Why Sucker Punch is Smarter than You Think

The main idea behind Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch” is simple – you already have the tools you need to succeed; if you can imagine a way to get what you want, reality will bend to your whim. It’s your basic call to action set upon a backdrop of steampunk Nazi zombies, giant robotic demon samurai, and tons of eye candy in the form of action and nubile young women. It would’ve been a difficult message to get, quite honestly, if it weren’t stated by both the narrator and Dr. Vera Gorski.

Not that there’s anything wrong with eye candy.

I’m not going to disguise the fact that I enjoyed this critically-polarizing film. You either love it or you hate it, and I’m of the former opinion. What I liked most about Sucker Punch is that it’s one of those films that’s so messy with its metaphors that it’s open to over-reading. It is in this context that I can say that Sucker Punch is a smarter flick than Inception. If you’ve already seen the film, read on to see why. If not, and if you hate spoilers, I’d suggest you stop right now and do something better than read my silly little blog.

1. Sucker Punch Doesn’t Spoon-Feed You the Mindfuck

Inception was a brilliant film; an action movie made incredibly cerebral. My main qualm with it is that the script kept explaining to the audience what was going on: you never doubted for once if Cobb and the rest of the crew were dreaming or not (save for the final scene). They constantly explained that “Hey, we’re in this guy’s dream, let’s do this to get out.” It’s a heist film in which the only real suspense is whether or not everything goes according to a plan that’s already been laid out for you.

Sucker Punch, on the other hand, plunges you straight into Babydoll’s mind. It provides the background for the images you see for majority of the movie – the theater, Blue the Orderly, the compassionate Dr. Gorski, the items on Babydoll’s quest, even the faces of her crew – but it makes no clear delineation between fantasy and reality. This is crucial to the movie’s premise, as the main driving force behind Babydoll’s character is escapism; from her abusive step-father, from the asylum in which she was forcibly committed, from her fate in the lobotomy room, from harsh reality itself. The transition is abrupt, just like what would happen when under such intense psychological trauma. You feel lost in the illusion, and eventually learn to accept it, a sensation the film was quite capable of effecting onto its audience. It fucks with your brain, but you never hear its pants being removed.

So is mine, Jackie. So is mine.

2. Sucker Punch’s Characters are Multifaceted in Their Flatness

One major gripe about Sucker Punch is that the film makes no effort to get the audience familiar with its characters. It simply tosses these girls into bizarre fantasy action sequences to the delight of fans being serviced. However, viewers need to realize that majority of the film takes place entirely in Babydoll’s mind. We’re viewing things from her perspective. With only three days to escape, there’s no way she could’ve had an opportunity to flesh out the personalities of her cohorts. This isn’t the narrative cop out it seems to be, either; the characters have their purpose in the film.

Remember that these are all illusions in Babydoll’s head. As such, there is a tendency for the character to project tidbits of her own personality into her crew. Suddenly, you see different parts of what must be going on in Babydoll’s mind reflected by each of the characters: Amber, the action-seeking go-getter; Blondie, the compassionate, scared little girl; Rocket, who shares Babydoll’s desire for escape; and Sweet Pea, the voice of responsibility and reason. Babydoll herself is admittedly and purposefully flat in the fantasy – she becomes the personification of her own will.

Also, they’re hot.

Even the wise man in each of the action sequences has his own symbolism. He is the father figure Babydoll never had in her real life. He offers guidance, encouragement, and life lessons that she desperately needs during these dark times. He cares for her, wanting nothing more than for her to succeed.

3. Sucker Punch Already Told You What Was Going to Happen

Sucker Punch contains one of the cleverest uses of foreshadowing I’ve seen in a while: Zack Snyder gave away the ending the moment Babydoll enters her dream-world. She finds herself in the lobotomy chair, the probe ready to strike her brain, when a voice suddenly yells “Stop!” We zoom out to see that the procedure is taking place on a stage, and “Babydoll” is revealed to be none other than Sweet Pea, who sheds her costume and leaves the performance. This tells you that the story really never was Babydoll’s to begin with: it wasn’t her on the stage. This was all about Sweet Pea’s escape.

4. The Parallelism has a Powerful Meaning

In Rocket and Sweet Pea, Babydoll sees her own relationship with her sister. As her two friends are sisters trapped in an abusive situation in the asylum, so too, were Babydoll and her younger sister trapped with an abusive stepfather. Rocket, as any younger sister would, wants nothing but to run away. Sweet Pea and Babydoll try to be responsible, not taking many risks to ensure their survival. Unfortunately, both sisters die in the course of things, both acting as a sort of sacrifice necessary for the elders’ escape.

Here’s where it gets even trickier: it is at the point that Rocket dies where Babydoll and Sweet Pea’s paths begin to diverge. In her mind, Babydoll had already lost – she went from her murderous stepfather’s clutches into an asylum where no one would hear her out. Sweet Pea, however, still had a chance. It would be through Sweet Pea’s escape that Babydoll would find her peace. Resigned to having lost her life, she enables another like her to live. Sweet Pea is the success, the happiness that Babydoll could not attain for herself. The lobotomist himself said that Babydoll looked like she wanted it. In effect, Zack Snyder has created a parallelism between doom and hope, between resignation and its sublimation.

5. The “Dances” Meant Something

The meat of the movie – the badass, over-the-top action – is widely thought to take away from the movie’s premise. These, however, are brilliant metaphors for what was going on in reality. Remember that Dr. Gorski’s brand of therapy relies heavily on role-playing, and that it takes place in her theater.

Almost each of Babydoll’s performances, then, is a role-playing session with Dr. Gorski. What does Babydoll show in her performances? Violent tendencies and the willpower to achieve her goals, but also compassion for the people she values and a strong sense of responsibility. She never kills people in her fantasies; only monsters and robots. This alone casts doubt on her ability to kill her sister. This makes her an intriguing subject for Gorski, who unfortunately isn’t given the time to consult and save this possibly innocent little girl.

The one performance in which Gorski isn’t present – the one in the kitchen – happens to be Babydoll’s only incriminating “dance”. Something falls short without the psychiatrist’s guidance; in fact, it is in the subsequent action scene in the train where the wise man doesn’t give advice applicable to everyday life. As a result, things fall apart and two people die. We can even see another parallelism here: with Gorski as the mother figure suddenly absent, the entire plan crumbles.

Tell me that isn’t a smart movie.

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184 Responses to Why Sucker Punch is Smarter than You Think

  1. Lauren says:

    This is a smart review too!!

    • Jose says:

      after reading all this and watching the movie on cable………….The movie was over played…….For some one to really take the time to write a review to truely explain the meaning of each scene is just sad……..Inception IS a brilliant film…the madness made sense…….probably because thier was actual good actors and a real story line………the film is getting way to much credit

      • Jack Morrison says:

        inception was a stupid movie that talked to much as explained nothing that why this movie was better at inception the the movie inception.

      • Alli Katt says:

        Um yeah, i’m sorry, but this is their interpretation, jerk. Maybe they loved this movie enough to see it over and over again, like me, and they eventually discovered this. And after discovering this, they took the time to write a badass review which yes, took up their time, but it was their time to give, and any amount of time given to support something you love cannot be misread as sad or a waste. And yes, inception was a good film, but the clues were far more obvious. This film is getting an insane amount of credit from ONE PERSON. Not the whole world. The world seems to have forgotten a lot of this film, so I kindly ask you to research before you beserk.

      • Laura 14 says:

        Dear Jose – You’re getting way to much credit!!! I mean really… Don’t blame the movie if your 2 plain to look deeper in to the meaning of it!

      • Chaz Michaels says:

        @Jack Morrison, what the hell are you saying?

        “inception was a stupid movie that talked to much as explained nothing that why this movie was better at inception the the movie inception.”

        ^How the hell could you possibly make that many errors, no wonder why you did not enjoy Inception, you’re too much of a HUGGY-BEAR [ADMIN’S EDIT] to even comprehend it.

      • Hi Chaz! I had to edit one of the words you used to something friendlier. While I encourage discourse in the comments, I’m now trying to make sure everything comes off a little more civil. Hope you don’t mind! If you do, tell me about it and I’ll edit it back to the original. 🙂

      • najat boutaher says:

        i disagree inception was not brilliant it was a movie designed for everyone to understand the fact they always chew everything for you is just childish any fool can understand the flat plot line on the other hand Sucker punch has a very deep meaning that not anyone can understand
        though i don’t completely agree with this review(it was a great point of view ) i think babydoll is sweat peas physical and “material” side and by being lobotomized babydoll dies which enables sweat pea (babydolls mind so to speak) to be free by escaping reality

    • Halifax says:

      I agree! Great review to a film that requires you to look a little deeper.

    • Hhhhh says:

      You can’t polish a turd. Simple as that. Movie was shit. You can try and find all these little hidden bullshit metaphors and other fake relations, but the movie is literally a big fat stinky turd. You have horrible taste and too much time on your hands to even think about a movie this horribly written, acted, and edited. I wish I had every copy of this movie in existence(including all digital formats) just so I could wipe my ass with them every time I need to poop. Sadly I’d run out only after a month or so because this shit movie didn’t sell many. The digital copies I would just use as trolling material like a Rick Rolled scenario except that is not a horrible song like this movie is horrible.

  2. Larry says:

    Brilliant assessment, good sir. I myself liked the film, and you gave me some new perspective. Also, lemme just say that I am equally annoyed and amused at the people who try too hard to “Inception-alize” this film haha. 😀

  3. promking says:

    Sucker Punch Me..

    liked the movie a lot. I am Zoning Out!

  4. luis says:

    My review was almost the exact opposite of yours, but I don’t wanna start a debate about this because I feel that Sucker Punch is a lot like the Matrix trilogy: the more thought you give it, the less it deserves.

    • Marco says:

      LOL. It certainly is polarizing; no debate there. The main problem with the film – it’s so messy with its metaphors that there are countless ways to interpret it – is exactly why I like it. I enjoy getting a different reading with each view. This is, of course, the opposite of good, effective film-making, but meh. 😛

      • “This is, of course, the opposite of good, effective film-making”

        Only if it isn’t what you intended. I’ve been reading Zack Snyders interviews, and he *intended* for it to be controversial and confusing. So I’d say he made the film extremely effective for what he intended. 🙂

      • I didn’t know that was the intention (or I forgot)! Thanks. 😀

    • najat boutaher says:

      im not even gonna debate this but the matrix was amazing and there is nothing anyone can say about that movie besides that it was a work of art
      but i think the review was pretty accurate just watch the movie attentively a couple more times and you’ll see it

  5. Zak says:

    Well one theory that I’m courting, but not sure how I feel about… is that Baby Doll didn’t exist. There is also the idea that the end of the movie didn’t happen and she was just lobotomized. The main clues to this are:
    A. That when Baby Doll first enters the dreamworld in the lobotomy chair she immediately turns into Sweet Pea in a Baby Doll wig.
    B. Scott Glenn is the bus driver at the end.

    So, this either implies that Baby Doll is imagining everything that happens after Jon Hamm puts the needle in her. The beginning of the movie implies she will probably get lobotomized whether she’s a troublemaker or not. So, she plays by the rules and is instantly lobotomized, imagining herself as the hero to the other characters she saw when she first entered the theatre. This explains how it is “Sweet Pea’s story”. She creates a world where her “sacrifice” saves others, so she can be at peace with her sister’s death. However, nothing of significance happened. Everything after she entered the mental institution (from the dreams to the cops arresting the orderly) was completely fabricated.

    The other interpretation is that it even more literally is “Sweet Pea’s story”. Sweet Pea is the one lobotomized, and she fabricates a hero character to work her out of complacency. This explains why she is the central character (the lead dancer until Sweet Pea comes along, the hesitant participant that becomes the boss, the one who benefits most from the whole dream). Baby Doll is Sweet Pea’s Tyler Durden.

    I’m not sure what I think but I think the theories are supported by evidence in the movie, and proof that while shameless, this movie is denser than Inception.

    Also, Inception was interesting, but a shitty action movie. It had exactly 1 interesting action scene, and the zero gravity fight was too short to be that fascinating.

    • najat boutaher says:

      great theory i think that baby doll is sweet pea’s conscience so by sacrificing herself sweet pea which i believe to be babydolls subconscious is able to be free and at peace in a world that she invented i think that everything from the moment baby doll saw sweat pea is all fiction

    • Hadi says:

      I was thinking in a way that is similar to the second option you mention, I actually expected that near the end of the movie we’ll see the face of sweet pea walking out of lobotomy but it was not. While this movie is a great one, I may need to watch it again to decide which perspective is more evident.

      • Hadi says:

        Besides, the idea of baby doll being the unconscious of sweet pea seems consistent to me through the whole movie except for the end. The end when it is baby doll who walks out of lobotomy got me confused as for who is real and who is not.

  6. mariel says:

    what a great review! you couldn’t have said it better

  7. Ava Adore says:

    You make some freaking excellent points that agree and flesh out things I’ve said in my own review — http://bit.ly/eBytyN — I hope you don’t mind my linking to you and quoting you in an update!

  8. LeoBerlin says:

    Thank you for that great review! Today I saw that movie for the second time here in Berlin. I love the style, the music, the action, the girls 😉
    And now I know that I’m not the only one who thinks that Sucker Punch is more than it seems to be.

  9. This was a very insightful article, and helped me realize some elements of the film which went over my head. Like Ava Adore in the above comment, I took the liberty of quoting you linking to your article from my review.

  10. Addison Lee says:

    Loved the article. I didn’t think much of Sucker Punch. Until now. Good read!

  11. X says:

    i wrote these points after the movie, i just thought i should share my initial thoughts. please excuse me for how informal it is, it is done in a fast and easy manner.

    “Sucker Punch”‘s Plot Points:

    there are 3 worlds
    1. Real (Reality)
    2. Theater (Virtual)
    3. Fighting (Virtual)
    everything that happen in world 3, corresponds with world 2 and
    everything that happen in world 2, corresponds with world 1
    therefore, everything matters
    everything that happen in world 3, is a metaphor for world 2 and
    everything that happen in world 2, is a metaphor for world 1

    she is CRAZY
    step-father is evil, mother die, killed sister, get in mental institude, asylum officials are brided
    these reality is too much for this little girl,
    her brain must generate alternate reality to make her accept it better

    Gorski is the psychiatrist in real life. when she is telling babydoll to dance, she is actually counselling her. DANCING in World 2 is COUNSELLING in World 1.
    because when counselling, her mind can run wild, making her visualise the fighting stuff.

    because of the all the shit that is happening, she thinks that she is weak… or at least it is like ppl are telling her that she is weak and (this is even worst as she is still young and has a weaker mind and perspective.)
    so, she NEEDS to envision herself and her friends as beautiful, attractive and powerful women for her to feel RELAX and CONFIDENT. (Attractive and Powerful are what a teenage would normally want/think highly off.)
    she also imagine herself to be SPECIAL, like her dance can mesmerise people.
    the fighting scenes are also because of this, for her to feel that she is in CONTROL and has the POWER to do it.
    also, with everything that is happening, it is all because of evil and corrupted people, in the fantasy fighting world, she is fighting zombies, monsters, and other evil beings, but never is she killing a good human being. this shows her willingness to let these people have their ways.
    however, in the “dragon” episode, she is hurting innocent baby dragon and mother dragon who is only trying to protect it’s child. this shows her willingness to sacrifice innocent ones for the greater good. which eventually came to reality when she sacrifice herself for Sweet Pea’s escape. however, she is just sacrificing herself, and in the fantasy fighting world, she is sacrificing a non-human being, the dragon is being imagined by her, therefore, somewhere in her subconscious, she knows that it is not real, making this kill to be somehow okay. she have every right to sacrificing herself, making this okay too, for her. and her sacrificing herself for the greater good is what she would wanted because unlike Sweet Pea, she had nothing to go back to.

