Above shadowy, crime-infested streets a masked avenger watches. Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) was one of Central City?s finest cops until a gangster?s bullet ended his life. Now Fate has brought him back from the beyond as Th... more »e Spirit, a street-hardened hero who faces off against seductive foes like the voluptuous Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) and the alluring Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson). Then, of course, there?s his evil archenemy, The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), with a mission to wipe out Spirit?s beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality in this graphic action-thriller.« less
"First off, let me make it clear this movie may not appeal to everyone. It's the cinematic equivalent of Frank Miller's recent comic work: incredible visuals with ridiculous, over-the-top dialogue. Likewise, if you try to take this film seriously then you may not gain much gratification. However if you view The Spirit with an open mind as you would while watching the Adam West Batman show or reading Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All-Star Batman and Robin, then you're sure to have a much more enjoyable time with this irreverent pop culture parody. At several points in this film you just have to laugh out loud at the absurdity. Just don't go in expecting Sin City or The Dark Knight. The Spirit is on the other end of the artistic spectrum, demented post-modern camp/kitsch exploitation.
Even though Miller updated The Spirit with his own visual trademarks and sense of humor, in many ways it's very faithful to Will Eisner's comic. I must emphasize the term "comic" since that is exactly what Will Eisner's creation was, a comic book with a humorous, comedic core. In any sense of the word, The Spirit is a "comic" film through and through. You get the feeling as if Frank Miller wrote/illustrated a modern Spirit graphic novel and then adapted his work to film panel by panel. Comic fans will also appreciate many of the subtle (and not so subtle) nods to comic book culture such as "the Elektra complex", which of course references Miller's own legendary run on Daredevil. (which was inspired by Will Eisner's original Sand Saref storyline from The Spirit)
In conclusion, The Spirit is a fun comic book film ideal for Frank Miller fans and comic book fans in general with an offbeat sense of humor.
Just plain damn wierd.
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 04/19/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Chalk me up as a Frank Miller fanboy. Along with fellow visionary Alan Moore, he changed the world of comic books forever with his bleak, noir-heavy storytelling and striking art style into something that wasn't just for kids anymore. God bless him for that. Along with Robert Rodriguez, he brought his pulp masterpiece Sin City to the big screen and kicked the a$z of every person who saw it. But could he duplicate the same artistic success with somebody else's creation and without the help of a directing dynamo like Rodriguez? Not so much. But in spite of all the bile that has been spewed upon Miller's solo directorial debut "The Spirit", I had myself a good ol' time. And with the right attitude, you might as well. Just be prepared for a whole lotta cheese.
Now I have not read any of Will Eisner's comics so I simply cannot comment on how this fares as an adaptation. I suspect not so well. A lot of people who saw this went in seeing the amazing visual style of "Sin City" coupled with Miller's name and expected more of the same. Visually, "The Spirit" may be even better, but the tone.....well I can honestly say I haven't seen anything else quite like it. Between this and some of his recent comic work (oh yeah, "All-Star Batman and Robin", I'm looking at you!) I believe that Miller has gone little bit bonkers after so many years of writing mean and nasty comic books. This movie is practically a comedy. At times absurdly so. I'm talking Adam West as Batman comedic. For all the stark black-and-white imagery, classic crime story dialogue, and sultry vamps it's hard to take a film or character seriously when he's thrown out of a building by his girl, gets his coat caught on a statue and dangles with his pants around his ankles while a crowd mocks him (one kid simply states "He looks stupid!", while another bystander chimes "You will believe a man CAN'T fly!"). In the end, "The Spirit" is about camp as much as anything else. I laughed out loud several times. This movie is definitely being filed in the "so bad it's good" file. I just think that Miller's faux-serious tone here coupled with the darkness of his previous work just did not gel with the fans on this one.
