Who is the main character of Zack Snyder’s 2011 mind-trip, Sucker Punch ? If you say Emily Browning’s Baby Doll, you would be…wrong. One of the greatest tricks Snyder pulled on unsuspecting audiences in March of 2011 is selling the film off of Emily Browning’s battle through the world of imagination, when the movie is actually based around Abbie Cornish’s Sweet Pea- and Baby Doll is only in her head, so for this character spotlight we’ll explore Sucker Punch‘s main ass-kicking chick: Sweet Pea.
As the film begins, Sweet Pea tells us:
Everyone has an Angel. A Guardian who watches over us. We can’t know what form they’ll take. One day, old man. Next day, little girl. But don’t let appearances fool you, they can be as fierce as any dragon. Yet they’re not here to fight our battles, but to whisper from our heart. Reminding that it’s us. Its everyone of us who holds power over the world we create.
She says this as Emily Browning’s Baby Doll is revealed on a stage, after the curtains open. Snyder immediately sets up a dynamic that separates those who saw the film from those that watched the film. After a moving and heartbreaking sequence where Baby Doll is sent to the institution, the first moment the audience sees Sweet Pea she is dressed up as Baby Doll is later in the film, practicing a routine that strangely involves a lobotomy.
Sweet Pea is a fractured character, a woman who invents a guardian for herself- not as a big tough man or as a kick-ass robot or anything like that; but as simply a somewhat fragile blonde girl. A girl who is scantily-clad who encompasses all of Sweet Pea’s fears and doubts, and eventually her retribution.
It’s difficult to analyze Sweet Pea because there’s no clear distinction between when Sweet Pea ends and Baby Doll begins, psychologically speaking, which is what makes Sucker Punch such a devilishly unique film in it’s own right. Sweet Pea, though, has to suffer through a lot and begins to know the true meaning of sacrifice after she loses Rocket (much as Baby Doll lost her own sister). A fighter through and through, Sweet Pea favors automatic weapons as well as a knife in close quarters situations ( as seen during the siege of the castle, in the attempt to get the fire.)
Integral to the film as anyone else is, Sweet Pea is the definition of an action heroin- and some would argue Snyder’s film is about as misogynistic as they come, it actually has found more and more supports as time as gone on about it’s empowering message and themes.
Sweet Pea dismisses Baby Doll’s dancing as nothing but overtly sexual thrusting and gyrating. It’s not female empowerment; the only purpose the sexuality serves is to turn guys on, and that still leaves them in a place of being held under the sway of what guys want from them instead of what they want from themselves. So they devise a plan to gain freedom, this time using the power of their sexuality to hypnotize the men and hold them under their sway instead. It’s at this point that the film thrusts us into its several fanciful scenarios, each of which hopes to have exactly the same effect on any young men in the audience.
These action vignettes very deliberately pander to adolescent fantasy, dressing up the girls in fetishistic garb that highlights their thighs, midriffs and frequent upskirts. But just as the girls continue to take back control from the men in the real world, their physical appearance in the action fantasy worlds gradually takes a backseat to their ability to simply kick a ludicrous amount of ass, in very much the same way any male action star might. More importantly, by unifying and fighting together — in both worlds — the girls are able to put forth the effort needed to defy the physically imposing monsters who aim to keep them in their place. They’re fighting to take back the control that’s been taken from them.
-/Film, Adam Quigley.
And Scott Mendelson (Huffington Post):
It is a tricky thing that Zack Snyder was trying to do, making a genuinely bleak and depressing film about sexualization of women in pop culture as well as real life, while using some of those cliches to tell that story. But beneath the outfits and the very idea that attractive women with guns can qualify as titillating, there is next to no actual sexual material, and really Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is the only female character who is overly fetishized (the rest of the girls are basically attractive young women dressed in battle gear). The critics who complaint about empowerment missed the point — it’s not supposed to be empowering. You’re SUPPOSED to notice the creepy undertones, the fact that these action scenes are basically a mental distraction for Baby Doll as she is sexually exploited. My first thought coming out of the movie was (pardon the crudeness): “Zach Snyder just madeWhile he raped me, I closed my eyes and imagined myself somewhere else: The Movie.” Pointing out that the film is not empowering is not a criticism, merely an objective statement regarding the film’s overall tone. Films involving females do not have to be empowering. Feminism does not have to be empowering. It can exist merely to expose a problem involving gender relations.
Sweet Pea is essentially the film’s guiding light through it’s bleak, fantastically brutal and depressing landscape, and she’s the only character to actually “survive” through the ordeals she and the girls are put through. Snyder never lacks for strong women, and Sweet Pea might be the toughest of all.