    • I'c Miller says:

      You make it sound so complicated……

      • X says:

        complicated? it’s not that i over complicate the plot is everyone underestimate and dun understand it. btw, to date, i only seen it once(in cinema). i’m 16, btw.

        and i meant “this shows her UNwillingness to let these people have their ways.” sorry for the mistake.

      • I'c Miller says:

        In my version it is simple…babydoll see’s all of the key elements of how she can escape from the insanity hospital/whorehouse/prison.At first she didn’t understand how to use all five elements until she saw it in the lobotomy/fantasy.She then shares this information with her comrades and they form a plan on how to obtain all of the elements to secure there escape.In both fantasy and reality there goal always remain the same as the events in the real world unfold at random,all the stuff in between is babydoll’s fantasy world.By setting her mind free she has given herself all the things she needed or desired that she was unable to get in life.In the end babydoll used the fifth key element “choice” in order to secure sweetpea’s escape.

        (For all the people that think this movie is a piece of fluff or sexy eye-candy are trapped within the views from the narrow scope of this society)…………….

      • X says:

        i think that because she is crazy, her sub-conscience think of things that she can never thought of if she is in normal condition, except that she doesn’t realize it yet. her subconscience review them to her slowly through scenes she imagine, with help from counseling too.
        btw, another mistake, i was right “this shows her willingness to let these people have their ways.” sorry for the mistake again.

    • veter says:

      In your post you write :“in the “dragon” episode, she is hurting innocent baby dragon and mother dragon who is only trying to protect it’s child“. Actually the baby dragon is the mayor ( owner of the lighter ). The firestones is the lighter. The mother dragon is Blue. There is a scene where the baby dragon lies on the bones of his victims, which represents all the victims he abused. Who brings the victims to the baby dragon ? The mother dragon which is Blue. Blue supplies the orderlies with girls.

      When the mother dragon wakes up, she comes face to face with Baby-doll and they stare at each other. Later in the dressing room, after Blue grabs Blondy by her hair and let her go, he approaches Baby-doll and they stare at each other. Baby-doll is the only girl in the dressing room who can look straight in the Blue’s face without fear. That is because just moments ago she killed the mother dragon.
      Blondy is the only one who was almost swallowed by the dragon. Later ,in the dressing room, she is the only one whom Blue grabs by the hair.

  12. Rob Gibb IV says:

    Thorough review. Loved the first 10 minutes of this movie. It went downhill for me when Babydoll delved into her dream world and yelled “Stop” as Sweet Pea. However, after reading your review I realize there is a noteworthy complexity to this movie. More things are left unspelled than spelled out for the audience. Having said this, I appreciate this movie for it’s plot and narrative script (definitely not the whole script in general), but not for it’s construction. Simply, the action sequences are way too busy. Which is an understatement. I almost stopped watching the movie because of the chaotic (unorganized) chaos — the shots put together that were anything but seamless. This could have been a great movie. Good score, good plot, decent cast. However, poor editing and often cheesy dialogue (especially the father figure, my god!).

    Despite my opinion of the film’s shortcomings, I have the desire to watch this movie again because of your sound criticism. And because Emily Browning is fucking hot with blushed cheeks and blonde hair.

  13. john says:

    I think that baby doll and all the other girls represent sweet peas shadows. Basicaly what goes on in the movie is classic carl jung theory of personality intergartion,

  14. KeeleyGauthreaux says:

    I appreciate the movie much more since reading this review. I saw it a while back, so while reading it I was like “ohhhh, that would make sense”.

    But, I do have a question. I’m convinced the brothel scenes aren’t real, and only in babydoll’s mind ; everyone still tries to convince me that they are working in a brothel while in the asylum? Answers anybody?

  15. I agree with this completely. While I was watching the movie, I didn’t really enjoy it until about half way through. I started getting the complexity of the film and drew the same conclusions at the end as you have described. I truly think your right on, and in the end I really enjoyed this movie. I think its over-all message is powerful and the parallels made are incredibly laid out. I like that in the end it left me thinking. I also am glad everything is a little “over the top” since most fantasies are.

    anyways love your blog, when i recommend the video i’m recommending people read this too.

  16. john says:

    This movie was about abuse and how it alters the life of the person being abused. Remember the step father. He abused the two girls their whole life and how the mother in death left all the money to her daughters. It was the mother’s only way of getting back at him. The lobotomy allowed baby doll to escape all that was happened. She was able to finally help someone escape in her mind only. Yes the man was the father figure she never had.

    This film represents a tragic reality for many!

  17. I'c Miller says:

    To this day i Have seen my favorite movie “only once” and i have understood its true meaning completely the night i watched it in the theater.Only somebody such as myself that has walked in the footsteps of madness can truly understand what the movie is about and how it unfolded.This movie is about struggling threw adversity by using you brain to formulate a plan and following it threw to the very end along with fighting threw madness by escaping into your lobotomy in order to keep sane.There are times that fantasy and reality are connected which is what gives the meaning “it came to me in a dream”…however,in this case fantasy and reality are mixed together which has become one in the same.

  18. Todd Warren says:

    Sucker Punch: A Modern Day Mythology?

    The beauty about the unconscious is that it is really unconscious.
    CG Jung

    I wanted to start this paper with this quote because it reminds us why understanding the depths of Sucker Punch is difficult. We all have an unconscious mind, and our own difficulties understanding it. All the world’s religions, mythologies, and art are made up from our unconscious and collective unconscious, they serve as meditations to gain insight for each of us on our individual journey that we all share. Ideas that deal with the collective unconscious are often called mythologies; I hope to detail how Sucker Punch was conceived to be a modern day mythology, while brandishing one kick ass soundtrack.

    A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
    The Hero with a Thousand Faces
    Joseph Campbell
    The Stages of the Monomyth
    Departure
    This first stage of the mythological journey—which we have designated the ‘call to adventure’—signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown.

    We see this part of the journey when Baby Doll is forced to leave her home after the death of her mother, the accidental death of her sister at her hands, and the scheming by her stepfather to take her mother’s money. From the moment she enters Lennox House, she has entered into the next stage.
    Initiation
    The Road of Trials
    The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. This starts with Baby Doll learning about how the Lennox House functions. This is a slightly confusing time for the viewer of the film, not because of a change in character to Baby Doll, but the shifting of the world they are trapped within. But I will hold out on you a little longer on that topic.

    Refusal of the Call
    Often when the call is given, the future hero refuses to heed it. This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in his or her current circumstances.
    This moment comes when Baby Doll refuses to dance. It is Vera Gorski who tells her what she needs to hear so she can find in herself the power to dance. What the dance is exactly is no important.

    There are many who may thing it is her escape world as she is raped in the mental ward. While this may be true, I don’t see how, ‘Your fight for survival starts now. You don’t want to be judged, you won’t be. You don’t think you are strong enough, you are. If you are afraid, don’t be. You have all the weapons you need, now fight’, becomes, she is pushing away the reality of her rape multiple times in Lennox House. Sorry, just don’t see it.
    In mythology, a hero can be instructed by a wise man or woman. King Arthur had Merlin. Baby Doll has Vera Gorski instructing her how to survive the fantasy world of the brothel and the Wise Man instructing her how to survive the many battles within the dance. She does both have only one purpose, to find freedom.
    Supernatural Aid
    Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his or her guide and magical helper appears, or becomes known. More often than not, this supernatural mentor will present the hero with one or more talismans or artifacts that will aid them later in their quest.

    Once within the world of the dance, she first meets the Wise Man, Scott Glenn. He follows the mythological pattern by giving Baby Doll a gun and a sword that she will need on her path to find her escape from the world she is trapped in, and then tells her what items she will need to collect to complete her quest.
    Map
    Fire
    Knife
    Key
    Which then begin…

    The Road of Trials
    The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation.

    Now here is the problem that makes following the film so damned hard. So far, this whole story seems to be about Baby Doll. It appears that Baby Doll is the ‘star’ of the show. But this is really Sweet Pea’s story. Sweet Pea even tells Vera, “I’m the star of the show, remember?” Baby Doll, Rocket, Blondie, and Amber are all parts of Sweet Pea. Her cast of characters helps her to do things she cannot do. Baby Doll can dance in a way she can’t. Rocket is willing to fight when she wishes to remain safe. Blondie betrays them, when she can’t. Amber remains faithful to the quest and steals the knife, when Sweet Pea has sub come to grief after the death of Rocket.

    The person telling us this story that takes us down the rabbit hole is Sweet Pea. Three times, it interjects with words of wisdom, telling us what is important for us to focus on. It is important to keep this in mind since it is Snyder’s finely crafted image that makes it appear that this is Baby Doll’s journey. However, Baby Doll is Sweet Pea’s hero. It is Sweat Pea’s voice we heard during the movie, telling us in her own words, guiding us, to see the worlds she has seen and come back with knowledge of.
    ir
    First time we hear the narrator
    Everyone has an angel, a guardian who watches over us. We can’t know what form they will take, one day old man, the next day, little girl. But don’t let appearances fool you. They can be as fierce as any dragon. Yet, they are not here to fight our battles. But to whisper from our heart. Reminding that it’s us, its everyone of us that holds the power of the worlds we create.

    Second time we hear the narrator
    We can deny our angles exist, convince ourselves they can’t be real. But they show up anyway, at strange places and at strange times. They can speak though any character we can imagine, they’ll shout though demons if they have to. Daring us, challenging us to fight.

    Third
    And finally, this question, the mystery of whose story it will be. Of who draws the curtain, who is it that chooses our steps in the dance. Who drives us mad, lashes us with whips and crowns us with victory when we survive the impossible. Who is it that does all these things?

    Who honors those we love for the very life we live. Who sends monsters to kill us and at the same time sings that we will never die. Who teaches us what is real and how to laugh at lies. Who decides why we live and what we will die to defend. Who chains us and who holds the key that will set us free. Its you, you have all the weapons that you will need, now fight.

    It is you the viewer of the film that Snyder is telling at the end, now that you understand this, you have your weapons, and now you are ready to go back to the world and fight. We are instructed to go back to our life armed with this knowledge and defend what we see as right.

    • Debbie says:

      Todd, I have read a lot of these interpretations on this great film, and yours stood out. Finally, some-one who gets it! The first time I saw this film, I was going through a traumatic situation and it was everything I needed to hear at that time, it was my Guardian Angel showing me. At the end narration by SweetPea, when she says’ who chains us and who holds the key that will set us free….it’s you…you have all the weapons that you will need…now fight’ I sobbed uncontrollably. That deep weeping that comes from the soul releasing the crap. Afterwards I started to come out of the hole I was in. It’s true, we never know how our Guardian Angels are going to speak to us, they use what they can, a song, a film, a book, something a stranger says to you, a dream. I love this deeply spiritual film.
      Thank you Todd.

  19. XOXOX says:

    There are many interpretations for this movie, to a young one it might seem as though she has had a hard life with horrible fates and her evil father wants her memory taken so she can’t testify. She sees her tools on her first walk through the asylum and has funny thoughts that she might need them later on. So with desperate thoughts, she uncovers her ‘superpower’. Which is persuading with dance. or distracting with dance. To learn how to control her power, her first use of it is the instructions. so when her friends find out about her power they become part of it. Blue knows what they’re doing and threatens them because if they escape, everyone will find out about what he does to them. eg. violence. So kills some so the others will be scared. As for rocket, she just sacrifices as she got her sister into this asylum by the sounds of it. As for the ‘Stop!’ bit, it first thought would be that they’re filming a movie there and just used Sweet Pea as the stunt person cause shes just living there and shes insane so it won’t matter. At the end after the memory wipe, it looks like she still remembers her powers. and saying at the end that US (WE) might have them too.

  20. ninemil says:

    The film could have been infinitely cleverer if they hadn’t mentioned the girl escaping the asylum in the real world – that way the characters in the fantasy world would have just represented individual facets of the main character’s personality, and Sweat Pea’s escape, the disconnection of the main character’s guilt over killing her sister, whilst trying to do something right and just, ala Sweat Pea’s overall personality.

    Sadly, Synder was one step short of a coup de grace, however bleak that might have made the end of the film.

  21. matt says:

    i loved the movie but i was a little confused on what happened when blue (the orderly) shot amber and blondie… in reality did blue actually kill two of the patients? and then he got taken away at the end because they thought he was crazy?

    • Donna C says:

      I think the deaths of Amber and Blondie were symbolism for them being medicated/electroshocked into a near-death-like state.

  22. Lucky says:

    “Only somebody such as myself that has walked in the footsteps of madness can truly understand what the movie is about and how it unfolded.”

    The rest of us are just stumbling around, bumping off walls then? 🙂

  23. veter says:

    I find your analysis very interesting to read. But I disagree on the last point. While the girls are trying to steel the knife, Blondy is telling to Gorsky and Blue everything about the plot. When Blue enters the kitchen, he is destructed by the death of Rocket and Amber succeeds to leave the kitchen with the knife. Without Rocket’s death he would force the girls to return the knife, and nobody would escape.

  24. veter says:

    Part 2
    In the train Rocket can escape despite that her jetpack is damaged. She can grab the ropes, that are intended to remove the bombe , and fly away. But she intentionally shoots at the ropes and cuts off her escape.
    Rocket’s death in the kitchen is an accident, which allows Amber to leave with the knife. In the train Rocket chooses to sacrifice herself so that the girl can escape from the hospital.

    In my previous post the last sentence should be :Without Rocket’s death Blue would force the girls to return the knife, and nobody would escape.