Lots of good, though. Again, the visuals are stunning. This is one aspect that has always been a can't miss for Frank Miller. The silhouette image of white blood on black concrete, the partially-real/partially-animated hero jumping from rooftop to rooftop, the classical sexiness of the ladies, the reds, the greys; this one is head-to-toe eye candy. Speaking of which, I was shocked to find a PG-13 flick from a man who is loathe to ever draw a fully-clothed woman. Maybe Miller's a chauvinist or just a slave to his adolescent fantasies (the smart money's on door #2) but aside from a few genuine a$zkicking characters like Elektra and deadly little Miho, it seems like every woman he draws is A) as close to naked as he can get her if he's drawing a mainstream comic, B) naked if at all possible, C) in the story primarily for titillation, and D) ridiculously horny. The gallery here is sexy as all hell, but amount to a bunch of caricatures. But to be fair, every character in this film is a caricature, not just the "broads". This brings me to the best casting choice this side of Paz Vega as the blade-wielding looney-tune Plaster of Paris (yes, that is her name): Samuel L. Jackson as the cosplay-happy supervillain The Octopus. When it comes to playing comically over-the-top, this is the man to call first. In one scene he and his henchmistress are dressed as samurai. If I was in the theater, I would have shouted "SHO NUFF!" at the screen. Then maybe one dude would have laughed because he actually saw The Last Dragon. God, I'm a freakin' nerd.
The story....who cares. Some complete nonsense about Greek mythology, immortality, and The Spirit's long-lost girlfriend. The point is this: this movie is 100% bat$hi+, ridiculous, visually stimulating, and good for some WTF-style laughs. I'm talking tiny head attached to a foot hopping around WTF-style laughs. I mean a villain who works eggs into every conversation he has over the course of an hour and a half WTF-style laughs. If you take a second of this film seriously , you'll have wasted your time. This is just a guilty pleasure homage filled with sly references to comics and cinema past. Arguably better then the film is the special feature "Miller on Miller" where the master gives us a 15-minute lesson on comic history and the medium's significance along with a metric ton of insight into his life and career.
Truth be told, I don't know what the hell Frank Miller was thinking when he unleashed "The Spirit" on an unsuspecting world. This film is just bizarre and nonsensical to the hilt. There's a lot of fun to be had with it, but I am hardly surprised by the chilly reception it received. Only a certain kind of genre fanatic will get anything out of it, but if you're up for some cinematic weirdness that pays tribute to the days of pulp long past, then give this DVD a spin."
DONT BUY THIS SPECIAL EDITION!
MIKE LEE | Texas, USA | 04/17/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"total rip-off. the second disc is the digital copy, which upon dropping in you pc does nothing more than link you to itunes and then prompt you to enter the code and download your movie... what a waste!
if i knew this i would have bought the regular version.
there are free dvd ripping progs out there. just gotta look, and they work great!
otherwise, i really enjoy this movie! its got action. its corny as hell, but hey, its a comic. its entertainment!"
Not Sin City 2
Jonathan R. Polder | Vancouver, WA | 06/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I never saw this in theaters because everyone's reaction seemed to be that of disappointment. Then it dawned on me, everyone kept telling me it was not as good as 300 or Sin City. I finally rented it and I can honestly say it was excellent. The film from beginning to end was beautifully done; all the visuals were eye candy and fascinating.
I think the film loses the possible merit it could have had because it was marketed so strongly with Frank Millers previous connections to 300 and Sin City. Both of which were very dark stories.
The Spirit is a dark story with a tongue in cheek attitude that does not take itself too serious.
That is what I found so amazing about the film. Frank Miller's ability to capture the gritty action of a crime noir adventure while controlling the cheese factor results in a solid and balanced movie.
I also have not followed any of Will Eisner's original Spirit comics so my opinion of the cast's portrayal of the characters is based solely on their performances within the film. Of which were excellent, especially front man Gabriel Macht's performance as The Spirit.
This is Frank Millers first feature length debut film and I am thoroughly looking forward to his future works.
