Movie: "The Spirit"
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Frank Miller
Writing credits: Frank Miller, Will Eisner
Plot: Rookie cop Denny Colt returns from the dead to protect The City from a villain calling himself The Octopus (yes, the Octopus) who plans to make himself invincible with the Blood of Hercules and destroy the City or something.
Review: If you were thinking that The Spirit would be as close as humanly possible to witnessing "The Goddamn Batman" on the big screen and that because of this it would be hilariously awesome, I'm sorry to inform you that you're only half right. Oh, it is pretty much just like watching Frank's work on "The Goddamn Batman" in motion picture form (in fact, he frequently borrows turns of phrase and bits of dialog directly from it) and therein lies the problem.
With "The Goddamn Batman" being in print form, I find it extremely stupid, but also immensely enjoyable because it provides so many laughs. It's one of my most anticipated comics and often the first thing I read on the rare event that an issue is released. But, given the nature of the medium, my senses are only assaulted in small doses at a time, and I can pause any time I want to, when the stupidity of it gets too much to bear. The Spirit being a film, however, does not provide such luxuries. When the story and hideously awful dialog become too overwhelmingly stupid to take, you can't take a break from it (at least not before DVD)--no, the relentless assault just keeps on coming, pummeling your eyes and ears with buckets of uncompromising stupid.
I have to shamefully admit that I've never read any of Will Eisner's original Spirit series, but it doesn't take any kind of imagination stretching to know that it's got to be tremendously better than this. The only thing I could even remotely praise is the stylized look of the film, but even that wears thin after a while. The dialog, acting, and plot are as painfully awful as they could possibly be. Not even Samuel L. Jackson, one of my favorite actors who often participates in very cheesy but perfectly enjoyable movies, could save this. Frank Miller's awful dialog just sounded completely flat coming out of his mouth. Even the novelty of seeing him in a Nazi uniform wore off after about two seconds and just became tedious.
One other thing I have to point out is that Frank Miller certainly appreciates beautiful women, and you'll find plenty of them here. There's no doubt that Eva Mendes, Paz Vega, and Scarlett Johannson are extremely easy on the eyes, but if Miller just wants to shoot film of the female form with no coherent story, why doesn't he just cut the crap and start filming pornos? It would save everyone a lot of trouble.
The Spirit feels like a film your friend might have made back when he was fourteen, realized what he'd done and hidden it away rather than destroy it because he foolishly couldn't bear to part with it, bad as it may be. And it's the kind of thing that, if you were lucky enough to stumble across it while snooping through his things, you could forever blackmail him with the impending threat of its release into the world. Unfortunately for Frank Miller, he preempted any attempts at extortion by beating everyone to the punch and releasing it himself so that no one else would have the power to embarrass him, which is either really insane, really ballsy, or both.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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