  25. andy says:

    You should write for cracked.com

  26. is not that hard to understand this movie, just a girls who made a mistake is creating a a world in her mind just for understand WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING IN REALITY,, the other thing like the dragon the nazzi zombies or robots are just the people who work for the assylum she has to over past the dificulties in the world she has created (the people who work for blue) in order to make a choice(the key) that is when she knows that the only way she can trully scape her reality is forgetting all she has suffer that why she indentyfing herself with sweet pea both of them had a younger sister and both of them want to scape baby-doll’s makes the choice letting her scape and gettin lobotomized and ”starting from zero”

    -sorry I’m not a writer and English is my 2nd language

  27. Jango says:

    Ur an idiot

      • Cake says:

        Shut it, did you not read the end where he even says “sorry I’m not a writer and English is my 2nd language?” I found several grammatical errors in your silly little blog. By the way, your “blog” was extremely disorganized. You obviously tried and failed to make it sound great and sophisticated just so every comment would tell you that it was so amazing and “dead-on correct.” You didn’t even read epicalan’s comment thoroughly!

      • Hi Cake! Just to let you know, my comment wasn’t directed at epicalan. It was directed at Jango (which is kinda why my comment is nested under his :P), who said “Ur an idiot.” I thought I gave an appropriate response. 🙂

        Before jumping to conclusions and making hasty accusations, let’s examine the structure of what was said, shall we?

        Also, by “blog”, did you mean this post or the blog in its entirety? If the former, could you kindly point out where? I’d like to improve it, if possible. If you meant the latter, I apologize – this is a place for my ramblings (thus the “Ramblings from that skinny dork” portion you see near my header), and is therefore disorganized by nature.

  28. Korina says:

    Great article, if only Zack Snyder was so articulate! I loved the movie and thought along the same lines as your article, but I was still confused about a couple of the metaphors and how the illusions tied into her reality, so I tried to find some guidance on-line, a good place to start I thought, would be from the director, what I found (his explanation) was a big disappointment, I felt that I’d been had and that the whole thing was nothing more than “Zack Synders wet dream” with no more depth to it than an episode of wet shoe diaries. I am stoked to have come across your analysis as it both explains and expands on what I took from the film.

  29. Jb Brett says:

    Zack Snyder would LOVE all these comments because that’s was his vision in bringing this creation to life was all about. He wanted the story to have multiple interpretations, to be analyzed and re-analyzed over and over, and to get people talking about his movie (which I thought was compelling and intriguing enough to research what people’s interpretations and theories of the film were).

    One small piece of information about the film’s direction influence is in how much of the story gets left up to the viewers own opinion of what any given plot is in the movie. Again, this is what the director wants to have happen. By leaving out the obvious clues to simplify the plot and make it universal it it’s meaning, Snyder allows his audience to invest feeling into their own imaginative ideas and it becomes more personal which results in that viewer having some type reaction to the film.

    Whether they loved it or hated it, Snyder gets to enjoy the fact that his style to make the film on a deeper level; add a personal interpretation for each viewer; and blend in mix of action packed adventure scenes and visually stimulating effects makes the film multidimensional and that his directional goal to make Sucker Punch enjoyable to many people on many levels is a success. Even now, I’m contributing to his vision of how he wanted people to see his movie.

  30. Bo says:

    Ha ha! Great review! You’ve confirmed my SECOND thought about the film. That being: “…then again, this may be a film that’s meant to evoke a more personal perception, and everyone is going to understand it completely different from one-another.” Which, by the way, means that this is a GREAT work of ART, as that is the point of art: not that someone likes or dislikes it, but that it makes you FEEL something and HAVE an opinion. If the work does that, then it’s served it’s purpose!

    Now, here goes my long winded FIRST thought about the film….

    I think it’s about the current state of America. I know, “here we go…”
    As in, the state of America if you are AWAKE to the facts. If you still care about football and watch CSI….then you’re probably dumbed down. How do I start this out….well, you can take almost anything from it and apply it accordingly. “Sweet Dreams are Made of These” at the beginning = American Dream (beginning of our nation and what we stand for)…it’s a stretch, I know, but hear me out. Mother dies, they’re on their own…sort of. Under the rule of their stepfather, that abuses them (sounds a lot like how we were treated by the british rule in the early 1700’s). So, she rebelled against him and WON…sort of. Didn’t take long for false “insanity” to set in.

    You may be saying, “how does that apply,” well: America has only been around for 236 years, which is “the blink of an eye” when it comes to historical timelines of civilizations. You’re thinking, “yeah, but what does the insane asylum have to do with it?”

    In case you haven’t noticed, this country has gone into a “lobotomized” state when it comes to awareness of reality. People riot when a college football coach gets fired after keeping a secret about a repeat child rapist….NOT because they’re angry about the children being raped, but because they’re firing the coach, and it will slow down the football season. Insanity. Another example is: look at our media. They tell blatant and FAR BEYOND OBVIOUS lies everyday! Yet, you notice that most of the populace just takes it as gospel and goes about their day….even though the truth is right in their face. You don’t have to look hard for that; all you have to do is actually LOOK & you’ll see it right away.

    Back to the movie – When she first goes into fantasy-danceland (FDL), we find out what she wants is freedom. Rather general, I know, but still in context with what I’m saying. She has to learn to defend herself from what looks like Chinese (they broke pretty easy) robots, just like America has to learn to defend itself from the “politically correct” degradation China has put into America via the overwhelming amount of product it sells to us. She figures it out, but what’s next? Game plan time.

    Keeping in mind, this whole thing is taking place as someone realizing what needs to be done to attain freedom in a place full of crazy people that believe the false reality around them….which is EXACTLY the state of America if you want your freedom/liberty.

    “Remember, You have to stand for something, or you’ll FALL for anything,” very pertinent to our current condition of people that believed Obama would “pay their gas bills,” and supercharge the welfare state. (People ACTUALLY said that he’d pay their gas bills, as well as a slew of other ridiculous uneducated beliefs based on nothing he said).

    Now, the Nazis: nothing but steam and clockwork that keeps them going, so don’t feel bad when you kill them, they’re already dead. What I’m about to say is a stretch, but is still relative…steam is like “hot air,” a term used when someone is telling you a big lie. Clockwork is careful and precise. Al Qaeda has been found, several times, to be CREATED by our own government (Anwar al-Awlaki had dinner at the Pentagon a few times before our news outlets reported that we killed him…the “Bin Laden of the Internet”). So, we continue these wars based on the HOT AIR that “we’ve got to kill these terrorists” yet the reality is much different, and we’ve been fed lies. Our forces actually TRAIN Al Qaeda, as well as direct them. I’m sure many will say that’s bullshit, but, again, awake versus lobotomized.

    Not sure about the dragon thing. Still wondering about that.

    Tyranny: the Orderly/Pimp that “runs” everything believes he’s in control of everything, and that he has power over everyone. But even the insane have moments of clarity, and wake up. He even kills some of them in desperation (a common end to a tyrant). The key to the relevance of this is the fact that the Orderly BELIEVES the fantasy too! As he’s being taken away, he starts spilling his guts to the cops about how these are “his girls” and he says something to the effect of “I’ll tell you all about the money and…” But none of that really happened. So he believed he actually was in control of that fantasy world, and that he was some rich pimp/strip club owner. Like America, those in control (beyond our own system, in the Federal Reserve, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, etc) BELIEVE they’re in control, when the reality is that we just need to ignore them, and justice will be done. What I mean by that is: they keep passing unconstitutional “laws” but the supreme court already ruled, years ago, that anything “passed” by congress that is unconstitutional doesn’t make it a law, as it would be in violation of our rights in the first place. Therefor, NDAA is null and void.

    This may all seem somewhat loosely based, but it seems straight forward to me. It’s just so pertinent that they use a mental hospital where she has to convince them that they can fight for their freedom as the metaphor for America. Since most Americans don’t care at ALL about politics or liberty, it’s as if they all lost their minds and were lobotomized when it comes to enjoying the liberty that was endowed to us by our creator. Whatever he/she/it may be (I’m agnostic). Our country has come to such troubles because our parents didn’t care. They still don’t. Imagine if you gave the officials free reign because you couldn’t give a shit. If I gave you absolute power (with a skeleton to operate through, however), and said “I could check in on you and immediately limit what you do, but I’m not going to do that at all because I don’t care what you do….have fun,” don’t you think that bad shit would happen? That’s just the kind of attention my parents (and my wife’s parents) paid towards this country’s recent development. Who’d’ve thought it would backfire?

    Finally, the sacrifice and final statement: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants alike. It is it’s natural manure.” Both [patriots & tyrants] suffered in this film. Both shed blood in this film. Liberty succeeded in this film. Freedom received it’s child. At the end of the film, a statement is made that solidified my stance on the purpose and message of the movie. That statement is:

    who honors those we love for the very life we live
    who sends monsters to kill us and at the same time sings that we’ll never die
    who teaches us what’s real and how to laugh at lies
    who decides why we live and what we’ll die to defend
    who chains us and who holds the key that can set us free
    it’s you
    you have all the weapons you need
    now fight

    Dissection: Our creator’s given liberty. We’ve been given everything we need to defend our Liberty. The fact that it’s taken us this long to understand this fact, is perplexing. If you want your freedom and liberty, then TAKE IT!!!! The only person holding you back from it is YOU!!!

  31. Colleen says:

    I have heard several theories on what the dances mean (another common one being that the dances/fight scenes are metaphors for being raped by the orderly), and they all make the movie awesome. Thanks for a very smart review!

  32. armypants says:

    The movie was great for me. I decided to read your interpretation first before reading the movie and I understood it very much :)) haha, thanks.
    write more reviews pleaaaaaase! it’s so fun in a nerdy way.

  33. A very good review. I’m too one of those people who absolutely loved the movie. With all due respect, one little discrepancy in your review is the Nazis. Those are not Nazis as it is supposed to be scene from fantasy WWI, those are kaiser’s soldiers, which in my mind is very important, because WWI has unfairly been disregarded lately, and this scene was just brilliant for that.

    Cheers!

    • Are you sure? Because I’m pretty sure the general was wearing a Nazi symbol. Of course, the scene may have been a mix of WW I and WW II or I’m just mistaken.^^

      • Donna C says:

        Having studied World War I for nearly 20 years, I feel certain enough to say it was very much a pure World War I backdrop with no Nazi elements included. If I’m remembering the scene right, it may’ve been the Iron Cross the general was wearing.

  34. Josephine says:

    I am a social work student who has been lobotomized. I google Lobotomy and dream and Carl Jung and found this site ” I had a dream I was lobotomized going through grad school”
    I have been told I am comative and “beligerant” because I have attempted to show the system
    the wrong they have done…

  35. Rob Smith says:

    Great review! I just saw Sucker Punch again, and recommend folks watch it a few times to get the full picture. Your points are all very solid, your analysis is 100% spot on! Thanks for a truly worthwhile read. Prosper in 2012! —–Rob

  36. ArmyOfMe says:

    There are so many different answers and theories people have come up with to decipher the meaning and/or meaningS of this movie. I think the best way to sum it up is this:

    Everyone is in control of their own “world”.
    How we shape that world is dictated by our own doing and experiences. Inside everyone there is a drive of some kind; it is the tool most useful to us. The key is oneself. No one else can fight our battles for us nor win our victories. When times are tough and fate seems grim-hold on, don’t let go. See it to the end. Perseverance.

    “It’s you. You have all the weapons to need.
    Now fight!” – Sweet Pea

    …Blondie’s mine…. Just sayin :p

  37. Pingback: Anonymous

  38. tysh says:

    simplicity is key:
    babydolls parents die, she accidentally kills her sister, the evil uncle wants the money so he pays off the doctor to give her a lobotomy without reason and she doesn’t resist it because shes like “damn my life sucks, might as well escape my reality”. so yes her dancing is probably just therapy sessions and the action sequences could be episodes. as far as the orphanage goes, that’s how she now views the looney bin. damn if I was there id rather be lobotomized too… she had no reason to go on at that point.

  39. Red says:

    This movie really confussed me but I had to watch it like 7 times because I’m not amazingly smart haha. I dont know if this has been pointed out but I think; the high roller is the guy doing the lobotomy and blue wanted to ‘have’ babydoll in the clinic before the guy who did the lobotomy came, but she stabbed him and blue didnt get the chance, which is why in the end he is pissed because he cant really have her because baby doll had already been lobotomised.

  40. mac says:

    excuse my language but fuck the story line just watch the film and enjoy it

  41. mac says:

    oh plus its an amazing film .

  42. Yazi Fresh says:

    I loved Sucker Punch it was a movie tht requited some pretty deep thought. I was forced to c inception 5 times and it annoys me everytime it just didnt grab my attention the way Sucker Punch did.

  43. I absolutely love Sucker Punch. When you think about it, it is a very deep movie with tons of layers and possible interpretations. I also love how it was wrapped up so tightly and basically went in a circle where the whole thing begins with the lobotomy and at the same time ends with it. Honestly, you don’t even have to watch it more than once (although by the second time you get a whole different picture since you already know that the movie is actually all about Sweet Pea). Even the first time you get a feeling for all the underlying parallels and messages…unless of course you are so close-minded and set on the movie being ‘shallow’ that you’re closed off for anything else. Seriously, this movie gives me the shivers everytime I watch it and I recommend it to everyone who loves a good story with “Ah!” moments that WILL give you goosebumps. And the fact that almost the whole cast consists of attractive young women doesn’t hurt one bit.

  44. Jack says:

    I know what’s wrong with the world now. It’s most of you.
    Honestly, what the hell are some of you watching when you watch a movie?
    I even saw the movie ‘Inception’ mentioned and some of you really didn’t get it.
    Perhaps I am simply being too harsh here. Truth is subjective, at least, that’s
    what the new generation of Gen-Y and Z on a diet of Ritalin and other pharma,
    are taught and told so nobody goes away with hurt feelings.
    Thank you for the many laughs with some of your comments. It helps to offset
    the, “I think I’m going to be sick” again feeling with the others.

    • “I know what’s wrong with the world now. It’s most of you.”

      That’s a very strong statement, Jack. Mind elaborating? What exactly is it about most of “them” that brings about wrong things in the world? What effect are “they” having? 🙂

      • Jack says:

        Simply, lack of critical thinking and analysis.
        I’ve witnessed this time and again, for over 20 years, with people discussing what they’ve heard, viewed or read. It’s like reading and comprehension. They are two different skill sets. So if you insult someone by saying, “You don’t know how to read.” Chances are they should be upset. It’s not that they lack reading skills, it’s comprehension. The same with knowing what questions to ask. If you are looking for information on the itnernet, you could find it a lot easier if you have a decent vocabular, a wealth of knowledge already and know the proper words for getting you to the information you are trying to get at.
        So when I read reviews or comments (like on YouTube) of people who state, “I didn’t get it.” it makes me wonder, “What didn’t you get? What movie were you watching and where’s your head at otherwise?”

      • I see the point you’re making, and yeah, it’s a shame some people don’t really have strong critical thinking skills. I do enjoy the exercises being made on these comments, however, as they display one of the keys to developing an analytic mind: effort. It’s the active inquisitiveness that really makes me enjoy the comments people write on this post. 🙂

        Sometimes, the people who simply go “I didn’t get it” are too lazy to try and really think about things. There are a lot of factors that play into this – the spoon-feeding of information by certain educational systems, television, and parenting; the media’s glamorization of the pop star lifestyle over pursuing a life of intellectual excellence (why is it usually the bad guys are incredibly smart?); and a shortage in available reference material for developing those skills are just a few.

