The Spirit

Distributed By:  Lionsgate

Reviewed by Ismael Manzano


            Hello ladies and gentlemen of the information super-highway, it is I, your friendly cyberspace reviewer, back from my extended coma to bring you a piece of my mind about a little piece of current cinematography.  The piece in question, Frank Miller’s “The Spirit.”  Having seen 300 and Sin City—both comic book adaptations and both directed by Frank Miller —I was eager to sink my teeth into this stylistically familiar movie, certain that everything Frank created would turn to gold. 

            The Spirit, starring Gabriel Macht (Because I Said So ), revolves around crime-fighting antics of Central City’s former detective—Denny Colt—turned vigilante.  Denny’s new life began the day he died and was resurrected from the dead.  Convinced that he was destined for a higher purpose, and that his old life was only a distraction that would interfere with his true calling, he adopted the persona of The Spirit, quickly discovering that he could not be wounded or killed. 

            Standing in The Spirit’s way, his arch nemesis, The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson, Iron Man, Snakes on a Plane), a criminal chemist and drug dealer who fights to gain ultimate power no matter what the cost.  With his henchmen, beautiful assistant Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson , Lost in Translation), and a seemingly unlimited supply of mentally inferior cloned thugs, The Octopus challenges The Spirit night after night.  However, since The Octopus also can not be hurt or killed, their battles always end in a stalemate, and the frustration that results causes The Spirit to become completely obsessed with The Octopus. 

            Two things push this obsession over the edge.  One is The Octopus’ claim that he knows how The Spirit came back from the dead.  The other is the supposed link between The Octopus and Denny Colt’s old girlfriend, Sand Serf (Eva Mendez, Ghost Rider).  With The Octopus’ plans to become truly immortal coming closer and closer to fruition and his own past coming down around him, can The Spirit stay focused to overcome the odds and save the city that he claims to have given him heart too?

            Well that’s a quick overview of the movie.  Now for my personal opinion. 

            There are good movies, bad movies and, then there are movies that are “just ridiculous” (The Octopus, The Spirit).  This line was uttered after the antagonist shot the hero with two quadruple-barreled sawed-off shotguns.  Funny enough, this line perfectly describes my viewing experience.  Let’s begin with the overly film noir-like narrative of The Spirit that in itself would have been difficult to stomach, if it was not followed up—in the first ten minutes of the movie—by a knock-down-drag-out battle with The Octopus that is so cartoonish it was laughable.  What do I mean?  Picture a fight in which someone actually throws a kitchen sink at another person, while fighting in a tar pit. 

            Not enough?  How about The Octopus’ constant and unconnected comments about eggs?   I’m not kidding.  He lamented about having egg on his face, his dislike for brown eggs, and generally complained about life using other forgettable egg references.  Still not convinced?  Well, let’s go into The Octopus’ repeated costume changes.  He went from wearing a fisherman’s slicker, to a full samurai garb, to a Nazi General’s uniform. Granted, in the comic book, The Octopus was a master of disguise, but in the movie his disguises were not meant to fool or hide from anyone; they seemed more like a game of dress-up. 

            Still not enough?  How about Sand Serf, Denny Colt’s old flame, turned jewelry-obsessed international criminal?  It was bad enough that her name makes no sense whatsoever, even by comic book standards, but to hear The Octopus and Silken saying her full name over and over again was just plain annoying. 

            Really, you need more?  Ok.  I’ve got a good one for you.  How about, a scene in which the Octopus is transfixed by a failed attempt to create a smarter clone thug?  An experiment that resulted in a three inch tall head/foot version of his usual henchmen design. 

            The movie’s mix of dark noir style and cartoonish slapstick was a trademark of the original comic book, but in movie format the combination just did not work, and left me wondering exactly what type movie I was watching.  Diehard fans of the comic will probably be offended by the mix-n-match that was done with the characters—the merging of Octopus and Dr. Cobra for one—or the fabricated role of Lorelei (Jaime King, Sin City) as some sort of Death Spirit waiting in the wings for Denny to finally die when she only ever appeared in one issue and was merely a mesmerizer.  People who’ve never heard of the original comic book will probably feel deceived by previews that did not properly represent the movie’s juvenile nature, and were probably expecting a movie more like Sin City

            So basically, whether you’ve heard of the comic book or not, you’ve bound to be disappointed by the movie—unless you’re a young child, in which case, the scene in which Eva Mendez’s nude ass is shown will probably offend your parents.  Either way you cut it, the movie sucks and should not be watched by anyone.  I’m really sorry I went to see this movie and feel pity for anyone who isn’t fortunate enough to read this review before deciding to see this skid mark on Frank Miller’s career.    


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