The Spirit’s tag-line is “My city screams.” After watching this movie, I SCREAMED.
You may not know who The Spirit is. I don’t expect you to. After all, I’m in my 50′s and my dad used to read The Spirit in the 1940′s newspaper strips. Only “mature” and “high brow” comic book readers have a taste for vintage crime pulp noir have been exposed to the various reboots and reprints from the 1960′s to today.
In fact, there was a 1970′s resurgence of comic book icon and innovator Will Eisner’s The Spirit when Kitchen Sink Press had rights to it. During the 70′s there was a lot of nostalgia considering the fact that comic book conventions and fanzines were popular, and Stan Lee was screwing Jack Kirby over at Marvel, and DC was so corporate. (I was one of the fanzine geeks back then, and I recall the liberal mentality of supporting Eisner and analyzing his technical skill, and my cohorts proclaimed him the best creator of all time. Eisner had no character flaws, like Lee and Kirby did.)
But I digress.
Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) tried to do a stylized film-noir Sin City-like tribute to The Spirit, wanted to pay respects to the late Will Eisner, and perhaps create a franchise. Instead, he put the final nail in the coffin of a character that never had any star quality to it anyway (let’s face it, he can’t hold a candle to Batman, and is more of the lines of The Shadow). Making a movie of The Spirit had to be a pet project, similar to the ill-fated Phantom movie years ago.
This movie is so bad, that you will long for Warren Beaty’s 1990 DICK TRACY . I’d rather read Full Disclosure 15 times a day than see this movie again (well…on second thought…). My first reaction to the movie was that it was made up of senseless, violent, and unfunny scenes. But it wasn’t supposed to be like that. It takes itself too seriously. It is dark, lame, confusing, sexist, racist, and the biggest bomb of 2008, worse than Speed Racer.
The black and white Frank Miller-style is now officially old hat. It no longer has any affect on me or audiences. There are movies like Pineapple Express, where one must smoke weed to enjoy the dumbness and stupidity of the film, and then there’s The Spirit, where one must probably lick acid tabs to follow this incoherent mess.
Everyone knows Frank Miller jumped the shark from the creative standpoint when he wrote and drew the comic book DK2 (Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again). Then it was revealed he no longer writes anything NEW. Miller had become fixated on fetishes, swastikas, Converse sneakers, dinosaurs, and dominatrix girls. His jump the shark over-the-top style doesn’t fit Will Eisner’s vision or meaning of The Spirit. Miller shows that he is IN OVER HIS HEAD when it comes to directing something new. This “homage movie” comes off as a hostile spoof of the great legacy of Will Eisner, who is turning in his grave, that his creation be reduced to…this, a bizarre, offensive, poorly acted, horribly narrated, parody of crime comic books.
There’s no fire, passion, or innovation here, the acting is worse than the new Star Wars trilogy, the extended scenes and running gags are boring, and it is the most disappointing (thus, worst) movie of the year. George Lucas would love it.
Samuel L. Jackson- remember he used to be a top actor? I almost pitied him, but then I realized that he’s been taking any half-baked idea for years now (see Unbreakable, Changing Lanes, Star Wars, etc.) God, Samuel, I used to think you had potential to be a serious actor like Morgan Freeman, but now thanks to your crazed attempt to take roles based on “cool scripts”, you have lost your star power.
Scarlett Johansson- throughout the whole movie she seems like she’s reading a script in front of a blue screen- oh, wait, she is. This up-and-coming starlet is worshiped by Frank Miller on visuals alone, and is too stiff here.
Eva Mendes- Looks like she signed up for another bomb. You know when your best movie is a character actor in Training Day, it may be time for posting your resume on Monster.
Jaime King- Another Miller obsession, and she’s signed up for Sin City II (bomb). Fanboys love this blonde chick, just because she doesn’t talk down to them.
Gabriel Macht- Who? You’d think they find a well-known actor to play the lead role of The Spirit!
Eric Balfour- You’d think a good-looking guy who had great runs on 24 and Six Feet Under would star in a movie one of these days.
Dan Lauria- From Wonder Years (the dad) fame and ESPN’s The Bronx is Burning- the only entertaining actor in the entire movie.
Perhaps-perhaps- if you are a 17-year old goth/punk teen who was never exposed to the first 10 minutes of Hellboy 1, and never saw or read Frank Miller’s work or Batman or any other super-hero movie, you’d love the absurd chaos in this movie. Perhaps-perhaps- you would say, “It wasn’t that bad.” That would be less than 1% of the population.
Frank Miller has succeeded in destroying The Spirit from having any mainstream significance.
It’s UNWATCHABLE. It is SOULLESS. It is a WRECK. It is UTTER CRAP. I just PUKED in my mouth a little bit.