, and both of us were impressed by the dragon, which was the most realistic dragon we've ever seen in any film or show (Sorry, Sean Connery).
Soundtrack-wise, we were sold from the first two songs, and sold a second tijme with Bjork's Army of Me, a song that defines the film.