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Is This Zack Snyder's Worst Film Of All Time?

Zack Snyder is a director with a distinctive creative vision. His tone is serious, his heroes are Nietzschean, and his mo is slow. Sometimes, in movies like "Dawn of the Dead" or "300," his style really works. Other times it really doesn't. Snyder has made a few clunkers in his career.

All of the films Snyder has directed are interesting, but some of them are more interesting for the ways they went wrong than the ways they went right. "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole," for example, is interesting because it applies Snyder's style to an animated family film, which are flavors that do not mix. And of course, there's been endless debate as to whether the "Snyder Cut" redeemed the critically-panned "Justice League."

But out of all of Snyder's films, one stands out as the definitive worst. That film is "Sucker Punch," his bizarro 2011 action fantasy about an abused woman in a mental hospital rising up against her captors. "Sucker Punch" has its defenders, and it's an interesting misfire for sure, but it's indisputably a misfire. The numbers — Rotten Tomatoes scores, Snyder movie ranking lists, and box office figures — put "Sucker Punch" at the bottom of the pile.

Critics slammed Sucker Punch

"Sucker Punch" stars Emily Browning as Babydoll, a young woman who is framed for murder by her evil stepfather. The stepfather gets her locked up in an asylum and makes a deal with an orderly named Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) to forge a doctor's signature and get her lobotomized, so she can't tell the police what really happened. In order to psychologically endure her awful situation, Babydoll imagines herself and other patients and the hospital staff in an elaborate brothel fantasy. Then she imagines fantasies within that fantasy as she and her fellow patients carry out her escape plan.

Snyder intended for "Sucker Punch" to be a critique of sexism in geek culture, according to Comic Book Debate, but for many viewers, the execution left a lot to be desired. The film has the lowest critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes of any of Snyder's movies. It currently sits at 22%, firmly in the "Rotten" category. The Dispatch's Matthew Lucas called the film "misogyny disguised as empowerment" because of the brutality Snyder inflicts on his female characters. "When they come out on the other side brutalized and beaten but still victorious, one wonders just how necessary the extremity of the previous cruelty actually was," he wrote. Audiences concurred with critics, though not as severely, that "Sucker Punch" was a bad movie. It has a 47% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest of any of Snyder's films.

Sucker Punch was a box office flop

"Sucker Punch" often scores low on rankings of Zack Snyder movies by publications. It's consistently in last or second-to-last place. It ranks in last on Esquire and Collider's lists, with Collider's Matt Goldberg calling it "at best, a woefully misguided feminist treatise. At worst, it's an unbearable slog of total hypocrisy drenched in empty machismo." It's in second-to-last on Vulture's list, ahead of "Batman v. Superman," and just in front of "The Owls of Ga'Hoole" on Flickering Myth's list. Looper's own list has it at the very bottom.

In case that all wasn't damning enough, "Sucker Punch" also had the worst box office performance of any of Snyder's films, if you don't count the curious case of "Justice League," which both made and lost more money than "Sucker Punch" and was directed by Snyder mostly in name only. "Sucker Punch" grossed $36.4 million domestically and $89.8 million worldwide against a $75 million budget, according to The Numbers. Box Office Mojo reports its underperformance even more severely, estimating that the budget for "Sucker Punch" was actually $82 million. 

"Sucker Punch" is an undeniably flawed movie, but you should watch it on Hulu to decide for yourself if it's Zack Snyder's worst movie.