Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Spirit

Genre - Action/Comic Book
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 108 minutes

Directed by Frank Miller [the comic book writer/artist turned director - he also co-directed Sin City and is going to be co-directing Sin City 2 (due in 2010) and Sin City 3 (due in 2011) as well]
Written by Frank Miller (whose most popular comics include 300 and Sin City - he also wrote the screenplays for Robocop 2 & 3)
*Based on the 1940's newspaper comic strip written by Will Eisner


Cast Includes:
Gabriel Macht as The Spirit (Behind Enemy Lines)
Samuel L. Jackson as The Octopus (Pulp Fiction, The Negotiator, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Snakes on a Plane, Unbreakable, etc, etc)
Eva Mendes as Sand Seraf (Urban Legends: Final Cut, Children of the Corn V, Ghost Rider)
Scarlett Johansson as Silken Floss (Eight Legged Freaks, Ghost World, In Good Company, The Island)
Dan Lauria as Commissioner Dolan (from the television series The Wonder Years)
Sarah Paulson as Ellen, the Commissioner's daughter (from the television series American Gothic)
Louis Lombardi as Pathos... the Octopus' cloned henchmen (Edgar from 24 - he is also in The Usual Suspects)
Stana Katic as Rookie Morgenstern (The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice)
Paz Vega as the assassin Paris (Lucia from Sex and Lucia)
Jaime King as Lorelei the Angel of Death (Sin City, The Tripper, the '09 re-make of My Bloody Valentine)


Rating: 3 Skulls



Plot Summary:
After rookie Central City cop Denny Colt is murdered, he's mysteriously reborn as masked super hero The Spirit. Setting out to rid the streets of crime, he finds his arch nemesis in The Octopus, whose quest for immortality imperils the entire city.

Review:
First, let it be known that I have never previously read any of The Spirit comic strips, nor was I familiar with the characters. Secondly, keep in mind that this is the first 'comic book adaptation' that I've watched since watching phenomenal Watchmen.

With that said, I don't really know what to think of this film, other than the obvious fact that it tries too hard to be like Sin City. Why? Why didn't the filmmakers give this film its own uniqueness?

Also, I am not sure if it was intentional or not, but The Spirit came across as way too goofy. The film did not take itself seriously, at all. The characters were silly and over-the-top.

Even with all of that, I still found myself enjoying the film, enough to give it the 3 Skull rating. However, especially after watching the extremely violent alternate storyboard ending, I definitely feel that this film would have been a vast improvement, had the filmmakers gone the dark, edgier route.

Still, if you are a fan of comic books or comic book movies in general, the film is at least worth checking out. [I have a feeling that when I go back to give this one a second look, I will enjoy it more]

Here's the trailer:



Also, here are some more of the film's posters, for your enjoyment:





Jason

20 comments:

Wings said...

Sounds interesting, at least. I too have never read any of "The Spirit", old or new. Will give it a go sometime.

thebonebreaker said...

Wings,

You have seen Sin City though, correct?

I am betting that someone who happens across The Spirit, having never seen Sin City, will dig it more than someone who has already seen Sin City.

J

iMike said...

mmm Eva Mendes...

*wakes up*

I've been wanting to check this out if anything because of Frank Miller. but judging from the posters and trailer it does look too similar to Sin City (which was fantastic)

thebonebreaker said...

Mike,

Exactly why I checked it out, and yes, Sin City was Superb, hence The Spirit inevitably being compared to it - that was a mistake on the filmmakers part, in my opinion.

As for Eva Mendes - you do get a nice butt shot in this one [and I am not talking about the one that was shot on the copy machine] ;-)

J

Wings said...

Yeah, I have seen "Sin City". Will try to watch this with an open mind, though.

thebonebreaker said...

That's what I do Wings! ;-)

J

wiec? said...

another awesome and well put together review for a movie i have yet to see (but want to). i think i read this movie sort of flopped at the theatre. it says 'very long wait" on my Netflik queue. i guess everyone waited for it to come out on DVD.

i'm looking forward to both Sin City 2 and 3. The Spirit sort of came off (to me anyway) as Sin City Lite.

also thanks for the upcoming releases list on the right side of yer page, J. very handy.

thebonebreaker said...

Thank you wiec!

I guess that I was fortunate to get the DVD when I did then :-)

Yeah, Christams Day was probably not the best day to release this one [which is why I didn't see it in the theatre]

I loved Sin City - I will just wait and see what 2 & 3 have to offer - at least Robert Rodriguez is still involved with both!

Re: my upcoming events - my pleasure - helps me out as well ;-)

J

Zacery Nova said...

I really want to see this, but lack of funds prevents it. I haven't actually seen Sin City so wouldn't whatever it was riffing.

- Zac

the sneering (homo-phobic) snob said...

the pirate DVD that i saw this on was filmed in a cinema so the picture quality wasn`t anywhere near as good as it was on "splinter" but even so i still thought that "the spirit" was a reasonably good film.

Ryan Harvey said...

I just got this from Netflix but haven't watched. I don't hold up much hope for it based on what I've heard (and you've reinforced my concerns), but I know I'll find the experience of watching it intriguing nonetheless.

I've read Eisner's "Spirit" comics, and what strikes me is that the stories themselves aren't anything special (he was copying from Gibson's Shadow and another character called The Phantom Detective), but the art is phenomenonal and changed the way people drew comics forever.

thebonebreaker said...

