Sucker Punch is by far the most visually entertaining movie I think Zack Snyder or any other filmmaker has made in a long time. Right off the bat I have to throw it out there, the action set pieces and visual mind-fucks of this film will blow you away!
We start out with being introduced to Baby Doll (Emily Browning) who's wrongfully imprisoned in a mental institution. During her stay she spends nearly all her time in a fantasy world she's created for herself to escape her own "reality", although there's actually very little reality to the film at all. In her fantasy world she's being held in a brothel/burlesque house. It's in the brothel where she discovers her crazy dance moves which only bring her further into the fantasy worlds she's creating. The fantasy worlds themselves feel a lot like a video game premise. They need to find key items in order to escape and must defeat the most ridiculous and other worldly foes along the way.
Being that the film is set in the 60's one of the threats looming in Baby Dolls reality is the possibility of a lobotomy. This helps serve as her biggest motive in needing to escape. The only problem is very little of the "real world" is actually taking place throughout the film, making it somewhat of a narrative nightmare. Although the story jumps all over the place and at times feels like the last twenty years of pop culture was just smashed together in one nonsensical action flick, Snyder does an amazing job of keeping you interested and invested to the end. A lot of the film seems like a huge departure from a lot of his previous films in so many ways, but at the same time it has the very noticable Snyder stamp all throughout it. I know most peoples complaints are always that he's too visual and brings no substance to his films. With Sucker Punch there's definitely a recurring theme of male empowerment over women and their attempts to stand strong on their own. It wasn't at all what I expected going in, but served as a surprisingly very intruiging and interesting plot point.
The biggest complaint I'm expecting people to have is the third act. Everything leading up this point seems absolutely brilliant and brings you to think this may be Snyder's best work to date. But this is where you'll either come to love it or hate it. Like most Snyder films there's not much grey area left in between. I found myself torn at this point as well, on the one hand the end and the conclusion make perfect sense, but on the other it almost feels as though things fall apart and don't come together as smoothly as first two acts did. Overall the film works on more levels than it doesn't. The biggest acheivement would likely be succesfully thinking outside the box and not going the safe route like all too many film makers and studios seem to be doing more and more now.
The performances, cinematography, writing and obviously directing were all things I thought worked amazingly. Although I'm well aware not everyone will be able to agree with me, I can honestly say that I actually loved Sucker Punch. It's likely at least the most visual film we'll see this year. It's just too bad that the story behind all the amazing action scenes and visual effects won't get nearly as much if any credit at all.