Snyder’s Sucker Punch is a Steaming Pile of Sexist Crap

April 4, 2011

As soon as I saw the trailer for Sucker Punch I correctly guessed that it would be another adolescent boy fantasy masquerading as a pseudo-female-empowerment film.  What I was surprised about however was how the mainstream media and the blog-o-sphere called Zach Snyder out on his disaster of a movie.  Check out some of these excellent reviews:

Learn more about Racebending’s campaign against Warner Brothers whitewashing of Akira

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Transcript

Sucker Punch is the latest movie from Zach Snyder. I’m not even gonna bore you with what the movie’s about because there really is no cohesive plot. And in case there was any question there is nothing even remotely empowering to women about this film. Infantalizing women with pigtails and mini skirts and cutsey little names like “Sweet Pea” and “Baby Doll”… That’s not empowerment, even if they are armed to the teeth.

Snyder is nothing but a parasite trying to leech of the gains of feminism to satisfy his own personal, pornographic, adolescent boy fantasy, which just serves as another example of the male driven backlash against women. Who are you kidding? We’re not fooled by this.

But this movie couldn’t have been made without a major studio backing it, yes I’m looking at you Warner Brothers. I can just picture the Warner executives in their boardroom meeting being like, “Ya this is awesome, we can have it both ways, we can fulfill the desires of the 15 year old boy market by having semi naked chicks and action, and then we can make the girls sword wielding and ass-kicking and women will love it!” I got news for you Warner Brothers, we women, we’re not that stupid!

Incidentally, Warner Brothers is also the company who is attempting to white-wash Akira by casting white actors in the role of Asian characters.

Hollywood, you need to get over the simplistic notion that “sexy chicks doing dude stuff” is somehow empowering. Taking scantily-clad, sexploitation style women and squeezing them into the mold of the male action hero does not make a strong female character. That is simply the men who run Hollywood trying to redefine what a strong female character is and repackage it in a way that is pleasing for male adolescent viewers. …oh yeah and also make a shit ton of money.

Usually in my videos I try to be fairly nuanced about my criticisms of pop culture but this movie, doesn’t have any nuance.

Sucker Punch is nothing more than a steaming pile of maggot-filled, festering, misogynist crap trying to masquerade as female empowerment.

Ya, that, uh, that pretty much sums it up.

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13 Responses to “Snyder’s Sucker Punch is a Steaming Pile of Sexist Crap”

  1. This is a fine criticism and of course, deserved.

    However, please, please enough with the reflexive “adolescent”-dropping. There are grown men (and women) at the helm of these projects. Also, look around in the theater and see who’s sitting in the seats. Lotsa grownups. Indeed it is children and teens we are *letting down* as we churn these out over and over.

    I feel strongly about this as part of my work involves regularly discussing these issues with *actual* teens and children (boys and girls) and I’ve found them quite responsive, whip-smart, and notably lacking in cynicism when involved in a conversation they feel values their input and perceptions.

    We have a responsibility to children and teens – this does not include scapegoating them or framing them as authors of kyriarchal and corporate-driven mindsets and strategies.

    Basque Reply:

    Excellent point, Kelly. I agree completely.

  2. [...] Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch is a Steaming Pile of Sexist Crap [...]

  3. The first time I saw the trailer, I thought it was someone taking anime porn, making it live-action, and marketing it as a girl-power film when it was actually pseudo-porn. I was made more curious about it when I read Nylon’s latest issue, because all the stars were interviewed and all agreed that it was an empowering film. I can’t imagine why, but it would be interesting to pit it against your links. Perhaps the experience of making it was empowering, but the result was still sexist? I’m just surprised, because I have a decent amount of respect for some of the actresses, especially Jena Malone.

  4. Haven’t seen the film yet, so I can’t comment on it myself, but I have seen MovieBob’s review of the film. He writes (and, uh, vlogs) for a geek-culture site, The Escapist, and his review of Sucker Punch is something of your review’s Bizarro twin.

    http://moviebob.blogspot.com/2011/03/escape-to-movies-sucker-punch.html

    All that said, he liked the movie adaptation of Scott Pilgrim… so I make it a policy to take whatever he says with a grain of salt.

  5. Anita, brilliant job here. You know I consider myself a huge feminist, as I blog about it and I teach College, but I fell for the fight scenes, albeit I thought it was silly and sexist to have them dressed as teeny-bopper sex vamps while yielding a sword and machine gun. All the other part, I hated, but when the girls fought and i saw their confidence and power, I don’t know, I sort of envision women being that strong and kick-ass in real life. The fact that women and young girls as so victimized in real life makes me yearn for their power to come out full force — but i did have trouble digesting a lot of this movie. Thanks for the insights.