        Hopefully, however, we do reach a point in which critical thinking and analysis are given the mainstream respect they deserve, and do not remain as merely the field of intellectuals.

        Thanks for the insight! 🙂

      • LiamAikenFan1 says:

        You REALLY should read Bo’s comment, it will tell you VERY SLOWLY what Jack is trying to say. You aren’t good at comprehending, are you, Marco Sumayao?

      • Hi LiamAikenFan1/Violet/Cake! I actually did read Bo’s comment, and it’s a valid interpretation. It’s also very different from Jack’s elaboration of his own point, which I asked for and he provided. Jack was addressing the lack of critical thinking in modern generations, whereas Bo was making a more subversive argument against a self-perpetuating state of political conflict made possible through self-serving illusions.

        I also did only partially agree with Jack – if you read (and comprehended) my response, most of the people on this comment thread are exercising one of the most important parts of critical thinking: putting in the effort to make an analysis. In that regard, no matter how wild some interpretations are, there is at least the presence of critical thinking, as opposed to just sitting there with your mouth agape. I appreciate that a whole lot.

        Again, I ask you to slow down before making any hasty accusations. 🙂

        Now let me throw a question back at you – why are you using multiple usernames. despite entering the same email address?

  45. Cake says:

    This wasn’t a smart movie. I’m just kidding, I loved the messages and I’m a huge Emily Browning fan! But I think Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events should’ve been produced by Tim Burton.

    • I’m pretty sure Burton would have done a bang-up job, but I do think the 2004 wasn’t too shabby, either. 🙂

      • Violet says:

        I loved A Series Of Unfortunate Events! I was wondering when somebody would mention it (seeing as Emily Browning stars in both movies). Emily is so beautiful, isn’t she? She can really act and sing, too! It’s just a shame Kristen Stewart was cast for the role of Snow White and not her. The entire time I was watching The Uninvited I was thinking “she REALLY could be Snow White!”

    • Violet says:

      But that was a pretty good question, though you COULD have at least put the correct punctuation! I have a question for you- why in the world do you have your first and last name in your header and comments/replies? It goes against quite a few rules on Internet safety, as you SHOULD know.

  46. Violet says:

    There is only one thing about Sucker Punch that really bugged me, which would be their costumes. Babydoll’s is exceptionally decent, but the others are just…. you know… a bit too show-y, if you know what I mean. It was a magnificent movie, anyway! Emily Browning was amazing! Her voice is just wondrous, I cried at the beginning when she started singing “Sweet Dreams.” She so should’ve been Snow White in Snow White And The Huntsman! She looks by far more like her than Kristen Stewart, and Emily can actually act. I watched Twilight with my siblings, stepdad, and mother because we were curious. The first thing we’re saying is “Goodness she can’t act” and next “this is so boring!”

    • I have to agree with the Twilight thing. I tried watching the first film, and had to stop after the first half-hour. It just couldn’t engage me!

      • Violet says:

        I am using a different username because my sisters and I all have the same email address. By the way, why don’t you just slow down and quit making hasty accusations?

      • Violet says:

        “Now let me throw a question back at you – why are you using multiple usernames. despite entering the same email address?”
        Your grammar mistakes here clearly show that your accusation is, in fact, hasty. You should have said “Now, let me throw a question back at you- why are you using multiple usernames, despite entering the same email address?” My sisters and I have made no grammar mistakes when addressing you, so our replies aren’t exactly hasty.

      • If we’re going to get very strict with our grammar here (such as pointing out a missing comma), then the proper statement would begin with “Your grammar mistake here clearly shows…” since there was only one error.

      • Emily Is Beautiful says:

        I fell asleep watching the first Twilight movie in the first ten minutes! By the way, Violet, I completely agree with you. The costumes in Sucker Punch WERE too show-y, Emily Browning is immeasurably beautiful and a great actress, the Twilight movies were a bore, Kristen Stewart should not have been cast as Snow White, and Kristen Stewart is a terrible actress. I have to add on something: every movie with Emily Browning I’ve watched was just the BEST!

  47. Emily Is Beautiful says:

    Marco, you are annoying (not to be rude or anything)! How many times are you going to say “quit making hasty accusations?” You’re the one making hasty accusations; you’re accusing people of making accusations! And don’t you even tell ME to stop making “hasty accusations” because I am merely pointing out the obvious.

    • Hi!

      I’ve been asking you not to make hasty accusations simply because you’ve been accusing me of things without really giving me a chance to explain. For instance – “You aren’t good at comprehending, are you, Marco Sumayao?”; I did explain the difference between Bo’s and Jack’s comments, didn’t I? And clearly that didn’t show any weakness in comprehension.

      There’s a significant difference between the way you and I have been approaching things in these comments. You have been making ad hominem remarks – the example I just gave, as well as “You obviously tried and failed to make it sound great and sophisticated just so every comment would tell you that it was so amazing and “dead-on correct.” You didn’t even read epicalan’s comment thoroughly!” – whereas when I addressed you, I asked questions to clarify your points without making a single statement on your character. There is absolutely no need to resort to ad hominem remarks in this discussion. I’d also like to point out that telling a person he’s annoying, and then following it up with “not to be rude or anything”, doesn’t make the original statement any less rude.

      Also, I’m having difficulty reconciling two contradictory facts in your more recent comments. First, you mention that the reason for the different usernames (Violet/LiamAikenFan1/Cake) was that you and your sisters share a single email address. However, you used a separate address for this username. Did the email address for this comment exist before this point of our discussion? If so, why not use this one to differentiate the personalities I’m addressing? If the email address is new and was created for the purpose of clarifying who I’m talking to, may I assume that the others who spoke more about how admirable Emily Browning is were not named Kayla? Please bear with me, it gets slightly confusing when I read comments of very different tones using the same email address. Consistency would definitely make things go more smoothly, and all these different usernames are getting tiresome.

      As for grammar, thank you for pointing out that missing comma. I admit I missed it. Would it make you feel better if I edited my comment? While we’re at it, I really would appreciate it if you responded to my request for clarification on one of your earlier comments. My question went as follows: “Also, by “blog”, did you mean this post or the blog in its entirety? If the former, could you kindly point out where? I’d like to improve it, if possible. If you meant the latter, I apologize – this is a place for my ramblings (thus the “Ramblings from that skinny dork” portion you see near my header), and is therefore disorganized by nature.”

      Thanks!

      • Violet says:

        Actually, there was one statement on our character, which was “We make a lot of hasty accusations.” Sorry, I haven’t the slightest clue who Emily Is Beautiful is. The email address has the name Kayla because that was our best friend’s name. Also, the missing comma after “now” wasn’t the only grammatical mistake you had made. Before the word “despite” you have a period, though that should have been a comma. Besides, even if that were grammatically correct, you’d need to make “despite” capitalized. Anyway, as I have said, “despite entering the same email address?” isn’t a proper sentence. No, I don’t think you really should go back and edit your comment, as I have already pointed out the mistakes. Don’t you think it would be a bit confusing to anyone who reads through each comment?

      • First of all, there was no statement on your characters. “Please don’t make hasty accusations” is very different from “You make a lot of hasty accusations.” I said the former, which allows for the possibility that you weren’t making one. I phrased it that way precisely because I wanted to leave an opening for a clarification from your side. The latter is, as you said, a statement on your character which I refused to make simply because I don’t know you that well, and because the initial assumption could have been wrong. This is where my request not to jump to conclusions comes in.

        As for asking you whether or not I should edit the comments, I did that out of courtesy because grammar appears to be a major issue for you, and quite honestly, the preoccupation with it is derailing the discussion. I wanted to resolve it immediately.

        Yes, I make mistakes; I even saw that errant period as a comma. I admit it and I appreciate it when someone takes the time to help me correct something. After all, there is the intention to improve my work, regardless of context. That’s why I thanked you. The comment I made eight minutes later was there simply because I wanted to check on what I said. I mistakenly saw the period as a comma, and wanted to point something out because there was a lot of fuss over grammar. Turns out I was wrong again. It happens.

        I must admit, though, that I never anticipated having my grammar dissected here. It’s a very casual blog, and I don’t really pay too much attention to what I write after it’s been posted. It feels a little off, to be honest, because it’s not quite connected to the topic at hand. It’s a distraction.

        See how much better things can be if the comments are made with an attempt to reduce any possible perception of hostility? 🙂

      • Violet says:

        You pointed out the difference after LiamAikenFan1 replied to your request for clarification on what Jack meant. Yes, I have asked her about it… She won’t answer, I think she was having a bad day. Cake, well, I’m not sure if she DID read your reply. She was the first to comment on your “blog” (I put it in quotation marks here because I’m not sure what name would be most appropriate).

      • Violet says:

        No, I only have two sisters, and it can’t have them (to reply to my comment on Emily Browning and Kristen Stewart). You see, neither of them fell asleep during the first ten minutes of Twilight. We just ended up leaving to put in a better movie upstairs.

      • Violet says:

        Sorry, I meant “can’t have been them” not “can’t have them.”

      • Violet says:

        I’ve a feeling you’re going to ask “why, exactly, are you and your sisters using the same email address in the first place?” So, I’ll just save you some time and tell you here.
        It’s actually a lot simpler than most would normally think. If one of us forgets our email address, all she has to do is ask us (her sisters).

      • Violet says:

        Hello, Marco!
        I just wanted to point out that in this comment you thank me for pointing out your mistakes, but in your reply to the correction you say something completely different. Your reply says ”
        Marco Sumayao
        on May 25, 2012 at 9:07 pm said:
        If we’re going to get very strict with our grammar here (such as pointing out a missing comma), then the proper statement would begin with “Your grammar mistake here clearly shows…” since there was only one error.” I have a question to throw back at you- why do you say this eight minutes after thanking me for the corrections? Please give me a straight answer.
        With All Due Respect,
        Violet
        P.S. The world is quiet here.

  48. Chris 2 says:

    As others have hinted at, Sucker Punch is a personal story. It is your story, and it is upto you to give the characters meaning.

    I will agrue this movie goes one step beyond Inception, the Matrix, Dark City, Brazil and other multi-layered reality type movies.

    There are four layers of realities in the movie:

    4)The Combat Scenes during the “dancing.”
    3)The Brothel
    2)The Babydoll’s real world
    1)You, your imagination and your perception of the movie

    Zack Snyder breaks the 4th wall with the opening shot, the curtians opening and the narration. Then again with the ending narration spells it out for the audience. Which it is such a forgein concept, people really don’t “get” that they are part of the movie.

    Zack Snyder is such an underrated director. There is almost always something deeper going on in his movies which people ignore do to his over the top special effects. Most people assume his movies are popcorn flicks but he adds depth. Watch Koyaanisqatsi, and you will never see The Watchman the same way. It makes me wonder how much in his films I miss.

    I will shut up and leave with a quote, which I beleive Sucker Punch is one of the few movies that the quote does NOT apply to.

    “Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn’t give you what you desire – it tells you how to desire.”
    -Zizek

  49. Snoddy James Bukaki says:

    I just watched Sucker Punch for the first time today. I appreciate your interpretation, and like you I also loved this movie. My take was different though; here is a very crude, but quick, translation of Sucker Punch as seen by me:

    First off I must assume (yes I know…ass of u and me) that the movie is Baby Doll’s story….it begins with the real world death of BS’s mother, and the subsequent enraged actions taken by the stepfather upon learning that the deceased mother’s will left all her belongings any money to her girls; thereby cutting off the alcoholic – sexually abusive – gold digging stepfather.

    I have to assume the stepfather had some great need of money and support from his wife. Apparently the discovery of his access to these funds enraged and frightened him. For all I know he may have even killed his wife to gain perceived access to these funds. Perhaps the mother discovered that the stepfather was sexually abusing one or both of her daughters and fearing exposure and loss to funding caused the SF to murder his wife.

    • Snoddy James Bukaki says:

      Sorry….my reply was sent before I finished…..here is the whole response:

      I just watched Sucker Punch for the first time today. I appreciate your interpretation, and like you I also loved this movie. My take was different though; here is a very crude, but quick, translation of Sucker Punch as seen by me:

      First off I must assume (yes I know…ass of u and me) that the movie is Baby Doll’s story….it begins with the real world death of BS’s mother, and the subsequent enraged actions taken by the stepfather upon learning that the deceased mother’s will left all her belongings any money to her girls; thereby cutting off the alcoholic – sexually abusive – gold digging stepfather.

      I have to assume the stepfather had some great need of money and support from his wife. Apparently the discovery of his access to these funds enraged and frightened him. For all I know he may have even killed his wife to gain perceived access to these funds. Perhaps the mother discovered that the stepfather was sexually abusing one or both of her daughters and fearing exposure and loss to funding caused the SF to murder his wife.

      Knowing he was cut off he fell into the plan of using the death of the younger daughter, to pin blame on and commit BS to the insane asylum……….thereby granting him to the perceived “solution” of all his problems. Making certain to bribe the orderly in forging the lobotomy orders wrapped up any “loose ends”.

      Now here is where I get rather crude and quick cause I’m getting tired. Anyway I believe BD created the fantasy world to cope with her grief and to mentally survive the sexual abuse from the employees of the asylum. I think she took faces and items she initially saw during her arrival to the asylum and used them as personifications and props for her escapist fantasies. I believe the girls were real people in the asylum but in her fantasies they represented different aspects of her own personality and psyche.

      I think her “dances (performances)” were mental escapes during rapes at the real world asylum. The first performance was an escape from the rape by the orderlies. In the fantasy the three of them “watched” her first performance. In the real world the three of them were sexually assaulting her in the asylum…….BD lived mentally in her dream world and would enter a “dream within a dream” (thanks Inception and South Park’s Insheepton) to escape the rape.

      Each fantasy within a fantasy, or “performance”, was an escape from an episode of sexual assault being performed upon her back at the asylum. First performance escape from orderlies……subsequent performances escape from the “Zippo lighter” employee, cook, and so on.

      I think BD didn’t want to remember what happened to her mother, to her sister and what she knew was going to happen to her in the asylum. She knew the lobotomy was going to happen in 3 days. All she had to do was survive 3 days and all her “pain” would by gone. The faces and props were just used to create the fantasy and the fantasy within the fantasy. The girls were representations of different aspects of BD’s mind……within the fantasies of course. The mentor in each fantasy was the director of each escape……basically BD’s own mental director for the fantasy escape.