All in all I would say to approach this movie with an open mind and not to compare it to Sin City or 300. You'll be in for a surprise that is fresh, different, and enjoyable. "
THE SPIRIT gives up the ghost
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 04/15/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Man, I was not quite sure how I was going to react to this film. Not that I'm on Will Eisner's jock or anything or that I'm that big of a Spirit buff, but as a kid I did read some of the Spirit's collected comic strips and was struck with how innovative those pages looked (especially the title pages). So, yes, going into the film, I had a preconceived notion of what the Spirit should look and feel like. As it turns out, visually, THE SPIRIT is arresting eye candy, even if it smacks too much of SIN CITY. And I guess I'm even okay with how the Spirit looks, with his having traded the rumpled blue business suit for a more somber black one. I even dig the day-glo soles, and that red tie remains vivid. But, oh dear, the storytelling...
In Central City, rookie cop Denny Colt bites a bullet but then rises from the dead to become a masked urban vigilante. Having relinquished his former identity, the Spirit works side by side with Central City's police force to foil a rogues' gallery bizarre enough to give Batman and Dick Tracy's odd nogoodniks a run for their money. So far, so good. But then, Samuel L. Jackson enters the picture, and even though the man probably does a fine job as the Spirit's archenemy, the Octopus, the overriding thought that struck me whenever he's on screen is: "Cripes, it's Samuel Jackson doing his Samuel Jackson thing!" So there's a chance that Samuel Jackson may be flirting with overexposure. He's already Nick Fury, Shaft, Afro Samurai, Jules Winnfield and Mace Windu. Even Pop Culture is saying, ease up now, brah.
Echoing Eisner's stories, the Spirit runs into a bevy of gorgeous but dangerous beauties, from the highly intelligent Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson), to the exotic and loony Plaster of Paris (Paz Vega), to Lorelei, the Angel of Death (Jaime King). In the Thankless Roles Department, Sarah Paulson plays Ellen Dolan, the Spirit's faithful goody-goody sweetheart and not at all a femme fatale. Eva Mendes sizzles as Sand Saref, Denny Colt's avaricious childhood sweetheart and most certainly a femme fatale. Sand Saref's psyche is twisted enough that one insight claims that she suffers from an Electra complex (which is the opposite of an Oedipus complex). And as an appreciative guy-slash-pig, I can't help but celebrate Frank Miller's celebration of Eva Mendes's, er, more prominent talents.
Who nowadays doesn't have a healing factor? The Spirit of the comic strips may have been resurrected but he still always seemed like an everyman schmoe and that was always part of the draw. Introducing this regenerative element, basically making him into just another superhero, seems like a slap in the mug. But what torpedoes this film more than anything else is that Frank Miller - brilliant as a comic book writer/artist but dim as a director - seems to think that comic books and movies are one and the same. On the positive side, the film unveils striking imagery and awesome punch-in-the-face action. On the dubious, there are those dreary, overwrought inner monologues and what I like to call those I-am-embarassed-for-Frank-Miller soliloquies. There are scenes that simply do not work, no matter how much Miller tries to make them appealing or interesting. That whole sequence with a captured Spirit and the Octopus gigged out in Adolf's glad rags is an exercise in incomprehensibility and long-windedness. Yes, the audience does finally get the 411 on the crucial origin story and the thrust of the plot (it hinges on the Octopus's pursuit of immortality), but, honestly, I'd rather have had piranhas make a beeline for my goodies. And the fervent way the Spirit talks about the City, he and the City should just go get a room. Also high on the annoymemeter are those awkward intrusions by the Angel of Death (who, I gather, is also trying hard to get a room with the Spirit).
Huh. I just noticed that I haven't even mentioned the actor who plays the Spirit.
My last two cents is that THE SPIRIT, while looking very good, comes off as hollow and heavy-handed and plodding enough that at times I had trouble keeping my eyes open. There's no real depth to the characters, and even the awesome Samuel Jackson overdoes the cool schtick. On the bright side, I perked up when I heard Christina Aguilera's rendition of "Falling In Love Again" during the end credits. But I go back to an early scene, during a Spirit/Octopus fighty fight. Even that early into the movie, I had a sinking feeling. And when the Spirit gets kabonked on the noggin by the porcelain toilet, I went: "Yep, that's about right.""