Hanna Director Joe Wright Slams Sucker Punch's Girl Power, Spice Girls: 'That's Marketing Bullsh*t'

SuckerPunchPoster300.pngIn San Francisco to present his upcoming teen assassin thriller Hanna at WonderCon, director Joe Wright threw a few pointed barbs toward Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch, calling out the film's brand of scantily clad feminism. Speaking exclusively with Movieline, Wright elaborated on the subject, tracing the "alarming" brand of sexually-exploitative girl power found in Sucker Punch back to the Spice Girls.

"For me, one of the main issues in terms of womens' place in society and feminism is the sexual objectification of women," Wright told Movieline in Los Angeles before presenting his latest film, Hanna, to the WonderCon crowd on Saturday. "That's something that feminists in the '70s tried to fight against but has been totally lost in the 21st century consumer-celebrity world. So for me, when I look at the poster for Sucker Punch it seems actually incredibly sexist, because it is sexually objectifying women regardless of if they can shoot you or not.

"I have a kind of immediate, knee-jerk reaction to such iconography," Wright continued. "I remember when the Spice Girls came out in the mid-'90s and it was all about girl power, but one of them was dressed as a baby doll, do you know what I mean? That isn't girl power, that isn't feminism. That's marketing bullshit. And I find it very, very alarming."

Wright made no secret of his disapproval of Snyder's film and its marketing campaign during his Hanna panel, where he and star Saoirse Ronan talked up the fierce teen protagonist of their film as a healthier role model for young women. In Hanna, 16-year-old Ronan plays the titular teenager, a girl raised in the wild as an assassin by her ex-CIA operative father; when the time comes, Hanna leaves home on a mission for revenge that opens her eyes to the world beyond her isolated upbringing. Ronan told Movieline why Hanna is the antithesis of the heroines of Sucker Punch.

"In my opinion, the reason that Hanna is so empowering is because she is a young girl who is not in sexy clothing and is not sexy, really, in any way," Ronan explained. "She's a bit of a misfit, especially when she steps out into the world, and is quite confused and fascinated at the same time by everything that she sees. And suddenly she turns into an animal, because these people that she's fighting -- every single one of them threatens the person that she loves, which is her father. The only world she knows. And although it is violent in some places, it's all motivated by love. That's quite wonderful, I think."

That said, between Hanna and Sucker Punch, only one film features an intimate moment between two female characters -- and it's not the one you might think. [SPOILER] In Wright's film, Hanna shares a chaste kiss with her new friend, played by Jessica Barden. The moment was Ronan's idea. "I thought it was quite fitting for Hanna to have a physical connection with someone who she cares about," she said. "Sophie is someone who she doesn't have anything in common with, and really they're both opposites. One is what no one is, really, and one is what so many young teenagers are now, and for these two forces to come together and develop a very intimate relationship... and it's not a sexual sort of romance, but it's quite a lovely friendship. And that's what girls do. It's innocent, and I thought it was kind of perfect for the scene."

Hanna is in theaters Friday; check back this week for full interviews with Joe Wright and Saoirse Ronan.


  • JaySin420 says:

    Well he makes a good point, but having a 16 yr old actress kissing another girl in his movie totally ruins his credibility on this subject.

  • SpencerP says:

    The reason for the skimpy outfits is because when you imagine yourself, you don't imagine yourself as a normal person with a t-shirt and sweatpants on, you imagine yourself as a sexy badass. Everyone does, admit it. Hanna might be good, although I can't stand Ronin, but Sucker Punch is more than what it seems Mr. Wright.

  • ILDC says:

    Sorry, but no one imagines themselves as S&M sailors, Mr. Snyder.