      In the end BD finally gets the lobotomy she’s been waiting for…….in the fantasy world she sacrifices herself to the High Roller (lobotomy doctor)……she does this so Sweat Pea can escape……in the fantasy Sweet Pea is the core BD…..the conscious part of BD that wants to “forget”……the older sister that can’t live with the memory if the death of the younger sister………BD is perceived as happy by the lobotomy doctor at the final moment before lobotomy impact because BD is finally happy……happy that the painful memories will finally be gone.

      In her dream world she sacrifices herself to the High Roller (lobotomy doctor) so SP (BD’s core self) can finally escape……finally forget. The dream world director directs the final step of the plan by getting SP (BD’s core self) on the bus to freedom, to forgetting. Her ability to be happy at the last second to the lobotomy allowed the discovery of her abuse to be discovered and those guilty to be punished.

      • veter says:

        I don’t think that Baby doll was sexually abused by the employees of the hospital. Remember, the dance in the club is therapy with Dr. Gorsky in real world. The orderlies wouldn’t dare to abuse Baby doll while Dr. Gorsky is present.
        Then, after Baby doll stubs Blue, she says to him: “You’ll never have me. Ever !“ It means Baby doll has never been sexually abused by Blue.
        Blue tells to the stepfather: “It’s quite a show, watching them act out who touched them or beat them.“ Notice the word “watching“.

      • Allie says:

        I agree with the statement that – while she’s dancing – she delves into yet another reality to escape the action of being raped.
        I’ve always wondered why SP says in disgust – after BD’s first dance – something along the lines of “it’s supposed to be a dance, not just grinding and writhing”. This, to me, is a possible reference to the actual act of the rape in the asylum. Because she’s trying desperately to escape that first reality, even her remembering the actual dance would make her remember the rape, thus forcing her to slip into another reality to escape it? Does that make sense?

      • Hey, good point! I totally forgot about that line. It makes a lot of sense if read that way. Thanks for the insight! 😀

  50. veter says:

    The following is explanation of the scene where Sweet Pea wears the blonde wig and looks like Baby doll.
    When Baby doll enters the theatre for the first time, Dr. Gorsky is doing the therapy with Sweet Pea. In the club scene we see again when Baby doll is brought by her stepfather and Sweet Pea is practicing a show with madam Gorsky. The blonde wig that Sweet Pea wears means that Dr. Gorsky offers Sweet Pea to play a role of leader to unite the girls and to resist Blue. That role of a leader Baby doll plays later. Or I should say Dr. Gorsky offers Sweet Pea a role of Baby doll.
    Remember Madam Gorsky says to Blue before he shoots Amber and Blondie: “I teach them to survive you.“
    Rocket says to Baby doll: “No one takes a risk for anyone in here.“
    Dr. Gorsky wants to change things in the hospital, but Sweet Pea refuses it.
    Sweet Pea says: “I get the sexy little school girl. I even get the helpless mental patient, right? That can be hot. But what is this? Lobotomise vegetable? How about something a little more commercial, for God’s sake?“ What it means is: Sweet Pea says she can unite the girls so they can stand for each other, but she doesn’t want to risk to be lobotomised. Remember, when Baby doll offers the girls plan to escape, it is Sweet Pea who tries to convince the girls not to do it. Later, when the girls steal the lighter and Blue threatens them, Sweet Pea asks the girls to quit the plan to escape.

  51. veter says:

    In Sucker Punch it is Baby doll who tells the story. Baby doll imagines how Sweet Pea would tell the story one day. Here is why I think so:

    In the imagination scenes there are many things from Baby doll’s life before the hospital. For example, Baby doll’s sword resembles the knife her stepfather is using to open the last testament, and so is her pistol resembles her stepfather’s pistol. Rocket uses the old pistol similar to ones in the stepfather’s office. The statue of angel that is seen on Baby doll’s mother funeral is also present when the girls attack the German trenches. In Baby doll’s bedroom there is a miniature castle, in the third mission happens in the castle. Yet, we don’t see in the movie that Baby doll tells to the girls about her life before the hospital.

    Then there are 6 things that are very personal to Baby doll and which we see in the imagination scenes : the firing gun, the light is going off, shattering the bulb’s glass, the steam, clock, and Baby doll’s sister blood. The firing gun : Baby doll uses her gun in every imagination scenes, except the last. The light is going off : light goes off when the samurais are killed. Shattering the bulb’s glass : the mechanised gunmen shatter like glass when are hit by bullets. The steam : steam escapes from German soldiers’ wounds. Clocks : clocks power the German soldiers and control the timer of the bomb in the train. Baby doll’s sister blood : the samurais have red eyes, so do some of the German soldiers. In the castle, the lava is red. The train has long red lights. Again, we don’t see in the movie that Baby doll tells to the girls about all the things. She is the only one who knows about the thing and can put them in the imagination scenes.

    Next, Baby doll, Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber, Blondie and Blue are not their real names. Remember what Blue tells to Baby doll’s stepfather :“She won’t even remember her name when I’m done with her.“ Were the story told by Sweet Pea, she would use real names. But the story is told by Baby doll after lobotomization and she doesn’t remember her own name, nor the other girls’ names.

    Then, after Sweet Pea leaves how would she know what happens to Baby doll ?

    After Sweet Pea leaves, we don’t know what happens to her. However, we know what happens to Baby doll. If it was Sweet Pea who tells the story, the end of movie would be different.

    Then the scene, where Baby doll is sitting on the chair in the toilet and closes her eyes, shows that it is Baby doll’s imagination. Sweet Pea walks out of the bus station toilet and takes a bus just like Baby doll tells her :“You stay off the roads and you find a bus station.“ Baby doll doesn’t know if Sweet Pea takes a bus. She just imagines Sweet Pea doing so. The fact that Baby doll is in the toilet and Sweet Pea walks out of the toilet gives me impression that Baby doll escapes too. After all, Blue and the orderlies are arrested.

    At the beginning of the movie we see the curtain open, but at the end it doesn’t closes. It shows that she lives in her imagination.

  52. veter says:

    The samurai scene:
    The crows are the girls who are watching Baby doll dance. The three samurais are Blue and the two orderlies. There are three statues in the temple. Each statue stands next to one of the three walls. The statues represents psychiatrists. You can see the psychiatrists when Blue, the stepfather, Baby doll and the two orderlies enter the place where girls socialise. The psychiatrists wear clothes distinctive from the orderlies. After the two girls who started fighting are separated, the psychiatrists take their places against the walls, like the statues in the temple.

  53. veter says:

    Some interesting things about the movie:
    The first mission starts in the temple. At the end of the mission the temple is destroyed.
    The second mission starts in the destroyed church and ends in the air.
    The third mission starts in the air and ends in the castle.
    The fourth mission starts from the helipad which looks similar to the platform on which the dragon’s nest was located.
    After Baby doll is lobotomised, Blue takes her to the toilet. Sweet Pea walks out of the toilet and gets on the bus.

    Baby doll’s bedroom and decorations on the scene where Dr. Gorsky makes therapy with Sweet Pea look similar: the decorative arc behind Baby doll’s bed; the door that leads out of the bedroom; the decorations on the walls.

    In Baby doll’s bedroom, on one of the shelves of the arc located behind her bed, there is a castle. The third mission happens in the castle.

    Mme. Gorsky’s stick has a decoration that looks like an empty shell of a cartridge.

    The statue of an angel that one can see on Baby doll’s mother funeral is also present in the second mission. One can see the statue when the girls hide behind the brick wall.

    In the baby dragon’s nest there is a human skeleton with a hat. The hat looks like British military helmet of the First World War. The similar helmets are seeing when the girls are walking by the British soldiers in the trenches. If mother dragon is Blue, baby dragon is the mayor, and skeletons in the nest are victims of mayor’s abuse, then the helmet in the nest means the mayor abused males patients of the hospital as well.

  54. katerina says:

    I honestly love this movie to me it was very good and always made me think when I was watching it what is really going on whats the story behind all of this?? some of you had said that the costumes were too flashy or revealing but im a 16 year old girl and i dress normal maybe short shorts but my butt isn’t hanging out nor are my boobs hanging out either.. but im 16 these girls in real life are above the age of 18 the outfits showed during the fighting scenes that women can be sexy and POWERFUL at the same time not just sexy and vulnerable….it’s not like they were running around in bikinis? and for those of you saying that baby doll is crazy!? no she isn’t maybe you need to watch the movie a couple more times to get where shes coming from also if you didnt enjoy it because its stupid?? a movie or thing isn’t just stupid there has to be a reason behind it…I believe if you truely hated it for no reason youre not a very deep person its movies like these that I crave for that make you think outside of the box not just lay it all out for you…another movie that I like that has Emily Browning in it is The Uninvited check it out pretty good if you love movies that make you think deep….BTW sorry if my grammar?punctuation sucks its like 3 in the morning where im at… ❤

  55. Knight #94 says:

    Maybe we’ve all been lobotomized,maybe we’re all in an asylum being abused and to get away from this we slip into our dream world which just so happens to be talking about a movie which could be the story of one of our fellow asylum occupants. It was a great movie, didn’t hear the zipper but im feeling that mindfuck.

  56. rob says:

    i just watched “sucker punched” and read your review to see if there was anything i “didnt get”. your review is well thought out and pretty much was what i got out of the movie, but one thing you brought up (the part about the enactment of the lobotomy on stage with sweet pea) started me wondering if there was any way that all of these girls were actually the same girl and the scene where she kills her sister by accident was actually part of the mental fantasy. kinda like that john cusack movie “identity”. otherwise, why would it make sense for sweet pea to be acting that out? even assuming that was a way to show the story was about sweet pea’s escape, it still doesnt make sense to me that sweet pea would be acting out babydoll’s fear. any thoughts??

  57. Laura says:

    I loved that I knew how it was going to end it made me able to relax and enjoy all the craziness and non sense of the movie 🙂 it was great and had so much depth. But it wa smooth and easy to swallow. Great movie!

  58. alexxrae says:

    Favourite movie. Some people just don’t get it. Love the review

    A.

  59. Ana says:

    I love the movie, watched it a couple dozen times.. i also love this review, and the comments. I think that the metaphors that blanket this film are meant to interpreted differently by each person, and that’s, what I think, makes this movie so fantastic. Because, everyone can find the person they most relate to; The go-getting Amber, the compassionate, shy girl Blondie, the responsible, reasoning Sweet Pea, self-sacrificing and all-for Rocket, or even the traumatized, lost, and somewhat numb Babydoll. I think everyone can get a little bit of themselves through these characters, metaphors, advice, and the overall understanding for this movie. I myself find myself to be more like Babydoll, honestly, the lost little girl who uses fantasy to escape from reality, and ready to sacrifice myself (sanity, happiness, blahblahblah) for the great good of my friends, family ect. This movie is great, the almost so obvious that they’re almost not obvious metaphors are great, the cast (in my opinion) is great, and the greater message behind the film, whatever that may be to you, is great. I love the movie, and I’ll probably watch it another dozen times more. That’s my shpeel.

  60. Suyapa Pineda says:

    I think this was a brilliant review and I loved that you thought deeper when other people clearly did not. I lived every minute while reading the review!!! :))

  61. Jess says:

    I loved this movie the first time I saw it and it is exactly because of your review that I love it and have watched it several times since. This movie has so many layers and interpretations to it which make it a brilliant film. I don’t care if the characters weren’t “developed” she had 5 days in a mental asylum. There’s no way you can form deep relationships between five girls in that short amount of time. Think of real life people. If you look at it from a video game perspective It’s the same in any great video game, the side characters are never developed fully because they don’t need to be and can’t be. They are there to help out the main character and if they have a deeper role to play than at first appearance their stories are told later on. Just think about Final Fantasy. You never get the whole story until the end of the game and even then sometimes there’s a cliff hanger depending on if there’s a sequel or something. If the movie was about the relationship between the girls it would’ve been an entirely different movie. I’ve never even thought of comparing it to Inception because I just think this movie is so different from that one but now that so many people have mentioned it I can see the parallels. This movie takes the meaning of live action anime to a whole new level and I truly believe that the movie is so deep and complex that I think only those thought provoking individuals who actually take the time to understand it and look deeper into it can appreciate the movie. From the outside the movie may in fact suck but if you can appreciate the inner workings of the movie than its so good!!! But I can understand where people come from in saying they don’t like this movie. It’s not for everyone but I love it. Thank you for giving me a new perspective about the movie. I never thought of those things before and I may have to just watch it again to see things from your point of view!! 🙂

  62. I just watched the movie the other day. At first I was confused, but after reading many explanation including this one, it really helped me come to my own explanation.

    I see many explanation about multiple layers of baby doll’s escape from reality or fantasy. But I think it was actually two separate minds we were witnessing, sweet peas for a majority of the movie as the bordello and baby dolls’ for the mission/action portions.

    From the beginning of the movie to the part where baby doll is about to be lobotomized is baby doll’s story, as soon as it goes to sweet pea’s face on the stage the movies switches to sweet pea’s delusion or reality. Most likely prior to baby doll’s arrival, she (sweet pea) was the “star” of the asylum and demanded the most attention and got it from the orderlies and psychiatrist. Before the transition, they show sweet pea sitting and listing to Blue and the step-father talking about the lobotomy.

    To me, this would make sense why we have this bordello atmosphere, since sweat pee has been in the asylum for some time know, she understands how it works. How they are raped/assaulted, and the established names and roles for the orderlies.

    As for the dances being assaults/rapes, im not 100% sold on this, I think the dances were sessions with the Dr.. Blue says in the scene that the dr. uses “polish therapy, its really quite a show watching them act-out who touched them or beat them or whatever…”. My guess is that baby doll dance(session), could have been very expressive and explicit on how she was assaulted and/or molested by her step-father. Also, in almost all the dances, the Dr and all the girls are present and seemed to have enjoyed it and encouraged her with applause – which doesnt make sense to me if it was assault or rape but would make sense in a group therapy environment. Another thing is why near the end when Blue is trying to rape baby doll in the dressing room he’s fiscally forcing himself on her, its not a dance. It also would make sense why Blue showed so much interest and almost seemed uneasy at first with baby doll’s dances, he wanted to insure that no incriminating information would be revealed about the step-father.

    I also noticed that when they would go to a mission scene to obtain one of the items, they would always focus and move close on baby doll’s eyes, like at that point we are entering her head and her delusions. Its obviously a different world/mind. In this world the owner wants to be powerful and fearless, unlike the bordello world. This would make sense to me that we are now dealing with baby doll, someone who has assaulted, lost her mother, no real father, and accidently killed her sister trying to defend her.

    As for the ending scene we see the “angel” only present in baby dolls world now in Sweat Peas. I think it is because the angel was done with baby doll as she now has her “freedom” from her reality. Now he’s helping Sweet pea, or perhaps was helping sweat pea all along and at the same time helped baby doll to get her’s.

    Please forgive me as Im a horrible writer, but I hope my ideas make some sense.

