The Spirit (12A)

Film

Action and adventure

692.x480.film.spirit.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>1</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Fri Jan 2 2009

For all the grumbling about the state of modern cinema, Hollywood tends to get it right a fair percentage of the time: however crass, noisy and infantile the average blockbuster may be, they also tend to be entertaining, escapist and efficient. But every once in a while a genuine turkey escapes the coop, bereft of charm or wit, utterly lacking in technical prowess, integrity or intelligence. ‘The Spirit’ is such a film.

Adapting from his mentor Will Eisner’s much loved superhero strip, writer-director Frank Miller flies solo for the first time following his debut partnering Robert Rodriguez on the crude, overhyped fanboy favourite ‘Sin City’. ‘The Spirit’ is clearly cut from the same cloth, utilising the same headache-inducing, ripped-from-the-page graphic style and employing a similar cast of grim heroes, outrageous supervillains and scantily clad, largely interchangeable women.

The story, such as it is, unfolds in the battered urban landscape of Central City, where the eponymous indestructible crimefighter (unremarkable newcomer Gabriel Macht) and his jocular nemesis The Octopus (Samuel L Jackson) struggle for possession of a vase containing the blood of Greek demigod Hercules, abetted by a parade of hapless lovelies: Eva Mendes’s self absorbed jewel thief Sand Serif, Sarah Paulson’s drab nice girl Ellen and Scarlett Johanssen in a thankless, irrelevant role as evil sidekick Silken Floss.

Miller directs with stunning ineptitude, shooting entire scenes in close-up without ever establishing the location, flashing from monochrome to colour without warning or reason, keeping his action sequences as perfunctory as possible to make way for endless, excruciating scenes of exposition. His work as a writer is, if anything, even worse, throwing in pretentious, portentous voiceovers, hammy gold-tinted flashbacks and repeated attempts at slapstick and comic wordplay which, without exception, fall deadeningly flat. A few scenes – such as the one where Jackson and Johanssen dress up as Nazis for no apparent reason – threaten to spill over into outright drug-induced camp, but Miller lacks the imagination to take them beyond simply bizarre and annoying.

In the world of graphic novels, Frank Miller is king: a fine visual storyteller with an unimpeachable canon. Let’s hope ‘The Spirit’ puts an end to his moviemaking ambitions before that impressive record is irrevocably besmirched.

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Jan 2, 2009

Duration:

102 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|22
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Graphic

I know I am way late with this response, but I only just saw The Spirit. Come on guys, how can anyone who has an open mind find this film a sad depiction of a graphic novel? You have completely missed the point and I recommend you stick with watching mainstream movies that push no technical boundaries. You poor bastards. Better luck next life. Btw my IQ is well over 131.

KR

I watched this movie last night, and today went online reading reviews in hopes that somebody else could offer an explanation as to why this movie was ever made. It was so perfectly completely bad that there wasn't even anything laughable or interesting in it's badness. That's a feat - I'm having trouble thinking of any other movie that was so blandly poor that was all bad without crossing into the territory of "good-bad". What an utter waste of time.

henry

I have admired Scarlett Johansson - her natural beauty and her natural charisma, but her role in this movie actually made her seem repugnant. Ha! Impossible you say, thats how bad the movie was!

Erik

The biggest shame here is that the movie shared nothing in common with the Will Eisner strip in terms of style, tone, look and feel, and violence level. The original strips are well written, designed and constructed. They were subtle and the COLOR DESIGN was great too. I guess I am getting on in years. But I cringe to think that a generation of young people out there think of this movie as the main representation of "The Spirit." What a mess. Why was Frank Miller chosen for this project?

Purple_vodka

i really enjoyed the film. however i can see its not for everyone. in short its not your classic superhero movie. expect a comic book, on screen. basically, thats why its cheesy somtimes, and perhaps things don't go in convention with "normal" films. if you go in with a compleatly open mind, you may not find it horrific. but as i say, clearly not everyones cup of tea.

Purple_vodka

i really enjoyed the film. however i can see its not for everyone. in short its not your classic superhero movie. expect a comic book, on screen. basically, thats why its cheesy somtimes, and perhaps things don't go in convention with "normal" films. if you go in with a compleatly open mind, you may not find it horrific. but as i say, clearly not everyones cup of tea.