  • ed says:

    Wright sounds like a one-dimensional douche. Amazing to me just how naive and willfully narrow-minded those in the media choose to be. The number 1 comedy in Amercia ( or close, not sure because I don't watch the brainless programming on Fox or any other network) is about a low-life womanizing addict who runs a half-way house for his equally stunted brother and child; this is allegedly charming and witty. Amazing that critics who are feeding their families by supporting this and other exploitation mediums/products ( ie most "romantic" comedies, anything on the CW, reality tv, Adam Sandler movies, Matt McConnaghey movies, magazine racks at the store, most video games, really it's everything we see and hear) didn't stop to listen to what Snyder was saying or realize the daring brilliance in baiting the audience withe fetish based objectification so prominant in the entertainment industry and our daily lives. Brittany Spears launched a career based on teen fetish. See any current or ex-Disney starlet and how popular they are with people twice their age and you'll see the message and purpose of Sucker Punch. You were supposed to feel uncomfortable. The objectification of women (especially age 15-30) is an emotional imprisonment; from skinny jeanz to Victoria's Secret. EVERY woman has experienced the power she wields with her sexuality and every women has used the that to feel powerful and gain the upper hand on the prison guard, sometimes simultaneously. Sometimes simultaneoulsy loathing and enjoying it. If you don't know that then you might not know the one your with as well as you think. Sucker Punch is mindless, challenging, thought provoking and threatening all in one breath and Snyder should be applauded for daring to make a movie that he knew would be misunderstood and villified and strikes right at the heart of some of the thrill of his prior endeavors. Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) said it best; (paraphrasing) "this isn't titillating, this is sick".

  • christine says:

    See the movie before you start comenting on it. Sucker Punch is intended to spotlight the enslaving objectification as a "shame on you" to the viewing audience. Sucker Punch is about illustrating the damage the media does and the people that eat it up. Snyder didn't create the palette but he is toying with it ...and the unwitting audience. Women ARE enslaved with their sexuality. And they do use it to empower themselves. It may be sad and wrong but it IS the reality we exist in. Wright sounds pretty dumb...but so do most of the people that thought Sucker Punch was just action and voyeurism.

  • kudos says:

    Christine and Ed: You have thought more about the meaning of 'sucker punch' than Snyder did the whole time he was making it. I guarantee that Both these directors have a distorted sense of what their movies convey.

  • bobby the saint says:

    Say what you want about Wright, but
    Hanna > Sucker Punch
    Just saying. and the Box office of Hanna will prove it. Sucker Punch is about to get TK'od

  • Gsnizzle says:

    I agree, we do see ourselves as badasses in our minds, the outifts make sense in that way.

  • brundlefly says:

    OK - for the record - having just seen 'Sucker Punch' - the reason that the film is being received so badly by most critics doesn't seem to me to be based on its sexual politics, it's just galactically fucking stupid.
    There is virtually NO story. It doesn't follow any sort of internal logic (WHY does Baby Doll escape into an imagined reality? It seemed to me that a comic book obsession or some existential philosophy on her bookshelves would've explained this away but we're expected to just go along with it) and this concept of it being a statement on how women are being objectified or 'enslaved' by their sexuality is moronic. The film does not even begin to address or discuss this topic, it is trying to be a Rubik's cube of plot construction - but it is nowhere near as smart as it seems to think it is. The set up is heavy handed and obvious then it just plods along with one mindless action sequence - with zero jeopardy (as it's all set in the girls mind) - after another. The music video execution is irritating, as the music consists of annoying covers of great songs - and the characters are paper thin (the less said about Scott Glenn's senseless platitude-mumbling zen master the better).
    I did not give a shit about anything that happened on screen as I was not able to make any kind of connection to an on-screen character. I really dig Snyder's other films - he's talented - but this is misconceived on every level.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    I guess you have never been in West Hollywood on a Saturday night.

