Zack Snyder Has a Plan to Fix His Most Controversial Sci-Fi Movie

Is it time to release another Snyder Cut?

Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Emily Browning, Scott Glenn, Vanessa Hudgens, and Jamie Chung in Sucker ...
Warner Bros. Pictures

Twelve years ago, Zack Snyder tried to subvert the male gaze that’s come to define his hyper-stylized oeuvre. Those efforts culminated in Sucker Punch, his first (and only!) film told from a female perspective. It was a bold move, but if its divisive legacy (and Rotten Tomatoes score) is any indication, those efforts backfired spectacularly.

Sucker Punch may very well be the biggest bomb of Snyder’s career, as derided for its gratuitous set pieces as it was for its twisty girl-power message. The film follows an asylum patient named Babydoll (Emily Browning) through an inner battle for her own autonomy. Much of Sucker Punch (specifically its epic, nonsensical action sequences) takes place in Babydoll’s head — in the real world, she’s actually been lobotomized — and it’s this trippy premise that ended up alienating audiences.

“I feel like the main criticism of the film was that it was too exploitative,” Snyder recently told Letterboxd. “People took the movie as if the girls fighting and all that stuff was the movie. I found that slightly disheartening.”

The heroines in Sucker Punch might be easy on the eyes, but they weren’t designed to be objectified.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Snyder maintains that the ogle-worthy action was actually a Trojan horse for some serious feminist discourse. He tried to expand on his ideas in an extended cut of Sucker Punch, included in the film’s home video release. However, even that didn’t include an original ending producers found “too weird” to release theatrically.

At the end of Sucker Punch, Babydoll sacrifices herself so another prisoner at the asylum, Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), can make her own escape. It’s a bittersweet moment that offers a bit of hope in the face of a gritty reality, but Snyder wanted to close things out on a more surreal note. “In the original ending ... she’s already been lobotomized — when the cop shines the light on her, the set breaks apart and she stands up and she sings a song on stage,” he said.

Zack Snyder with his cast at the UK premiere of Sucker Punch.

Claire R Greenway/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

A lot of moments throughout Sucker Punch were actually inspired by burlesque-like musicals — Snyder even cites All That Jazz as a major influence on the film. But most overt references (like a musical number starring Oscar Isaac and Carla Gugino) were cut from the theatrical version. The same can be said of Snyder’s original ending, but he hasn’t forgotten about it since. Now, he’s planning to release a director’s cut of Sucker Punch just to see that particular scene restored.

“I've never gotten around to doing the director's cut,” he told Letterboxd. “I still plan to at some point.”

But would an alternate ending do much to improve the story? No one’s actually seen the sequence in question, so it’s hard to say. However, Snyder seems to think that it’d help bring the focus back to female empowerment.

“It’s the idea that in a weird way, even though she’s lobotomized, she’s kind of stuck in this infinite loop of euphoric victory,” Snyder said. “You’ll get to see it at some point, I’m sure. I hope.”

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