Now I like Zack Snyder just as much as the next guy… Actually given all available evidence I like Zack Snyder a great deal more then the next guy.
But I was still somewhat nervous about The Sucker Punch Directors Cut. See Zack Snyder has this thing about directors cuts where he’s not very good at them. The Dawn Of The Dead one was pretty inoffensive, but the Watchmen Directors Cut is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s baffling, aside from the addition of the Hollis Mason death scene (which given the character’s scaled back presence in the film is no longer such a big deal) all of the additional material dilutes the movie. It’s all filler, awkwardly added in action sequences, and additions that in a few cases actually botch perfectly translated moments. It's such a strange cut that it almost feels like the directors cut was the studio cut and vica versa.
So despite the fact that I was one of the film’s few apologists I couldn’t help but wonder if going back to the cut was against Snyder’s better instincts. Sure enough The Sucker Punch Directors Cut takes a problematic film and makes it more problematic. It’s not as bad as the Watchmen cut, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it botched. But it's uncanny the way this cut of the film manages to take what annoyed people about the theatrical cut of the film and amplify it. Thought that Snyder’s sexual objectification bordered on serial killer level deranged? Well wait until you his “Love Is A Drug” sequence which plays like the ultimate nineties Madonna Video, conceived of and shot while on PCP. Thought that the film’s message and sexual politics were naive at best, incomprehensible at worst? Well then wait until you see Jon Hamm’s big scene which turns the heroine’s final actions from “Heroic Sacrifice made on her own terms.” To "Talked into it by a fine pair of bedroom eyes."
Still the lunatic vision of Snyder’s dare of a film still manages to shine through. Despite all these new flaws, which have been added to a film that was admittedly already flawed just plenty the stubborn fact is that I still like Sucker Punch a whole lot. I like the total commitment that Snyder has to his go for baroque vision. I like the fact that the question “Will people want to see this?” Never once seemed to enter his head. I like the look of the film, and I like the feel of it. I like its strange assaultive imagery and most of all I like the fact that Snyder took the darkest film a mainstream studio has had to offer in sometime and wrapped it away in this candy colored shell, with all the warning of a razor blade tucked in a Snickers bar. What can I say, I love filmmaking that is genuinely off the rez.
"Well, there's something you don't see everyday, Chauncey." "What's that, Edgar?" "An art deco bullet train traveling towards the rings of Saturn populated by faceless robots." "Oh, I don't know, Edgar; mass transit has taken some amazing strides."
Which is a place that Snyder may never go again. He must be thanking his lucky stars that he had Superman lined up before this, or else it could have been a potential career ender. The Snyder we will see post Superman will most likely be a more cautious filmmaker, which will frankly probably result in some much better films. Still I can’t help but find it endearing that he had it in him to go by this crazy.
Like Southland Tales a similar case of auteurist mania, Sucker Punch may not qualify as a good film but it is a mesmerizing one. Sucker Punch may not be a good movie by any conventional objective standard but I maintain that it is sort of a magnificent one.