Comic-Con 2010: The Beauty and Brains of the Sucker Punch Ladies

By  · Published on July 24th, 2010

Strong female characters are not the norm in Hollywood, but if you thought of one name that would use his directorial clout to bring a few more of them to the world, would it be Zack Snyder? The same man who was lambasted for being sexist after 300 is now being praised by his actresses for loving women and creating the best possible roles for them with his new movie.

“Women are always looking for layers because women are complex creatures. For this movie, you don’t have to be just one thing. For men in action, you can be all things, but for women people see that maybe she’s dressed sexy so maybe it’s not empowering. It’s a tough line, but the truth is that women can be all of those things,” said star Carla Gugino.

She got to be all of those things on Sucker Punch specifically because of Zack Snyder’s vision and appreciation for creating rounded female characters.

Oh, and the footage they showed today has samurai warriors and a giant dragon. Feminism and fire-breathing. Something for everyone!

Today, after crowds lined up as much as eight hours in advance to get into Hall H, Zack Snyder sat with the gorgeous and talented women of the film to discuss the violence and the complexity. Carla Gugino sat with her hands folded and cleavage holding court on its own while Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Emily Browning all spoke about longing for complicated female characters to dig into while recognizing the challenge they faced. It was that challenge that made the experience all the more rewarding.

Sucker Punch features a fetishistic world of beautiful women in all states of dress and undress existing in the mind of a young girl (Emily Browning) in an institution who is trying to mentally escape her floor-scrubbing existence. That vivid world features intense fantasy action (in both senses) that looks as if Snyder became obsessed with samurai, dragons, lingerie, and mecha-armor suits and didn’t want to leave any of them out.

The footage was absolutely breath-taking. Snyder is nothing if not a visual dynamo, and there was a stunning downplay of the slow motion that seems to infect everything he does; it was certainly present, but not nearly to the degree that it’s been in the past. It’s also exhilarating to see him expand the look of what he’s doing. The red and golds of 300 and the muted blues and blacks of Watchmen helped set their respective tones, but he discovered a broader color palette here, and it pays off with a richer overall look.

From the looks of it, Browning’s character will be going on a journey of sorts through her imagination that will find her battling against all sorts of different monsters and enemies. Snyder claimed the film might end up with a PG-13 rating, but commented that if it doesn’t, it’ll most likely be because of the intense fantasy violence – which happen to be three words everyone should love hearing.

It looks huge and beautiful and awe-inspiring and they’re are sexy women kicking massive amounts of Dragon ass. All the ingredients of a balanced diet.

After 300, there were a few cries of sexism against Snyder. It will be fascinating to see if those cries of sexism head in the opposite direction with the release of this film in March of 2011.

What do you think?

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.