  • Morgo says:

    having seen the trailer for Hanna I fully expect it to be awesome.
    All I've seen is the first five mins of Sucker Punch, and from what I've heard, the whole story is just a dream and I'm not going to invest in watching a non-story. Especially with over-sexed marketing images and the half-crazed defensives aboves (which lets face it are never a good sign).
    I don't think they're necessarily competing with each other, but based on the marketing, I'm in the theatres for Hanna on opening night, and I'm giving Sucker Punch a miss for now. THough I do love Jena Malone and Abbie COrnish so will probably see it *eventually*

  • Morgo says:

    I will try to remember to ask a few of my girlfriends how they would dress in fantasy badass mode, and report back. I suspect it won't be miniskirts and fuck-me boots, but you never know. If it were me and I was kicking ass, I'd wear mechanised body suit. and I'd put my hair up out of the way.

  • pitchthedevil says:

    I'm agreeing with Brundlefly.
    The movie is a toss. I was so unattached to this that I thought the Kung-Fu guy was Leonard Nimoy. My favorite line is when "Babydoll" makes the statement at the end of the flick, "This was never my story..." So then, honey, why the fuck have we been staring at YOU looking pouty and upset for 90 minutes? And why do we never see her, y'know, DANCE? The music starts, she gets a look like she's eaten too many burritos and then BAM: Some stupid music video with Russ Meyer's "Platoon" cast starts.
    As to feminism, well, I think the 3rd wave has, in fact, accepted the fact the men are going to act salaciously towards women no matter what the roles are, and that women have begun to use it as a weapon and a skill. ANd bringing up the 70s? Come ON. No one listened to Bella Abzug, it took cute, blonde (and PERKY) Gloria Steinham to make American's think feministically.
    Also, WAS there supposed to be some reverse-in-your-face-objectification-is-wrong message? Because I didn't get it. I mean; I got the message that it's not good to be a pederast evil stepfather with a weight problem, and that if you're a sleazy, swarthy, "Raul Julia as Gomez Addams" mustache wearing , signature forging, lobotomy patient raping orderly, you will, probably, eventually get caught. But, Zach didn't need to tell me that. I kind of knew already.

  • Confused says:

    Hmm don't seem to remember everyone getting into a tizzy about a bunch of oiled up muscular dudes in iron bikinis. Guess no one watched 300.

  • Alan Newman says:

    Thank You! Same thing, different gender. Just turn your brain off and watch the movie.

  • ILDC says:

    At least 300 looked like a real movie.

  • Frost says:

    Yes, Sucker Punch was exactly like 300, including the how the Spartans lapdanced the Persians in their dreams.

  • Marcus says:

    It's amazing how some people think their opinion dictates reality, and that gives them the right to be as impatient, unkind and rude as they want to force that opinion upon others. As if that will actually help earn them respect. As if how we feel about a movie is particularly relevant or worth feeling threatened about. I was thinking about going to go see Hanna this weekend, but I think I will wait for it to come out on video now. That's just my choice the rest of you can do what you want, I don't really care, even if it's to continue to criticize one another.

  • Donia K. says:

    “I have a kind of immediate, knee-jerk reaction to such iconography,” Wright continued. “I remember when the Spice Girls came out in the mid-’90s and it was all about girl power, but one of them was dressed as a baby doll, do you know what I mean? That isn’t girl power, that isn’t feminism. That’s marketing bullshit. And I find it very, very alarming.”
    You mean a woman's ideas aren't feminists if that woman wear something or wants to wear something and it happens this something is considered as sexual by men?
    Something is wrong. If we live in a gender-equal world, then a woman can chose to dress in a babydoll without being seen as a sexual object.

  • Augustine says:

    Joe Wright, as anyone who's seen The Soloist or Atonement can attest, isn't a very good storyteller. He's good at creating visual tableaus and not much else.
    No wonder he's slagging off his main competition for this weekend's box office in the female action movie market. Zack Snyder's last two movies, 300 and Watchmen were incredible visual experiences, with great story and loads of action.

  • Adela Rogers says:

    Your article: "That said, between Hanna and Sucker Punch, only one film features an intimate moment between two female characters — and it’s not the one you might think."
    The fact that you would imply the sexualization of a loving kiss between two young female friends with your intimation is cheap and tacky. It is that kind of salacious framing that Joe Wright objects to, and accurately so.

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