Movie: "The Spirit"
Year: 2008
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Frank Miller
Writing credits: Frank Miller, Will Eisner

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 1/5/2009

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.

Overall rating: Whole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Jan 6th, 2009, 03:49 AM
All Miller has ever done is porno, in one way or another.

I wouldn't really say he appreciates beautiful women, considering how many he has stuffed into refrigerators in his work over the years (unless we''re talking the Dario Argento kind of appreciation). But these days that casual misogyny is the least of his sins.

It would have been a whole heapload better if they'd had Sam Jackson playing Ebony White. Think of the massive collective head explosion that would have resulted.
Jan 6th, 2009, 05:20 AM
You almost make it sound like a train wreck; horrifying yet something you are compelled to look at out of curiosity
That damn kid
Jan 6th, 2009, 05:53 AM
I thought this looked bad : /.

Atleast they cut out his racist sidekick.
King of the Monsters
Jan 6th, 2009, 01:11 PM
Well with everything they let Frank do, I'm surprised they didn't keep Ebony White in it.
Can't touch this
Jan 6th, 2009, 01:18 PM
So you're saying I should watch it. If nothing else rolling my eyes is good exercise, and I'm a huge Sam Jackson fanboy.
Jay Leno should be in movies again.
Just sayin'
Forum Virgin
Jan 6th, 2009, 03:52 PM
Ebony White is oblivously the Octopus remember the Dark Knight strike again? its the exact same thing!
Last of the Time Lords
Jan 6th, 2009, 07:23 PM
Nowadays Frank Miller can't write well enough to make porn. I think the testosterone fumes from working on the set of 300 made his brain go soft.
Amicable Herculean
Jan 6th, 2009, 07:33 PM
I thought this was more like Sin City than anything. Who thought it would be a good idea to let Frank Miller, of all people, to direct and write a movie based on one of the best comics ever? And why is his costume black?
The Ugly Puckling
Jan 6th, 2009, 07:59 PM
Because in Frank Miller's world, if the colour blue ever occurs in a comic book, it means black. Few realize that most Sin City stories actually took place on bright shiny black/blue skied days.

Really, that's the logic he used.
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Jan 6th, 2009, 08:07 PM
I don't think I could stand to see this. Denny Colt/ the Spirit was a wiseacre hero who took way more beatings than he gave and always came up laughing. He wasn't gritty or frightening, he was smart alecky and persistent. He was way more good than he was tough, a Jimmy Stewart in a dark blue suit who just didn't know when to give up.

I can't understand why Miller would want to do a movie about a character so clearly not to his taste. And why this character? Eisner is more responsible for the graphic novel than any other comic creator and nothing he ever wrote was simple, or gritty or any of that crap. Does Miller think this is an homage, or is he shitting on it? I don't get it.
Vigilante All-Star
Jan 6th, 2009, 08:27 PM
I actually enjoyed it...whoops?
Amicable Herculean
Jan 7th, 2009, 01:10 AM
Apparently this is the second Spirit movie, because there was another one!
Haven't watched it yet, but It can't be worse than this......right?
The Ugly Puckling
Jan 7th, 2009, 01:17 AM
Frank Miller is to comics and movies what My Chemical Romance is to ears...
Forum Virgin
Jan 7th, 2009, 02:08 AM
If you want to know what The Spirit comics by Eisner are like, just imagine the exact opposite of this movie.
Jan 7th, 2009, 04:43 AM
I had no idea that Frank Miller had anything to do with this, but just by the commercial I could tell it would suck.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Jan 7th, 2009, 01:15 PM
Watching this, I couldn't help but be reminded of Batman Forever. Chock full of camp (intentional or otherwise), stupidity and bizarre costumes, but still 'meh' enough to not be outright bad.

I kinda enjoyed it, though. Couple of the jokes were pretty good, visually it looks great, and dammit, I loved Samuel L. Jackson in this. I think he did a great job, since he seemed to realize what kind of movie he was in (brain-dead dialogue notwithstanding). In the end, though, it feels like it's just best to pass on this one and go watch Sin City again.
The Ugly Puckling
Jan 7th, 2009, 02:58 PM
"My city's screaming! She's my mother! She's my lover! She's my sister! She's my friend with benefits! She's my grandfather! She's my roommate that I experimented sexually with in college!"

Honestly, I just feel bad for Central City, the things it must have seen Frank Miller's version of The Spirit do when nobody was looking.
Jan 8th, 2009, 10:43 AM
Bad, bad movie. I can't imagine anyone over 21 enjoying it.
Forum Virgin
Jan 8th, 2009, 03:34 PM
Judging by Miller's projects this past decade, it seems as though he's completely forgotten how human beings think and feel and act. Roger Ebert said this movie in particular "lacked any human emotion". This can't be the same Frank Miller who, in the 80s, basically carved Matt Murdock/Daredevil's theretofore almost-nonexistent personality into one that all we geeks can recognize, to this day, just by reading a few lines of dialogue... can it..?
The Ugly Puckling
Jan 8th, 2009, 04:32 PM
I firmly believe that Frank Miller was kept firmly in check by the editorial staff at the time, Jim Shooter in particular, and that grip of reality is what deceived the world into thinking he was a talented individual. By being overseen by people with the character's best interests in mind.
Crazy dog woman
Jan 9th, 2009, 03:31 PM
It was AGES since i read the comics... My most vivid memory of a Spirit plot is about this guy who was born with flight ability. But he kept it secret because he was ashamed of being different, or something. Then he grew up and nobody knew he was different... until one day, when he for some reason I can't remember decided to be proud rather than ashamed of being a mutant (not that the word "mutant" was used as I can recall), so he proudly flew out of his window. But it so happened that he flew right into some gang war and was instantly shot to death. Nobody had seen him flying since everything happened so fast, people just thought he was some innocent pedestrian who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. End of story.
And a story pretty far from the goddamn batman...
Fookin' up planets!
Feb 2nd, 2009, 04:21 PM
Ok... I am ready for your hate my brothers and sisters.
I enjoyed the Spirit.
I even saw it..........TWICE!
My ex-wife owned a comic book store and I thought that the Spirit comics looked like the most boring pieces of shite I had ever seen... until I read them.
Now Frank Miller does go a wee bit darker that the O.G. Spirit Comics were, but if he stayed completely faithful to the source material (which he did for a majority and everybody and their mom panned him for it) the movie would be Adam West Batman silly.
Go back and read the comics and see the overtly silly Character's, the spirits man-whoring and silly dialogue, the ruthless and "comic" beatings he took and you will see that Frank Miller's "The Spirit" is really the best you could do to dress up a weird and wacky character from way back when for modern audiences and is as close as possible to Will Eisner's original Spirit.

Ok, go ahead be mean damnit I am ready for your onslought.

P.S. Frank Millers "The Goddamn Batman".... Batshit Crazy Yo!
Fookin' up planets!
Feb 2nd, 2009, 04:23 PM
By the way Neoboman I am 28 years old.