  6. Oh and for the record, the soppy piece of crap with special effects is meant to be Sucker Punch. One terrible movie that lacks any continuity, is disjointed and barely contains a storyline. that’s what made it a bad film.

  7. Generally I liked it, but the nerd boy stuff does appeal to me. Part of that is because I went into it looking for reasons to call it ‘feminist’. I read a review that called it simultaneously brilliant and stupid, and claimed that it smeared the line between exploitation and empowerment. I think it might of actually done that, though blurring the two isn’t really a good thing come to think of it.

    It did avoid sexualized camera work for the most part. I don’t think there were any boob for butt shots, on the other hand…ridiculous sexy costumes that might make sense in the context of the film but are still unnecessarily sexy. I had to laugh out loud at the concept of swordplay while in high heels.

    The story of forced prostitutes escaping is not very nuanced, it is too cliche. But I did like that they didn’t have everything work out perfectly. I suppose that puts them into a place of weakness, but having them automatically succeed at every step would make the empowerment seem unrealistic and fake. I.E. you can fail and even suffer serious losses but still count as empowered if you don’t give up. And yes there is a story, yes it’s confusing because there are multiple levels of reality to work with. One has to keep track of them all, but yes there is a story.

    Sorry to criticize your master’s thesis, but if men and women are equal, and essentially similar (if not for the beliefs and behaviors of society) then why is a female action hero worse than a male action hero? Neither are realistic. At best such explosion filled conflicts are metaphors for real life. Male action heroes tend to show off their bodies too, though perhaps it isn’t intentionally sexualized as often. Also, perhaps more importantly, if these female action hereos keep showing up, at what point does “action hero” stop being a “male” role anyway? Is heroism inherently male? Violence? Action? Pointless explosions? I have more, but I’ll stop since I didn’t actually read the master’s thesis, yet.

    I also like that in the top layer there is a male adviser, but he doesn’t join them, he certainly doesn’t show the same combat prowess. It’s almost the reverse of the manic-pixie-girl that the previous video described, in that HE exists to help HER. It is implied he’s sort of the guardian angel mentioned at the beginning. He doesn’t rescue them in the top action oriented realities, but he does in the middle one, hard to say which counts more.

    Unfortunately you don’t really explore how it ends up having such matching empowering and dis-empowering elements. You openly admit you won’t go into the details. You just proclaim, “Sexy action heroines! What a cliche! Stop pretending to be feminist Hollywood! Surely with skirts like this and explosions like those there CANNOT be anything more!”

    Sorry to break you movie bubble, but even a geek boy fantasy can have depth, while a intellectual film can lack it. No wonder the Oscars become more predictable each year.

    Iocane Reply:

    Who ever said traditional male action heroes were all that good?

  8. [...] Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch is a Steaming Pile of Sexist Crap Feminist Frequency- includes a list of other links [...]

  9. I was a little annoyed at the rant-ish review compared to the well thought out and detailed reviews you usually do. That is, until the section that goes into how you usually do nuance but “But this movie…. Doesn’t have any nuance.”

    Well said!

  10. I know this comment is super late but I thought better late than never. I went to see this movie with a group of friends because we’ve liked Snyder’s previous films so we thought we’ve give this one a shot. (big mistake) After the credits rolled we all had this weird queasy feeling about all the implied and attempted rapes in Suckerpunch. Seriously, was it necessary? Did it add anything to the character development? Nope! Also, we noticed a disturbing trend with Snyder’s films, he uses rape as a way to make his films “dark” and “gritty”. In 300, Queen Gorgo is raped by Theron. In Watchmen, the Comedian attempts to rape Sally Jupiter.

    I guess what I’m saying is that a gritty action movie can be made WITHOUT using rape for character development. Really!

  11. Yeah, they really left out the sexist crap in the previews. Wathcing the trailer I gathered it took place in a fantasy world and the main character, after escaping some bad family situation, goes on an awesome adventure. The movie itself was a huge dissapointment. What the hell kind of message was it supposede to pass off? Something like: “the only way a woman can fight real oppression is in fantsy land, lol”? I felt disgusted after watching it, along with embarressed, as I unfortuantly saw it with my action movie loving mother, and had to skip by several scenes.