“Sucker Punch” delivers a new trailer and hopefully new wave of female heroines

A new, gorgeous, totally dialogue-free trailer for the new all-girl action spectacular Sucker Punch was released this week. With each successive trailer, I feel I understand less about the plot. But what I do know is that any movie that features ladies in short skirts kicking that much ass is most definitely on my to-do list. Take a look for yourself.

It’s so pretty. What the hell is it about, again?

But what really has me excited about the film is less the videogame visuals and the things that go boom and more the fact that is has five female leads in a high-profile action movie. That just doesn’t happen that often – in fact almost never. Yet there are Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung fighting and kicking and firing off automatic weapons like a tiny steampunk demolition army. Even if the movie turns out to be not that great, it’s great to have something like it out there.

Entertainment Weekly recently praised the new small crop of “girls with grit” that have made their way to the cineplexes recently. Last year young women showed mettle, and occasionally muscle, on the big screen in complex, interesting roles. There was Jennifer Lawrence as the tough, determined Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone. There was Hailee Steinfeld as the sensible, driven Mattie Ross in True Grit. And there was Noomi Rapace as the smart, ferocious Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium series. And Hollywood is working on an adaptation of The Hunger Games which will give us another champion in Katniss Everdeen.

The emergence of these new heroines is a welcome respite from the normal boys (literally) club the cinema gives us with young adult protagonists. There is a tired, old conventional wisdom in Hollywood that girls will go see movies about boys, but boys won’t see movies about girls. That’s why so many young-adult themed films start with boys’ names: Percy Jackson, Scott Pilgrim, Harry Potter (yes, I know, Harry has Hermione but it’s still his name in the lights).

So do I expect the young women in Sucker Punch to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the new pantheon of young heroines? Not exactly. I mean, I don’t have expectations that Baby Doll, Amber, Blonde, Rocket or Sweet Pea will be anywhere near as layered or complex as Ree, Mattie, Lisbeth and (hopefully) Katniss. But if the boys can have a movie where they shoot guns and slash swords and battle what appear to be enormous samurai robot monsters, so can girls.

So, looking forward to Sucker Punch as much as I am? Glad more young women are getting to show their stuff (not that stuff, they’ve always had to show that stuff) on screen?

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