Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Thriller, Crime/Gangster and Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min.
Release Date: December 25th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating PG-13 for intense sequences of stylized violence and action, some sexual content and brief nudity.
Director: Frank Miller
JJ Rating: B-
The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) battles Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) because they don’t like one another. Octopus wants what is inside a case. Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) also wants something that is in a case. There’s a case mix-up. They want to trade. The Spirit goes to the hospital to get fixed up from the battle with Octopus. Dr. Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson) fixes him up but also feels him up. She’s not the only woman that has an eye for The Spirit. The Spirit.
It is directed by Frank Miller who had a hand in 300 and Sin City which both have similar visual looks that The Spirit borrows from. In that regard The Spirit is fantastic. The visual look is total eye candy with the darkness but the bright red tie and the bright soles of the shoes. Along with the look of the city, the fall of the snow, the battle, the gun blasts, the wounds and the glow of the face in close ups are all visually satisfying.
Then there’s the quirky aspect of the film that the script seems to dance with. It’s interesting and has a bit of dark humor along with silly, slightly witty humor. And it would have worked but I think they crossed the line that would keep it from being totally stupid via totally cool. It missed the mark of awesome and settled for the mark of disgrace. There were some great lines that were well written, even though they were completely silly and dorky. Then there’s lines that hit the brain like child garble. It treats the audience as if they are stupid. I don’t particularly like that.
The acting was fine. I think Gabriel Macht was a good choice for The Spirit and the women were well cast as well as Jackson as Octopus. Jackson, however, has a scene where he touches one of his sideburns and it looked like he was pressing them back on. Weird. I don’t think that was part of the script. Then there’s Dan Lauria who played the police chief. I had not seen him since that great TV show “The Wonder Years.” He played a good part here and there, but I don’t know where else.
Is there an over saturation of comic book movies? I don’t think so. That is a completely bias answer because I love comic books, but I also love only specific ones. I think I’m fair-minded when it comes to these kinds of things seeing how I don’t particularly like Batman but like the films made about him. He’s like the dark human who happens to do good, but that’s for another time.
The costumes that were put on is something to talk about, as well are the names of the characters. I think the names of the characters like Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson, well done) and Pathos…ect. ( Louis Lombardi, weirdly well done) are creative and strike of genius. The costumes were simple and elegant and fit (especially Silken Floss) the characters personalities very well. They made hot women hotter.
As with most film genres what matters is how the film is created. So too many comic book themed movies isn’t the matter, the matter is how they are done. Frank Miller just didn’t do as well as he has done. There are gems in this film, but there isn’t enough to string together and go, wow that was a work of art. Visually one can’t deny the sick factor of it all, but then one has to add the acting, the script, the story and then they actually feel the Webster definition of sick and puke up comic book hate because of The Spirit and that’s a pity.