  63. QuYahni says:

    This review rocks! I found it to be highly insightful. I have had the movie sitting in my DVD library for nearly 6 months and only watched it a week ago. Almost from the beginning I knew it wasn’t a depiction of a literal, but a psychological journey. It actually pointed to some of the coping mechanisms I used while growing up, having overcome a similar childhood. Very powerful. Thanks heaps; you’ve helped me explain it to some folks who were annoyed by it, simply b/c they didn’t completely understand it.

  64. Mark1957 says:

    Great review.

    My own take, which might or might not mean anything to other viewers is;

    The whole story takes place inside Sweetpea’s head. She is the narrator, she says “I am the star of the show, after all”, Babydoll tells her, “It was never about me, this is your story”.

    The basic back story we can accept as very likely is that Sweetpea feels guilty for the death of her younger sister and this caused her mental illness. Whether her parents are still alive or not is hard to say for sure. Who were the couple sitting in the asylum lobby while she was being admitted? Why did Rocket make Sweetpea promise to “Tell Mom I love her”?

    The “wiseman” character is, most likely, Sweetpea’s therapist, guiding her on the road back to sanity. Remember the bus is going to Fort Worth – “The city that saved itself”. I’m not sure of the reference to “coming from Hartford”, perhaps an oblique reference to that city’s Asylum hill district, home to Mark Twain who was quoted in the film. But the statement “we have some way to go” tells us the journey is not over, the lobotomy of Babydoll is not the end point.

    The asylum itself is probably the closest thing to actual reality, but as seen through the eyes of the mentally ill Sweetpea. Everything here is dirty, worn or falling apart, the first view of the asylum is a clichéd image of a gothic-horror asylum. The male staff are predatory and threatening, possibly true or again possibly a reflection of her mental state.

    When we first see Sweetpea, she is on a stage, in a set, sat on a bed, just like the stage and set and bed we saw Babydoll sat on at the beginning of the film. Dr. Gorsky is telling her, “All is safe, you control this reality you create”. A clear indication, to me, that the story is told/imagined by Sweatpea, probably as part of her therapy sessions. Babydoll and the others, might or might not be real patients, but here they are used as characters in Sweatpea’s story of her recovery.

    When Sweatpea was in danger of losing Babydoll, her “angel”, as described in the opening narrative, to a lobotomy, we are switched to another imagined reality, to stave off that possibility. Here we see Sweatpea in the chair, dressed as Babydoll about to be lobotomised and calling a halt. She is in control of this reality and refuses to lose her only hope; Babydoll. Still she is reluctant to fully accept her and fobs her off on Rocket.The club/bordello is another incarnation of a place where Sweatpea feels threatened and powerless, despite it being her creation. The girls are made to “dance” for the clients/doctors and each has their own unique dance. Based on which the client/doctor chooses them.

    When they dance or go to the backrooms with a client/doctor, these are therapy sessions, painful, personal and humiliating, perhaps somewhat like being forced to be a sex slave.

    When Babydoll dances and we go to the reality of the fantasy action scenes, this is Sweatpea literally fighting her demons and gaining the tools to recover. Unfortunately, recovery means giving up her comforting illusions along with the damaging ones. So we see, first the loss of her “reincarnated” sister, then one by one the others, until finally Babydoll sacrifices herself for Sweatpea and Sweatpea can move on.

    The asylum/bordello is set on fire. Remember the key? Mount Pleasent was an asylum notorious for its barbaric treatments, particularly lobotomy, but was burnt down in the thirties. which I suppose symbolises an attitude of “no going back”.

    All in all a fantastic movie, with lots to stimulate the enquiring mind and packed full of kick-arse action too.

    • Whoa, you mentioned a lot of things I didn’t notice at first! I guess this calls for yet another viewing for me, hahaha.

      Thanks for the insight! 🙂

    • veter says:

      To Mark1957 ,
      Your review is interesting, but some things don’t make sense.
      You write: “The basic back story we can accept as very likely is that Sweetpea feels guilty for the death of her younger sister and this caused her mental illness.“
      and
      “When we first see Sweetpea, she is on a stage, in a set, sat on a bed, just like the stage and set and bed we saw Babydoll sat on at the beginning of the film. Dr. Gorsky is telling her, “All is safe, you control this reality you create”. A clear indication, to me, that the story is told/imagined by Sweatpea, probably as part of her therapy sessions.“
      How do you explain what Dr. Gorsky said after Baby doll is lobotomised: “ Her mother’s death plunged her into a deep depression. And then in a fit, she accidentally killed her sister.“
      and
      Rocket said to Babydoll after the second dance: “I ran away from mine. Sweet Pea followed. Which is crazy, because she never even had a real problem with Mom and Dad.“

      I don’t mean to offend you, but your review raises more questions then gives answers.

      To be continued…

  65. Sequoia says:

    To Marco and Mark1957 thank you both SO much for your insights into this film. Some of your points and conclusions mirrored mine but you both went so much deeper into everything. I landed on this page because I have seen this movie about 100 times and everytime I question the connection and significance of the Wise Man; because I know there has to be one.

    I caught this movie in the middle the first time I saw it, so the first draw to me was the soundtrack. That is what initially tied me to this movie. The actions scenes were just insane. For some they were over the top, for me they were perfect. No different than playing a video game (which if they haven’t already, they should make). The more I watched the movie the more I got into the actual story.

    Mark what you said makes perfect sense and I could totally see how this could actually be Sweet Pea’s story. One assumes, like I did, that because Ms. Browning was the star of the movie that it was her story being told. Now I can totally see how she could actually be the angel in this story, allowing Sweet Pea to survive the asylum.

    On a side note, the first couple of times I saw this movie, I was disappointed that Baby Doll’s dance sequences were not shown but after about the third time I saw the movie I realized that the sequences were gateways and not meant to be seen. That made me love it some more. LOL.

    Thank you both for your assessments of Sucker Punch, a movie filled with originality and awesome music. And now… I return to watching it… It’s on right now. LOL.

  66. Mr Good Cat says:

    The movie is about a messed up girl who can’t cope so she makes up other worlds to escape from the world she is in. But what makes it interesting is her guardian angel who is in the dream world and in the reality world who helps rocket escape. Did he labotomize her you heard a bang but no mark on her head almost like she was in a trance or having a breakdown.

    • Mr Good Cat says:

      Actually I have been thinking and not one of you has mentioned this so it is worth mentioning you want to understand Sucker Punch that’s easy watch One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest they are one and the same.

  67. Rodney Owens says:

    I noticed what everyone else noticed, that the opening starts on a stage. And the next time we saw that stage again, was Sweet Pea on it.

    I went back to the beginning to look at it in that perspective. By the time we do see Babydoll’s face, we were already seeing a memory sequence, which is more likely be Sweet Peas’. That then, changed everything of how I saw the film.

    I think Sweet Pea created Amber to deal with her fear, Blondie to deal with her perceived betrayal by others, Rocket ( firing bullet? ) to deal with guilt or the need to protect her younger sister. Sweet Pea’s newly created character, Babydoll, was created to come to terms with real events that had happened. The death of all characters was Sweet Pea letting go her coping mechanism on her stage therapy. And the final letting go of Babydoll, removed the final need to rely on fantasy to face reality.

    The parallels I found, was that the rescuing of Rocket from the chef, and the death of Rocket in the chef’s hand, could be replacements for memories of Sweet Pea’s sister and their stepfather. Dr. Gorski’s words to all five girls’ characters, fit perfectly as therapy session of Sweet Pea. So was Dr. Gorski’s ( the film’s ) start and stop of music to address key issues and events. Sweet Pea’s opening and closing narration would also fit this interpretation nicely.

    Some other things I saw, was that Sweet Pea took a peek at the map, then, Babydoll did exactly the same, before we were introduced to other things Babydoll picked up. Also, right before Babydoll got her lobotomy, Sweet Pea asked for the music to stop, the music which was played by Dr. Gorski on her therapy stage. In the final attempt to escape, the brothel looked more like the asylum than the club, which might suggest letting go of the club’s facade and coming to terms to deal with the immediate issue at the asylum.

    Maybe I’m just too reluctant to see it in a depressing manner ( due to the film’s fun tone in action sequences ), but in this perspective, in reality, Sweet Pea had been on that stage throughout the whole film. But she was getting better and better, which may lead a eventual denial of lobotomy by Dr. Gorski. Sweet Pea was remembering and revealing the deal between her stepfather and Blue, by letting go of her guilt of that fateful accident. Confronting whether she should accept her fate or free herself ( Babydoll ). Sweet Pea seemed to accept her fate at the beginning, with Babydoll wanting freedom. But by the end, Babydoll’s fight to be free was passed on to her real self, while her compliance to unjust treatment died with Babydoll. Despite that she knew it would be a long and lonely journey leaving those coping mechanisms behind.

    Anyone else see it this way?

    I still have mixed feeling in this juxtaposition, though. Fight fantasy sequences were fun and cool, but there’s nothing fun and cool about coping with such issues. It might make sense to *us* that Sweet Pea would deal with her pain by imagining both her stepfather’s control, and Blue’s control, to that of a brothel, and the only way to live was to survive ( that is until Babydoll was created ). But it somehow felt more demoralizing than empowering.

  68. veter says:

    To Mark1957

    I think the whole story is Babydoll’s imagination. Babydoll imagines how Sweet Pea would tell the story once free and safe . That’s why we hear Sweet Pea’s voice but don’t see her saying the narration.

    Babydoll, Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber and Blondie, these are not their real names. After the lobotomisation Babydoll doesn’t the names anymore. Remember, Blue says to Babydoll’s stepfather:
    “…she won’t even remember her name when I’m done with her.“
    I think Blue isn’t real name as well. But Dr. Gorsky keeps her name , I haven’t figured out why ?

    At the beginning of the movie the stage and curtain of the asylum’s theatre is shown. It means that Babydoll tells the story from while she’s in the asylum. I mean when an author shows his play in London, then it’s done on a stage of London’s theatre. When an author shows his play in Paris, then it’s done on a stage of Paris’ theatre. When Babydoll shows her play from the asylum, then it’s done on the stage of the asylum’s theatre.

    In the imagination scenes there are many things from Baby doll’s life before the hospital. For example, Baby doll’s sword resembles the knife her stepfather is using to open the last testament, and so is her pistol resembles her stepfather’s pistol. Rocket uses the old pistol similar to ones in the stepfather’s office. The statue of angel that is seen on Baby doll’s mother funeral is also present when the girls attack the German trenches. In Baby doll’s bedroom there is a miniature castle, in the third mission happens in the castle. Yet, we don’t see in the movie that Baby doll tells to the girls about her life before the hospital.

    Then there are 6 things that are very personal to Baby doll and which we see in the imagination scenes : the firing gun, the light is going off, shattering the bulb’s glass, the steam, clock, and Baby doll’s sister blood. The firing gun : Baby doll uses her gun in every imagination scenes, except the last. The light is going off : light goes off when the samurais are killed. Shattering the bulb’s glass : the mechanised gunmen shatter like glass when are hit by bullets. The steam : steam escapes from German soldiers’ wounds. Clocks : clocks power the German soldiers and control the timer of the bomb in the train. Baby doll’s sister blood : the samurais have red eyes, so do some of the German soldiers. In the castle, the lava is red. The train has long red lights. Again, we don’t see in the movie that Baby doll tells to the girls about all the things. She is the only one who knows about the thing and can put them in the imagination scenes.

    At the beginning Sweet Pea says: “On day, old man. Next day, little girl.“ Remember, first the Wiseman acts as a guardian angel for Babydoll, then Babydoll acts as a guardian angel for Sweet Pea.

    Then the scene, where Baby doll is sitting on the chair in the toilet and closes her eyes, shows that it is Baby doll’s imagination. Sweet Pea walks out of the bus station toilet and takes a bus just like Baby doll tells her :“You stay off the roads and you find a bus station.“ Baby doll doesn’t know if Sweet Pea takes a bus. She just imagines Sweet Pea doing so. The fact that Baby doll is in the toilet and Sweet Pea walks out of the toilet gives me impression that Baby doll escapes too. After all, Blue and the orderlies are arrested.

    To be continued…

    • veter says:

      Sorry, there is an error in the second paragrph, the second sentence. It sould be: After the lobotomisation Babydoll doesn’t remember the names anymore.

  69. veter says:

    When we see Sweet Pea wearing the blonde wig, she is in therapy with Dr. Gorsky. The scene of lobotomisation and the blonde wig is Dr. Gorsky’s idea. The blonde wig means that Dr. Gorsky wants Sweet Pea to be a guardian angel for the other girls, just like Babydoll becomes later. The scene of lobotomisation means that if Sweet Pea becomes a guardian angel, she at risk to be lobotomised. But Sweet Pea doesn’t want to be a guardian angel. So she says to Dr. Gorsky: “You gotta help me. I’m the star of the show, remember ?“Before the first Babydoll’s dance, it is Sweet Pea who is the star of the show, or a leader to the girls. That’s why Dr. Gorsky offers the role of a guardian angel to Sweet Pea. In other words Sweet Pea says to Dr. Gorsky, I’m the leader and if I don’t like your idea of a guardian angel, then none of the girls will follow you.

    Why Sweet Pea is a leader ? Because Sweet Pea is Blue’s favourite girl. Remember, just before Babydoll starts her first dance, Blue enters the room. Sweet Pea walks and stands next to Blue. Sweet Pea is the only one among the girls allowed to drink alcohol. It is Sweet Pea who calls Blue to see Babydoll dance. Sweet Pea thinks she has control over the life in the asylum, but she is wrong. Remember Sweet Pea says to the girls: “I’m only doing this because you guys would get caught without me, okay? “ But they get caught anyway.
    Later Sweet Pea says: “I came to keep you from getting killed.“ But Rocket dies.

  70. v says:

    This movie mind-blew the fuck out of me, thank you so much! I was hurt that you insulted Inception, but your right. This movie was SO much smarter than I originally hoped.

  71. veter says:

    To Mark1957
    When Babydoll says to Sweet Pea :“This was never my story. It’s yours.“, she realises what Wiseman meant when he said :“The fifth thing is a mystery. It is the reason. It is the goal. It will be a deep sacrifice and a perfect victory. Only you can find it. And if you do, it will set you free.“ Babydoll knows that she has to make that “deep sacrifice“- attract attention of the guards, so that Sweet Pea can escape. And “a perfect victory“ is to get Blue, the orderlies and the stepfather arrested. So, “This was never my story. It’s yours.“ means that it’s Sweet Pea who gets the chance to escape and tell her own version of what happened. Babydoll stays in the asylum and imagines that Sweet Pea tells her- Babydoll’s version, which we see in the movie.

