My city, I can not deny her. My city screams. She is my mother. She is my lover, and I am her Spirit.
It's difficult to categorize this film, and almost even more difficult to identify its audience. Frank Miller's adaptation of Will Eisner's renowned classic The Spirit certainly falls in line with the "comic book film" genre, but it certainly isn't as (visually) faithful to the source material as most adaptations. Nevertheless, with a witty script that indeed shows adoration for Eisner's pen, and Sam Jackson's unfailing talent, The Spirit passes as good entertainment at least one time around.
The film introduces us to The Spirit (Gabriel Macht), an oddly super-human character who is one with the mother city. This womanizer wanders the streets solely as his masked version and we see the connection he has with his city. We are witnesses to his history, seeing his youthful fling with a now infamous jewel thief, Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), and we are introduced to his main villain and partner in super-humanity, The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson). Octopus, assisted by his right hand woman Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson), is in search of what is left of the blood of God-seed Herecles, which will grant him immortality. Through the old-switcheroo, the crate containing a precious artifact coveted by Saref was confused with the one containing the blood and thus the plot of the film continues, with The Spirit attempting to serve and protect the city he loves.
I don't like egg on my face.
The film isn't horrible, like you may have heard. It does a fair job at what it's trying to do and, while I haven't read more than one trade paperback of Eisner's series, one can feel the love for the source material with every line of dialogue.
The Spirit is Frank Miller's debut directing job, so we should give him some credit here, though he did decide to start off with one of the most hailed comic series of all time. Probably not the best idea for starters. Once again, I can't speak for the film's adaptational qualities (or weaknesses), but I can say that the movie itself is not a bore-fest if you're in the mind to hear some dry one-liners and some goofy comedy.
That's damn weird.
- The visuals are stunning, but therein lies controversy… Firstly, it looks like Miller took the exact same filters from Sin City to make The Spirit. This isn't exactly what Eisner came out with. Why the change? I mean, it looks amazing, but isn't there something to be said of the original palette? Needless to say, the visuals are gorgeous and clean, although sometimes they feel inconsistent.
- Samuel L. Jackson just can't go wrong, and this seems like one of those roles that was just meant for him. I'd put his role as the Octopus right up there with Snakes on a Plane, for instance, and he plays it just like you'd expect. One of these days Jackson will be up for a lifetime achievement award (unless his bout as Mace Windu holds him back).
- The script here is witty and rather unique in dialogue. Miller was definitely channeling Eisner's writing here and it does come through.
- The opening credits is one big Miller-Eisner-fest. Almost 10 minutes of collage of Frank Miller's drawings of scenes from the film. Maybe Miller's style should have stayed in the credits.
- The visuals, while stunning, feel ripped off, out of place, and seem to display a bit of Frank Miller's own Frank Miller complex. It's Miller, but just not Eisner.
- Gabriel Macht is sometimes really on with his delivery, and sometimes falls flat for me. The way his mouth was kind of closed almost whenever he talked started to grade on me. It just didn't feel all right to me.
- Frank Miller's directorial debut makes a good race for the prize, but in my opinion falls weak. It isn't terrible, like I had heard, but it does feel, well… weak.
- Morgenstern (Stana Katic)… really bad acting. To the point of annoying.
It just occurred to me what this film reminds me of… Doug TenNaple, of Earthworm Jim fame. If you're a fan of TenNaple's humor, you'll definitely like this one. If you find this video to be incredibly annoying, you would probably do well to steer clear. Doug TenNaple is a god.
Somebody get me a tie! I don't care what kind, it sure as hell better be red!