Zac, while The Spirit is enjoyable, I would definitely, no questions asked, recommend Sin City over The Spirit, any day of the week! :-)


Snob, I agree that The Spirit is a reasonably good flick. . .


Ryan, you have the right attitude!
I will definitely be looking forward to your take on the film, especially since you already have prior knowledge of the comic!

J

Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

I saw this one when it came out in theaters and I loved it. I think it caught a bad rap when it came out, because I don't think people expected it at all. Really, it's an off-the-wall slapstick noir actioner, and I think people were expecting something more along the lines of the the grittiness of Sin City. I disagree that the movie tries too hard to be like Sin City. I think the marketing made the movie APPEAR too much like Sin City, and so I think people came to this expecting another Sin City, and then were completely caught off guard by the bizarreness of it. Really, though, I don't think you can blame The Spirit for looking much like Sin City. I mean, come on, it was directed by freakin' Frank Miller here. What do you expect? He loves this black-and-white-with-accents-of-red-or-other-colors-every-once-in-a-while style. That's why he uses it so often in his comics. And you can't really blame the movie for it's ridiculousness, humor, and eclectic eccentricity either. Read the sequel to The Dark Knight Returns sometime. Not as widely read as TDKR, but extremely good, and has much more of the oddball vibe that his Spirit movie has.
Personally, I really loved The Spirit. Most people equate Miller with darkness, grittiness, and tough guy brutality, due to things like 300 and TDKR. But the truth is he's also rather dominated by a large obsession with plain, old weirdness. And this is what The Spirit is. I found it to be a great time. Definitely a popcorn flick. Very fun.
Funny, sexy, exciting, and baffling, in just the right combination.
I'd give it probably 4 out of 5, personally.

thebonebreaker said...

William,

I think it was the alternate [story board] ending that made me realize what this movie 'could have been'

I'm not sure if you have seen it or not, but The Spirit LITERALLY tore The Octpus apart, limb from limb, etc in the alternate ending of the film [obviously the filmmakers were smart not to go with that ending, as it did not fit the movie at all - that came out of nowhere] However, the damage has been done - I would prefer to see a more dark, grittier Spirit, with a completely different look. . .

I would still agree with you though, that this is still a great 'popcorn flick'

J

Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

By the way, in response to your latest comments on my blog, ...if it seems like all I'm doing is blogging reviews and RIP's well, that's 'cause I am. I honestly don't mean to blog THIS much about death. Seems a lot of great people are dying lately. But, yeah, you'll probably never see me blog much that isn't a review. I figure, I'm here to do reviews, and that's it. I was thinking about starting up a personal blog, but I ended up deciding not to. I figure, I put so much of myself into most of my reviews, that, together, my reviews kind of fit together in a quasi-autobiography of me, in between all the film criticism. I'm also not really interested in doing any non-reviews articles or interviews, at least for now (there's an idea cooking in my head right now for an interview project I'd like to put together). So, yeah it is just reviews. I don't really want to blog any news or announcements, because, to be honest, I just don't have the damn time, ya know? And I figure there's lot of other people out there who have that covered pretty well. So the only thing I deem blog-worthy, other than reviews, for now at least, is RIP's, because I think it's important to honor the people who meant something to me in some way through their art. As for the D&D guy, I didn't even hear about that until you mentioned it, and it was sooo long ago. Besides that, I'm not much of a D&D fan (most of my friends are, but I've only ever dabbled in it, lightly), and I really only want to give tribute to those passed whose passing effected me in some way, ya know? When I found out about Marilyn Chambers and Andy Hallett, I was surprised. And I was surprised at how hard both hit me. No offense to the man, but the D&D guy thing didn't really upset me at all. Like I said, no offense. I'm sure he's got lots of other people ready to mourn him anyway.

thebonebreaker said...

William,

I was just joking about all the RIP's. . . :-)

My blog is pretty much just reviews as well - I may throw in something personal here and there, but for the most part, I stick to my movies, books, and music. [for a while there, I was re-capping MMA fights - I still watch them all, but have stopped re-capping them - not sure why - just doesn't feel the same as when I write a review.

As for the D&D guy, I think it was just last week [the co-founder - I think his name was David ? - I know that the other, more well known co-founder, Gygax, died over a year ago, if that's who you are referring to]
In my youth, I was big into D&D - not so much more, now that I am married and all ;-)

J

Ryan Harvey said...

It was Dave Arneson, the co-founder of D&D, who died on April 7th. He was never as well-known as Gygax because he left TSR in 1976 and had to later file lawsuits against the company for royalties. This led to a long bitterness between Arneson and Gygax that never quite healed.

I'm going to post my review of The Spirit later today, and I provide a link back to your review, bonebreaker.

thebonebreaker said...

Ryan,

Thanks for the lesson on Dave Arneson! Sad to hear that he and Gary never resolved their differences :-(

I just finsihed reading your [excellent] review - thank you for the link :-)

J

Bobby said...

I didn't think this movie was great or horrible, just merely okay. Miller should have used a different style for the film other than SIN CITY REDUX ONLY NOT AS GOOD. Still I have my memories of Eva Mendes' ass and Sam Jackson's vicious overacting.

thebonebreaker said...

Bobby,

Again, I agree with you, 100%! :-)

J