  72. Michael Klein says:

    Great write up, just saying something I’m sure another commenter had already said. They’re not steampunk nazi zombies, more correctly steampunk German zombies being that scene is set in World War I. Sorry just had to say that. Again good write upz

  73. haritz says:

    This is the first review I read where the dances are tied to the theatre performance in the asylum, I saw this right away and was surprised nobody mentions it. The dance sequences are these fantasies being performed by her so vividly, she stuns anyone viewing her.
    The first time I saw the film, I thought it wasn’t bad just strange, from the reviews I’ve read, this is saying a lot.
    I still think the plot has major holes:
    The characters are killed (maybe lobotomized) and the Dr is threatened by Blue, but she doesn’t seem to mind, however a signature forgery immediately has her calling the police.
    If the characters are lobotomized, she again doesn’t seem to care who is approving these given she is the one to be asked.
    The fire and alarm does not alert the guards outside.
    Blue repeats he’ll be making a fortune with her (by conserving her virginity) but this doesn’t tie up with reality where her “devirgination” equals to her lobotomization, there is no reason for him to hold off whatever he wants to do to her.

    I think the initial scenes are all Sweet Pea’s performances and they stop when she see’s baby doll being delivered to the brothel, hence the brothel itself is SweetPea’s fantasy. The very first scene of the film is the current set on the theatre. Given this I will not consider as plot holes:
    The police not interrogating the murderer, she was 20 after all.
    Babydoll not telling the Dr. what they were planning to do with her, even though she heard it clearly.

    I think they could’ve found a better story in which spend all those millions.

    • veter says:

      Haritz , I think you missed the plot.
      You write :“The characters are killed (maybe lobotomized) and the Dr is threatened by Blue, but she doesn’t seem to mind, however a signature forgery immediately has her calling the police. If the characters are lobotomized, she again doesn’t seem to care who is approving these given she is the one to be asked.“

      Remember, Rocket , Amber and Blondy are killed, and Mme Gorsky is threatened in the club scene-imaginations. The signature forgery happens in the asylum-reality. I think the death of Rocket, Amber and Blondy means lobotomisation. When Blue threatens Mme Gorsky , it means to show that in the asylum-reality, Blue treats Dr. Gorsky with disrespect. Remember, Gorsky is a doctor. Blue is an orderly, but he acts as if he has more authority than Dr. Gorsky does.
      Dr. Gorsky knows that Blue and the orderlies abuse the girls. She thinks that there is somebody in the administration of the asylum who protects Blue and signs the authorisations for lobotomisations. Dr. Gorsky says after Babydoll was lobotomised :“I wasn’t given much time, you see. But I don’t agree with this solution.“ Dr. Gorsky understands that if she denounces Blue to the police she must have a solid evidence against him so he goes to prison. Otherwise, Blue would hide his activities and try to get rid of her. She knows that if she looses her job in the hospital there would be nobody to help the girls. On the one hand, Dr. Gorsky pretends that she doesn’t care about what Blues does to the girls, on the other, she uses her therapy to make the girls to stand up for each other. Dr. Gorsky does it so covertly that nobody, not even Babydoll suspects at the beginning that Dr. Gorsky is the Wiseman.
      Dr. Gorsky says to Babydoll : “You see your fight for survival starts right now. You have all the weapons you need . Now fight.“
      Sweet Pea repeats the last two sentences at the end of the movie.
      The Wiseman says to Babydoll :“These are your weapons. When you take them you begin your journey. Your journey to freedom.“ Oh, and one more thing : defend yourself.“
      So, when Dr. Gorsky sees that her signature is forged, she realises that it is Blue who did that. She calls the police and gets him arrested.

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  75. Kiera says:

    I really liked everything that you said! And I love this movie! But I do like the extended version better. Not sure if you have seen it but in the end when the doctor (who is also the high roller)
    Said “it was like she wanted me to do it” at first I though why the hell would she want you to do that really! But watching he extended version it makes a little more sense to me…
    babdoll kicks the man and he goes to strike her well in the extended one he does and she wakes up in a bed and her clothes have been removed and the high roller starts talking to her saying he will not be with her unless she comes to him Willingly as he talks to her he tells her that if she does he promises her freedom away from everything he will get her out and she will never have to worry about anything again. As she removes his shirt he tells her to keep her eyes open as he lays on top of her.. As he goes to “enter her” he looks in his eyes and then it flashed to him hitting the metal into her… That’s when he said “it was like she wanted me to do it” now to me it’s taken 1 of 2 ways… 1 he was preparing her for what was about to happen (she was preparing herself mentally) and that’s why she looked at him like that and Knowing that this although sad would bring her a kind of peace from all the bad… Or 2 her living in her mind she wanted to be with him because of these promises and it couldn’t happen so when he goes to she snaps out of it… Either way it is kinda sad but a brilliant movie! 🙂

    • I’ve reeeeeaaally got to see this extended version. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

      • Frenemy says:

        You do need to see the extended version. I just now finished watching the longer cut, and it was my first time ever seeing Sucker Punch. I thought it was the most brilliant film I have ever seen, and I’m not being hyperbolic. Your interpretation of it was spot-on too.

        Here’s what I knew going in: I knew that Sucker-Punch was a pet project of Zack Snyder and I had seen (and enjoyed) both 300 and Watchmen. I knew that Sucker-Punch was some kind of multi-layered power fantasy-thing. I knew that it was critically panned and did terrible financially.

        This is where it gets interesting: I read a Man of Steel review which mentioned that Sucker-Punch was widely misunderstood. The author of the review was puzzled by this because Zack Snyder had given his explanation of the film publicly. The article linked me to an interview held with Snyder. To paraphrase, he said that Sucker-Punch is an ‘fuck you’ to the Hollywood movie-making business and all the purely-escapist pop culture that gets churned out. He also said that he dresses the heroines like he does because that is what the audience expects. Lastly, he said that his other movies were all just appetizers so that he could make his main course: Sucker-Punch.

        So I went in to it expecting it to be about Hollywood movies as an abomination relative to ‘film as art.’ I was not let down.

        I don’t want to spoil anything for you, and I have no idea what is/isn’t in the theatrical release. But watch the extended cut ASAP, and watch it closely.

        Then read this after: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/BrentSprecher/news/?a=33931

  76. Randell says:

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely
    long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!

    • Hi Randell!

      Sorry to hear that your comment didn’t make it. I do screen and approve comments, but it looks like something really did go wrong with yours. I can’t seem to find it on my end. 😦

      Thanks for dropping by, though! 🙂

  77. kalbob says:

    awesome review, fit in exactly with my own theories, im just a little sad over all of the reveiws hating the guts out of this movie, giving it stupidely low scores, makes me want to sucker punch them in the face!

  78. Sam says:

    Hey Marco, great film and great review.

    Just one point really, I’ve always assumed that Baby Doll DIDN’T kill her sister, it was the Stepfather, but most reviews I’ve seen seem to say something along the lines of “dealing with accidental killing her sister”. The blood on her sister is from underneath her body, so I always assumed it wasn’t a ricochet bullet, but the drunken raged stepfather beforehand. Just a thought.

    • Juan says:

      As a viewer you have a choice as too how much of the asylum world is real. The only scene that involves her real sister is the one where her stepfather learns that the departed mother left her fortune to her daughters. I’ve decided that much of the story is real including her being taken away in a squad car. The asylum is not. The therapist is her Mom & the wise man is her real Dad. The asylum & girls are her first fantasy world. The girls represent different sides of her self, & the wicked men in the story are different sides of her step father.

      I have no doubt some sexual abuse occured in that home while the Mom was alive because this early teen has a too well developed understanding of both sexuality & the men in both the asylum & brothel worlds to simply be something she imagines there. The fact that virginity is mentioned leaves me to believe the abuse did not go that far. She does not imagine any form of masturbation either so I don’t believe it went that far. That leaves the fetish clothing, touching, & kissing as depicted in the film. Likewise, her fantasies don’t depict things past the advent of the Vietnam War so the real world time is early 1960′s. Even the robots & train sequence are reminscent of things from Star Trek or films of that period.

      She is initially traumatized when shooting the gun & seeing her sister lying in a pool of blood but that is not how her sister (Rocket) dies in her fantasy. She dies at the hands of the Cook. The Cook is symbolic of that nature of her step father. By that time in her reconciling of events she believes he killed her with the knife he approached them with in the house that night. All of the fantasies involving imagery of steam, the light bulb, lead her to that truth. When Rocket dies she no longer feels directly responsible for her sister’s death but that in turn brings on a strong sense of having betrayed her for leaving her to her stepfather that night. That is evident in what takes place at the end of the brothel.

      The film then represents something of chains holding the girl down. The first is guilt over the sister’s death & the second is guilt over having left her sister to die at the hands of the stepfather. The escape of Sweet Pea is a sign she has mentally & emotionally freed herself of those chains. Her knowledge of asylums, labotomies, etc. leads me to believe her mother was a wealthy psychiatrist of that period.

      When Sweet Pea gets on the bus, not only are the different sides of herself gone but so are the different sides of the step father. This leads me to believe all of this happened in her mind while sitting in the squad car enroute to the police station. How she arrives at the asylum has a lot of loose ends which is why it must be fantasy. There is no mention of an arrest, an investigation, a trial, or even a judge’s decision. There is no mention of her crimes even until near the end when her mom role recounts the events to the labotomist. That is why I believe it’s all fantasy. Reality ends with her in the squad car.

      If you accept all that, then ask yourself do you want a happy ending or a sad ending? The sad ending is that the sense of justice at the end involving the King pin orderly & his ratting out the stepfather is entirely her own. Her fate is inevitably to wind up at an asylum for attempted murder of her stepfather & 2nd degree murder of her sister. The happy ending is that the sense of justice is shaped in part by conversations of cops in the car. If the cops are thinking the step father abused them & killed her sister, then regaining her sanity will provide crucial testimony to that fact & he will likely hang. I have chosen the happy ending as it makes the most sense to me & leaves me with the best sense of satisfaction with the film.

    • Juaner says:

      http://www.avaadore.com/post/4224470105/a-feminist-defense-of-sucker-punch I agree that a big part of the film is her reconciling the events of that night & come to the conclusion is step father killed her sister with the knife he used to open the will. I elaborate more on that here.

  79. Juan says:

    As a viewer you have a choice as too how much of the asylum world is real. The only scene that involves her real sister is the one where her stepfather learns that the departed mother left her fortune to her daughters. I’ve decided that much of the story is real including her being taken away in a squad car. The asylum is not. The therapist is her Mom & the wise man is her real Dad. The asylum & girls are her first fantasy world. The girls represent different sides of her self, & the wicked men in the story are different sides of her step father.

    I have no doubt some sexual abuse occured in that home while the Mom was alive because this early teen has a too well developed understanding of both sexuality & the men in both the asylum & brothel worlds to simply be something she imagines there. The fact that virginity is mentioned leaves me to believe the abuse did not go that far. She does not imagine any form of masturbation either so I don’t believe it went that far. That leaves the fetish clothing, touching, & kissing as depicted in the film. Likewise, her fantasies don’t depict things past the advent of the Vietnam War so the real world time is early 1960’s. Even the robots & train sequence are reminscent of things from Star Trek or films of that period.

    She is initially traumatized when shooting the gun & seeing her sister lying in a pool of blood but that is not how her sister (Rocket) dies in her fantasy. She dies at the hands of the Cook. The Cook is symbolic of that nature of her step father. By that time in her reconciling of events she believes he killed her with the knife he approached them with in the house that night. All of the fantasies involving imagery of steam, the light bulb, lead her to that truth. When Rocket dies she no longer feels directly responsible for her sister’s death but that in turn brings on a strong sense of having betrayed her for leaving her to her stepfather that night. That is evident in what takes place at the end of the brothel.

    The film then represents something of chains holding the girl down. The first is guilt over the sister’s death & the second is guilt over having left her sister to die at the hands of the stepfather. The escape of Sweet Pea is a sign she has mentally & emotionally freed herself of those chains. Her knowledge of asylums, labotomies, etc. leads me to believe her mother was a wealthy psychiatrist of that period.

    When Sweet Pea gets on the bus, not only are the different sides of herself gone but so are the different sides of the step father. This leads me to believe all of this happened in her mind while sitting in the squad car enroute to the police station. How she arrives at the asylum has a lot of loose ends which is why it must be fantasy. There is no mention of an arrest, an investigation, a trial, or even a judge’s decision. There is no mention of her crimes even until near the end when her mom role recounts the events to the labotomist. That is why I believe it’s all fantasy. Reality ends with her in the squad car.

    If you accept all that, then ask yourself do you want a happy ending or a sad ending? The sad ending is that the sense of justice at the end involving the King pin orderly & his ratting out the stepfather is entirely her own. Her fate is inevitably to wind up at an asylum for attempted murder of her stepfather & 2nd degree murder of her sister. The happy ending is that the sense of justice is shaped in part by conversations of cops in the car. If the cops are thinking the step father abused them & killed her sister, then regaining her sanity will provide crucial testimony to that fact & he will likely hang. I have chosen the happy ending as it makes the most sense to me & leaves me with the best sense of satisfaction with the film.

  80. Juan says:

    Reality ends when she’s in the squad car. The rest is fantasy. I will elaborate later.

  81. Juan says:

    Reality ends with her in the squad car. That’s the key to understanding this film. I’ll elaborate more later.

  82. Alexandra says:

    I love this film, and as I am year 12 I am using this film as a related text for my HSC and this review helped a lot so thank you very much 🙂

  83. Krissy says:

    I just watched the movie, I love that you said that we see that it is really Sweet Pea’s story and as I thought about it I realized that Sweet Pea narrates the opening and ending quotes (about the angels) which shows it is really her story from the very beginning.

  84. Pingback: What is Reality? Or why Sucker Punch made me want to Scream. | Women's History and the History of U.S. Mental In

  85. John "Ratty" Arbuckle says:

    Sucker Punch > Inception.

  86. Ed Wright says:

    I really enjoyed the movie and agree with this article which is a great break down of the subtle undertones running through the film. It gave me new insight too – the concept that although the story is told from Babydoll’s perspective, it’s actually about SweetPea. The final scene on the bus always used to confuse me, but I guess it’s safe to say that we’re still inside Babydoll’s head, seeing her vision of SweatPea’s escape. Great review – thanks for writing!

  87. Jada Miller says:

    Holy cow!!! I understand this movie way better now! I thought it was a really good movie and now I know that it is so much more 🙂 Thanks 🙂

  88. chloe barter says:

    I really like your take on the best movie ever. I have watched it over 100 times. I have even watched the extended edition lol. I really think this blog shown all the points and I found it was very accurate. And to those of you with rude comments, I understand you have your opinions but please keep them to yourself. Your not helping anyone by insulting them. Also you guys should all go on wattpad and search up the trail by deep magic. The story isn’t about babydoll but she sees the character alot like baby doll in looks and courage. I suggest you search it because I read it and really liked it.

  89. jc says:

    Anyone ever seen the south park that makes fun of inception? Enough said. Lol

  90. saikelly says:

    I think the simple fact that the length of this page is insanely long, with most of it being posts and discussion, which says a lot about the movie! Great review, i agree with pretty much everything you said, would love to hear Zack’s official interpretation also, but i absolutely love your take on it. Bang on! my wife is Clinical Psychologist so I’m just after making her watch it! It’s almost over so I’m looking forward to the discussion!

