The film Sucker Punch is a fantasy feast for your eyes. A girl is locked away in a mental asylum by her abusive stepfather where she repeatedly retreats to a fantastical world in her imagination where she and four other female inmates battle monsters, soldiers, dragons, and robots. I couldn’t help watch the film without thinking of the main character (called ‘Baby Doll’) of a Mary Sue character. Here’s my reasons why.
Oh BTW this contains some big spoilers, it’s probably best to have watched the film before reading.
She’s called ‘Baby Doll’
What kind of a name is ‘Baby Doll’ anyway? It’s a word normally used for a girls nightgown or negligee. Mary Sue characters in fanfiction often have names that don’t relate in any way to the story, but sound interesting.
Everyone loves her
The girls in the asylum don’t say how long they’ve been there, but it’s quite a long time. Apparently people have tried to escape before but have died trying. It doesn’t take long before Baby Doll comes up with a plan to escape and immediately everyone wants to help, looking up to her as their saviour.
She’s got a rough background
After her mother died Baby Doll was abused by her father, and when she tried to protect her sister by shooting her father, she accidentally killed her young sister instead. Traumatised and furious, her evil father convinced everyone she was insane and dragged her to the asylum. Giving her such a terrible background, this makes her a ‘Sympathetic Sue’, and means we’re forced to be sympathetic towards her.
She’s unrealistically athletic
Like a typical Mary Sue, she’s perfect at everything. She can backflip, somersault, dodge bullets, jump over swords and do many more super cool stunts. Like a Marty Stu, she’s the perfect action hero.
She always has perfect hair and make-up
Baby Doll fights huge monsters, falls great heights, gets battered and beaten around by giants and thrown into stone walls with forces that would shatter any normal Human body. But not only is she fine, but her hair and make-up is still perfect.
She knows how to use many types of gun
At only 20 years old and with no military training, Baby Doll seems extremely adept at many types of guns, including automatics and handguns. This would probably need a good few years of military training to handle the guns, and the military tactics she was using. As we’ve seen, this is one of the traits that makes your character a Mary Sue. Of course, this is mostly just shown in her fantasy scenarios so we can forgive it, but we’ve at least seen she can at least handle a handgun in real life because she shot at her evil father at the start.
She has a sword
Many Marty Stu’s I’ve seen do prefer to use a sword, even in a scifi setting. There’s something more stylish about using a sword than guns, and it definitely looks very cool when you’re doing athletic moves that slash villains from all sides.
Her dancing is amazing
When Baby Doll dances for the first time, everyone is captivated. Every time she dances during the film she captivates everyone and the men think she’s the best thing ever. This is a special ability that’s hyped up so much that it’s almost a superpower in the film. It’s the only distraction the girls can use to collect the items they need to escape.
She sacrifices herself in the end
Just like the original Lt Mary Sue in “A Trekkies Tale” who ran the starship Enterprise while the rest of the crew were stricken by a terrible disease, putting her duty to everyone else above her own health, and then died, Baby Doll gave up her freedom at the end to allow her friend Sweet Pea to escape instead.
In context I know this was a hyper-real film, and most of the film was in Baby Doll’s imagination, so quite literally anything could happen. I’m not at all complaining about the lack of realism. I just wanted to highlight the similarities between this and the traits we think of in Mary Sue character.