Pop Talk: Sucker Punch and Thor

Pop Talk: Sucker Punch and Thor
Popcorn engagements with Emma Plant

Sucker Punch has come and now (thank heavens) it is nearly gone. Anime influence, comical scenery (in the Marvel comic sense), it is Gen Y’s answer to Charlie’s Angels.

This film shows girls, oh-so convincingly kicking butt. But… instead of solving crime and heading back to Townsend’s Headquarters, the teen girls are slaying nazi robots, mythical dragons, stopping unstoppable trains, all the while getting lobotomies and receiving mental health treatment. Sound confusing? Rightly so.

The film has called upon new and sparkling younger film stars. The leading blonde she-bang is played by formerly brunette Aussie export and Nylon covergirl Emily Browning. Vanessa Hudgens and Abbie Cornish play supporting roles. To make sense of the plot, very simply, a teen girl (Browning) is institutionalised by her abusive stepfather. While imprisoned, she periodically escapes into an alternate mental reality – not 100% on the storyline, will need refinement with 45 or so additional viewings.

Nay, from my movie seat, the plot was not the only issue. The most irritating feature was the star of the show: not Browning, but her gloriously long eyelashes, then midriff, then hair, in that order.

I'm no prude, but I was, at many stages, felt as if I was watching a teenage boy's anime fantasy/fetish. The visual emphasis (whether intentional or not) on the female characters' bodies took away from the validity of the girls' acting and character portrayal. This rendered characters that were meant to be quite complex and upsetting were distracting and annoying.

While honouring the fantasy genre, particularly the post-modern genre we have seen emerge that mixes every kind of genre, even for a fan of pro-girl, kicking-butt movies, Sucker Punch felt like depressing escapism, garnished with a heavy-handed sprinkling of glitter.

To sum the movie Thor up: epic love story with other complicated relationships resolving and undoing themselves in the heavens.

To sum the character Thor up: a ridiculously clich├ęd macho man (he is super-super strong and has a really big hammer), yet has a heart of the purest gold. He is also the God of thunder. Literal, not figurative.

Played by Australian Chris Hemsworth, Thor is banished from the Heavens to the Earth after he is found unworthy to rule the land as future King. While on earth, Thor (who continually refers to himself in third person) falls head-over-deity-heels for Jane (Natalie Portman). Also woven into the storyline is a doublecross, a battle and a divine awakening.

If you can already see the comic irony, you might enjoy this intense showcase of bravado. If you go with a male friend, you will enjoy watching them vicariously live their ultimate dreams through Thor, dreams so macho and so caveman, you won’t believe they still existed in this modern day. However, if you don’t suffer fools or folly, avert your eyes from this self-proclaimed ‘experience’ and you won’t really miss much at all.

Emma @ Girl With a Satchel


Donna Vitan said...

I'd say you're review on both movies are right on the money!

Regarding Suckerpunch, I really wanted to love this movie. As a fan of comics/animation/fantasy/sci-fi, I thought I would enjoy a dash of sexy violence and went in knowing that it will be a full-on male fantasy visualization however I just felt all kinds of wrong and sick because of the twisted, sexualized storyline that was barely there. Instead of a fun, hell-yeah, girls kicking ass and looking hot - it was watching scared, immature girls playing dress up to please the bad men. I would like to make a version of the film which only has the action sequences (fantasy) and cut out the crud-masquerading-as-a-storyline (reality) and maybe it would be decent for viewing.

Regarding Thor: Enjoyable with double-rainbow visuals although Thor acts like the biggest man-child, war-mongering douchebag ever! A very hot douchebag - I dislike myself a little for saying that last bit because I shouldn't find douchebags attractive, especially when I call them douchebags.

universe93 said...

I think you've missed the point of Sucker Punch, Erica, because you can't look beyond your values. Since it is a highly sexualized, anime-inspired film based on a graphic novel it was always going to feature prostitution, mental health issues, imprisonment and death so perhaps it wasn't the film for you.