Gort vs Samurai Schoolgirls: We love Sucker Punch

So Zack Snyder has released his first original film to huge box office and terrible reviews.

Question is: Is it any good? Hit the jump to find out:

We worry that this post will turn into a defence of Sucker Punch. So many critics just didn't get it. We did.

The closest recent comparison we can give is Inception. Sucker Punch is a very similar film with multiple levels of reality, various interpretations and more to gain from repeat viewings, and one which many people will never really understand. Not that they are on a par at all; Inception is one of the best films made in the last ten years, a true classic, while Sucker Punch is a cult movie full of knicker-flashing anime-style action. Still, this is not a hollow no-brainer either, nor is it all about tits and ass as it was sold, this is a film to love and cherish, not hold up in front of the Academy.

It may not have Oscar potential, but what it does have is charismatic performances from some beautiful people (along with a dud from Vanessa Hudgens), some incredibly-imaginative design, ground-breaking effects, geek cred, dramatic heft, an immense soundtrack, a moral core, a solid message and, above all else, a lot of heart.

Lemony Snickett's Emily Browning looks amazing and has the charisma to hold the movie together. Meanwhile, her hench girls also look the part, but don't quite hold up, particularly Hudgens, who may have huge Disney-baiting fun screaming "take that, you ugly mother-f***er", but has all the screen personality of a CGI zombie. This may not be her fault entirely, as there is very little room in this hyper-stylised roller coaster of a film for character development. These are one-dimensional archetypes at best, but that isn't a failing so much as a stylistic choice.

Furthermore, the film is guilty of being a child of the X-box generation, just like Snyder's other efforts and Paul W S Anderson's catalogue. Sucker Punch is structured into "levels", with items to collect and bosses to fight, but this doesn't hurt the story, rather it supports its fever-dream logic. In that, it acts in conjunction with Scott Pilgrim, another story told through the language of computer games.

This style has led may to accuse the film of having no plot and being all dumb action. In the nicest way possible, anyone who thinks that has just had the film shoot clear over their heads. Far from having no plot, it has three plots. This is a film that is a dumb, SFX action movie about nothing more than a group of kick-ass female anime rejects taking on steampunk Nazi zombies, dragons and androids in green-screen battles to the death; a grindhouse exploitation flick about a group of prostitutes trying to escape their brothel and villainous gangster pimp; and a gothic fantasy drama about an abused girl thrown into an asylum by her evil step father and facing lobotomy; all at the same time, thanks to an internal viewpoint on the collapse of our heroine's sanity; the point being that reality is what we make it and we can escape into fantasy when we need to. Both the real-world plot and the two dream plots happen simultaneously and we weave in and out of the storylines.

Appropriately for the format, the film doesn't go from A to B to C; it goes from A to 1 to E to 13 to K to 21 to Z, and it's up to the audience to fill in the blanks. If you see films as a jumping-off point for your imagination, you'll love it; if you want everything laid out for you on a platter, you'll be frustrated. Sucker Punch tells you "you have all the weapons you need, now fight", and the same is true of the plot, you have all the pieces you need, do the rest yourself. The film also tells you that every guardian angel and laughing demon that you meet in your life is sent by yourself, life is what you make it, and so is Sucker Punch. Choose to see it as plot-light and over-stylised and it is; add your own imagination to it and accept its presentation, and it's perfect.

Normally, we would be compelling you all to give Sucker Punch another chance, but this is, despite appearances, a distinctly personal movie; one to watch alone and to immerse yourself into. As such, we'd be quite happy to keep it as a guilty pleasure and have everyone else hate it. Nevertheless, studio interference allegedly removed a few key scenes and we think a director's cut may serve to redeem the film slightly. At the very least, DVD will see this become a cult classic. If it sounds like your kind of thing, get in on the ground floor, but, as the tag line tells you, you will be unprepared for this movie, just like the title.