  91. Hi everyone! Just dropping by to thank you all so far for the awesome discussion. I can’t believe it’s already been three years! While I have a lot less time to participate these days, I do read every single one of your comments and approve them as soon as I can. Love reading your thoughts. 😀

    Thanks again!

  92. Maura says:

    In Suckerpunch, there are three worlds presented. The way that the movie ends confirms that what happens in the second two layers does in fact happen (confirmed by Dr. G’s comments to the lobotomist that Baby Doll indeed started a fire and helped somebody escape). The different worlds are the interpretations of two characters, Baby Doll and Sweet Pea. Dr. G teaches them to dissociate and create a new world within their control while the music is playing and they are in the theater on stage.

    The second layer (bordello) is Sweet Pea’s fantasy. This is why she says she “is the star, remember?” This is her world. She sees Baby Doll as an orphan brought by a priest that is there for a high roller instead of the lobotomist. In Sweet Pea’s fantasy, everything is sexualized. This is how she maintains control. There is abuse and rape that takes place in assylums, and turning the assylum into a bordello is Sweet Pea’s way of feeling in control of the rape that happens. A club in which they learn dances allows them to be the ones manipulating men, rather than the other way around.

    The third layer (zombie fighting) is Baby Doll’s fantasy. Notice that in her world, the weapons are actual guns and swords. She likes to feel powerful. She does, in the real world, save Rocket from the Cook with a knife. Due to the sexual abuse from her step father, this has made her strong and a fighter. In her world, there is no sexualization of the girls (except for the outfits which is arguably the director’s call and not Baby Doll’s actual desire) because Baby Doll wants nothing to do with that. She kills zombies. Another interesting piece is the fact that in her first dissociation episode, she not only finds HER angel– she is the angel for Sweet Pea which explains the voiceover commentary in the opening scene– she copes with the past by actually killing the giant which I believe is symbolic of her step father kicked her down etc. as we see in the first scene of the film. This would make sense as her brain’s way of healing from the trauma. In her world, she DOES actually kill the giant; and then, as she leaves the house, it crumbles to the ground. This symbolizes her childhood home, and old life, being left behind on her quest for true freedom.

  93. RKD says:

    Ok, so first off love the review. I loved the movie since the first time I watched it and mostly understood it. The one part I don’t understand and was hoping to find was the end. I believed that the scene that shows Sweet Pea escaping on the bus had been real life experience. Other people believe it is just another scene in Baby Doll’s head that is her vision of how Sweet Pea escaped. What are your thoughts on it?

  94. Dominic says:

    A smart movie ehhhhh
    I’ll say it has a lot of thought put into it but that still doesn’t make it good.
    I love movies that have hidden meanings Enemy is a great example of it but the difference between this and Enemy is that Enemy is a cohesive film. The things hidden behind its depth in Enemy leave you with questions but the movie on first viewing is cohesive and has a lot of suspense and intrigue. Sucker punch has nothing its complexity makes it incohesive when you watch it. I love complex movies but in this one it detracts from the enjoyment that could of been found in the film. Even though I understand it now It still just isn’t a good movie, it may seem complex and thoughtful once you examine the shit out it but all its complexity means nothing if the movie is just an absolute fucking mess. This is why inception works and is great because it’s not messy just very complex. Just cause a lot of thought was put into Sucker Punch doesn’t make it less of a mess. Just cause It’s complex doesn’t mean it’s smart.

  95. Mia Reeves says:

    I agree so much but one question remains– were sweet pea and babydoll individual characters or was sweet pea the reasonable and logical aspect of baby’s mind?

  96. Ayera says:

    Okay one word ,Beautiful. Sucker punch was the best movie in a long time that I have watched . Even better than inception and shutter island. NOT kidding. if you haven’t watched it yet, go watch it. if you have and think its stupid. feel it. This review again, was awesome. There’s a hidden inspiration in the film when the curtains close and Sweet Pea says, what you need to succeed is for you to believe, you’ve got all the tools already with you. Totally Beautiful from the start to the end.loved it. ❤

  97. Sean O'Keefe says:

    Let the haters hate, I my self love SuckerPunch, it’s in my top five, along with #1 True Romance, and the first Alien movie, Bladerunner and Lady Hawk. And let’s face it didn’t you walk away from watching just that little bit taller and stronger? I know I did!

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  99. Jewels says:

    Has anyone given thought to the possibility that these fantasy worlds and different characters she imagined are from dissociation? From the trauma she went through? That’s exactly how I took it. I thought it was brilliant. Not to many movies about D.I.D/M.P.D. and I’m a DID person myself, so I can relate. That’s what my opinion is. I love it!

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  102. little_late says:

    Hi,

    I first saw this film few years ago and didn’t get anything about it. Yesterday I see it on Netflix and decided to see it again. I didn’t understand much more about it. So I looked for answer on the Internet, I just finish to read this article and all the comments. I think I need to watch the film again now and maybe then I will write an extended review here (with my horrible English…). I know it’s little late, but I think this film is here to stay and many people continue to see it years after years, as the comments dates show.

    I see there are various and interesting theories out there, I would love having the time to try to do a synthesis because each have strengths and weaknesses. Some people build a coherent view of the story, some just throw ideas in the wild to explain some scene, some phrase, some object…

    I think what I need to see it again is fixing me some axioms of interpretation before, so I have a context in which I can try to incorporate all the scenes and make sense out of the many details we can find. So are my decisions:

    – I think the asylum is real, not a virtual world created by Baby Doll. As she is a 20 year old girl, how can she have thoughts on how an asylum work, except by making improbable assumptions ?

    – I think, while not being fundamentally insane, Baby Doll is still a perturbed girl. How can this not be the case ? All we know from her life is that it’s a live of suffer. We know her mother died, but we have no proof that tell us her life was an happy life before her women sickness. We only know her a loved one, her sister. Living in such type of family is not ideal to have a blossomed social and love life.

    – I think the brothel is a virtual world created in Baby Doll mind to “romanticize” her experience in the asylum. I know the principal objection to this, “How the fuck a brothel can be considered to be a enviable place for a young girl ?”. In a brothel, the kind of mistreatments that happen to girls in asylums happen there too. But in the brothel the girls get back there human status, and, more importantly, there women status, there femininity.

    – I think all the girl, Sweet Pea, Blondie, Amber, Rocket are real too, because we see them when Baby Doll enter the asylum. But, as Baby Doll didn’t have much time to know them (she spend only few days in the asylum), they don’t have a polished identity in her mind, and she project part of her personality to them. This is in my opinion a good synthesis between the imaginary characters theory proponents and the real asylum patients theory proponents.

    – I think what happen is the brothel is a metaphor of what happen in the asylum, but not everything overlap. There is no point in trying to translate every sentence pronounced, every move in the brothel as something that happen in the asylum. It is a romanticized version of the reality, an imaginary world made to soften the reality. We must to focus on the significance of the symbol Baby Doll show to us in her virtual world. Take as example, when Blue kill Blondie and Amber. Maybe he kill them in the asylum, maybe he lobotomized them, maybe they was moved in another asylum… We must to not care. What Baby Doll show us is that they are dead for she, they disappeared and she have no way to know anything about what happened.

    – We can see that in the asylum Dr Gorski is the hierarchic superior of Blue, but in the Brothel he have the power. I think it’s because while she may be officially the boss, in the point of view of Baby Doll she is unable to directly help she, she can only give her advice to try to survive Blue and the other males orderlies. This explain why in the brothel she is just another girl Blue can dispose as he want. How explain why a compassionate doctor can’t help she other by the fact that she is, despite of her formal status, weak ? In the brothel, while she refuse to make Baby Doll dance in front of spectators, Blue tell to Gorski “Maybe it is your show, but this is my brothel” (watched it in my native language, no idea of the exact English sentence). This symbolize the fact that despite her status, this is Blue’s asylum.

    – Maybe it’s Sweet Pea story as they tell us at the end, not sure yet how to interpret this sentence, but we see it from Baby Doll’s eyes. There is no way in my opinion this story can be from Sweet Pea eyes. We see scene from Baby Doll life at the beginning, but nothing from Sweet Pea’s life. Also I think the idea that Baby Doll imagine what Sweet Pea live after escaping is right, as she life exactly what Baby Doll hope. On the other end, imagining Sweet Pea thinking about what happen in the asylum to Baby Doll is much more problematic.

    There is many thing that I need to reflect about while seeing it again:

    – My biggest interrogation is if this is a real-time story relatively to the personage, where we are following the action of Baby Doll in the metaphoric world she created in his mind. Are we seeing the thoughts as they flow in the mind of Baby Doll or is she telling us hes story after being lobotomized ? The first scene with the stage would make sense with the second theory.

    – Why, when she will get lobotomized for the first time, we see Sweet Pea with a wig crying to stop ? Here it’s clear we are in the imaginary world, but where we fallen into it ? Where is the border ? Have you even reflected about the state of your mind before falling asleep ? Do you remember when you slip from pretty sane thoughts to the confused mess of your dreams ? Maybe that what I should be looking for, where we go slowly from a real asylum to the metaphoric world. This scene with Sweet Pea is maybe some kind of “reverse awaking”, where Baby Doll is “waking up” in her imaginary world.

    – Why the narration is made with the voice of Sweet Pea ? I know it’s something that should guide me in the way to understand why this is Sweet Pea story after all. But why are the song singed by Baby Doll ? Also the lyrics seem pretty important to me, “sweet dreams are made of this” and “where is my mind” are sentences that seem to have much significance.

    I’m sure I forgotten many ideas I wanted to write here, maybe I will come with more explanations in few days.

  103. little_late says:

    Hi,

    I just watched Sucker Punch for a second time, I see it in a new way. I think many things will contradict my first analyze. I will not try to do a synthesis of my different views here, just write some new ideas I get. Hope my two posts get published.

    – Blue say two time, one time with the step-father at the beginning of the movie, one time to his coworkers at the end, that it’s him who is the boss in the asylum. I think as told before that while Dr Gorski is the superior of blue, she can’t really rule the asylum as she have work and she can’t have her eyes everywhere to prevent Blue from mistreating the girls. I think this explain why in the point of view of Baby Doll, Gorski is in fact just another Blue’s girl. In the eyes of Baby Doll, Dr Gorski incapacity to really protect them from Blue appear as weakness.

    – The song of the scenes of Baby Doll life in the asylum is “where is my mind ?”. But why this music here ? This is indicating us that this is not the present, this is a told story, the mind of Baby Doll isn’t where we see Baby Doll during the movie. What we see already ended for her.

    When we see this story, we are in the mind of Baby Doll after her lobotomy. It’s Baby Doll who is telling us what happened. Why ? Because when we are in the asylum, at the beginning and at the end, we didn’t assist at something Baby Doll didn’t live. When we are in the Brothel, there is always Baby Doll too, some short scenes she can easily imagine aside.

    In the first scene of the movie, we see the curtain opening on Baby Doll, she open her mind to us, to tell us her story. We see what happened in her house from her eyes. The murder scene is confused (where did the bullet really go ? Who really killed her sister ? Why didn’t fire again ? Why run away ?) because Baby Doll wasn’t ready to use a gun, she panicked. As we see the story from her mind, we can’t really know what happened to her sister, as she don’t know herself.

    – I think the key to understand the movie is when she visit the asylum. When the step-father talk with Blue about the deal, we see Baby Doll listening at what Dr Gorski tell to Sweet Pea, currently on the stage. When Dr Gorski say to Sweet Pea she must imagine a world where she’s in control, we hear in the background the “Where is my mind” song starting. During this song we see scenes of Baby Doll life in the asylum. It’s a collection of reminders from when she entered into the asylum with his step-father to when she is in the changing room and announce the plan to the other girls. When she talk about finding objects, we can see the images of the objects are situated in the asylum, not the brothel.

    This interpretation help me to explain what is in my opinion the most curious scene of this movie, the scene where we see Sweet Pea with a wig, looking like Baby Doll. An interesting detail here is that when we see the room, we see Baby Doll, Blue and the step-father exactly at the very same place they were when we was still in the asylum. I think this clearly show that the scene where we see Baby Doll living in the asylum are displayed in an anachronistic way relatively to the rest of the story. Baby Doll choose to switch of context, from the asylum to the brothel here, because it’s here when she choose to take the control of his own world, to change her destiny (before, at the end, accepting her lobotomy and saving the life of Sweet Pea, because she concluded it’s the only way to get a true victory). Showing Sweet Pea looking like Baby Doll is just a metaphoric way for explaining us that Baby Doll choose to use the advices Dr Gorski gave to Sweet Pea, while reminding us we was still in the same place in reality.

  104. Neko-chan says:

    Reblogged this on OtogeMeow and commented:
    Just watched this movie and thought I should repost this very thought up insight on the film, while I finish my research on Joker and Harley for the next part of my Suicide Squad post 🙂 If you ever watched Sucker Punch and hated it, maybe consider giving this post a read; I don’t expect to change any minds but maybe another perspective is needed. If you loved the movie on the other hand, then great! You’ll still love this !

  105. Kelly Briles says:

    Zack Snyder’s film of Sucker Punch is an absolutely amazing portrayal. Only a person who has experience ultimate pain and sacrifice in their life can truly understand the deepness of this movie. Instead of criticizing the actual movie, you need to understand that it is just a glimpse into all of us that who have lived lived through trauma that nobody else could understand, you should look Beyond the movie itself Into the psychological meaning and how this movie plays a role in each and every person. We all have demons in life to battle, we all have hope to overcome. We all experienced loss and rejection . In my opinion this movie takes you into one person’s reality and shows you what it takes to survive in this universe. If you open your heart to the beauty and love in the world you have opened your heart to the evil and Chaos as well ,once those lines intertwined it is only your reality and perception of what life is really about.

  106. You can’t polish a turd. Simple as that. Movie was shit. You can try and find all these little hidden bullshit metaphors and other fake relations, but the movie is literally a big fat stinky turd. You have horrible taste and too much time on your hands to even think about a movie this horribly written, acted, and edited. I wish I had every copy of this movie in existence(including all digital formats) just so I could wipe my ass with them every time I need to poop. Sadly I’d run out only after a month or so because this shit movie didn’t sell many. The digital copies I would just use as trolling material like a Rick Rolled scenario except that is not a horrible song like this movie is horrible.

  107. Kaze says:

    At the end scene of the movie Suckerpunch when Sweet Pea is at the bus station the Wise Man is driving the bus and towards the very end of the movie there is a billboard that the bus drives past with “Paradise” displayed on it and everyone who is discussing Babydoll’s lobotomization says she’ll be in “Paradise”

  108. Ahmed says:

    It’s very true, and it unveils the dark reality of the corrupt society

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