Word of Wisdom

Firstly, this film is GREAT! Secondly I advise most people not to go watch it. If you are the sort of person that watches the usual Yanky cinema we have to put up with this film is not for you. If you like comics, manga or graphic novels then you will appreciate the conversion done in this film. Miller, as with Sin City, has translated the rules and tricks used in drawn media to the big screen perfectly. If you know these rules then you will enjoy every cheesy line or seemingly endless close up. The action that seems to stop to give you individual cells is a new trick not used as much in Sin City, at times it is almost like reading a comic. To the doubters go watch Role Models or something more suited to your IQ.

Word of Wisdom

Firstly, this film is GREAT! Secondly I advise most people not to go watch it. If you are the sort of person that watches the usual Yanky cinema we have to put up with this film is not for you. If you like comics, manga or graphic novels then you will appreciate the conversion done in this film. Miller, as with Sin City, has translated the rules and tricks used in drawn media to the big screen perfectly. If you know these rules then you will enjoy every cheesy line or seemingly endless close up. The action that seems to stop to give you individual cells is a new trick not used as much in Sin City, at times it is almost like reading a comic. To the doubters go watch Role Models or something more suited to your IQ.

neil vitty

i have never walked out of a film , i now wish i had made this one the first. if someone offers to pay you to sit through this bizarre rubbish politely decline.

Ace Magee

What a load of crap. The most pointless storyline ever. Has Samuel L Jackson done anything half decent since pulp fiction? As an Independant cinema Fact should not put s***e like this on without watching it first, I cant believe anyone watched it and then thought it would be a good idea to screen it. Dont go and see this film.

howard smith

A further example of the decline of western civilization. A load of awful performances in front of blue screen. Supposed to be visually stunning but just dull. Story - what story? Was this supposed to be a deconstruction of all things superhero? Failed on every level. Every level. The nazi scene was tasteless and incomprehensible. Why have a semi-naked belly dancer to chop him up? Why did she free him then try to kill him? Why did this get a cinema release? Why is frank Miller stomping all over his hard earned reputation with this bilge? It was like watching surviving Gazza - having someone squash precious memories. An abomination.

Roy

I've seldom been so disappointed in a film, I like Miller, I enjoyed Sin City, I like Eisners Spirit I even enjoyed the old Spirit movie, so I was really hyped up for this and crushingly disappointed in it. It suffers from many of the same fault as the Warren Beattie Dick Tracy movie, bad plot, bad script, every woman loves the hero a concentration on gimmicky visuals and prosphetics, early on in the film Frank Miller has his head pulled off and thrown at the Spirit, this seems entirely reasonable for inflicting this on us the sad thing is this franchise has and still has so much untapped potential but this isn't going to excite anyone to explore it.

Tom

This is an awful attempt at film making. The movie is let down by a poor script, bad comedy, poor cinematography and title. All I can say is that I am glad that I went to see this on Orange Wednesday, because if I had paid full price to see this awful film I would have been fuming. If you are expecting to see anything comparitive to his earlier works of Sin City, think again. From the annoying fat men repeating "We was watchin" (I wanted to pull my fingernails off after 5 minutes of that) to the ridiculous character played by the normally wonderful Scarlett Johannson. This is hopefully the worst film I will see this year, because if they get any worse....

watty

first up for the people who did not like it, if you saw sin city you must have know what you would get. if you did not like sin city why go.i think everyone knows it was not getting nominated for an oscar,its just a fun film with some over the top acting,which is fine with me as i never expected anything less maybe thats why i enjoyed it.so next time guys look at the other films by miller then you will know what to expect

James

All of the above should lighten up, guessing they never got what they wanted from santa or something... I thought the film was very good, quirky, fun and well worth the ticket price. I had no expectations and never knew of the spirit prior to entering the cinema. The acting was good, Scarlet and Samuel, are almost worth investing in a over priced box of popcorn to assist in savouring their on screen action. The relationship they have is a load of fun. It's characature, and James gives it a wooohooo 5 out of 5.

James

All of the above should lighten up, guessing they never got what they wanted from santa or something... I thought the film was very good, quirky, fun and well worth the ticket price. I had no expectations and never knew of the spirit prior to entering the cinema. The acting was good, Scarlet and Samuel, are almost worth investing in a over priced box of popcorn to assist in savouring their on screen action. The relationship they have is a load of fun. It's characature, and James gives it a wooohooo 5 out of 5.

john

Possibly the worst piece of unmitigated crap i have ever seen. I can not stress enough how bad this is. Camp, stupid, predictable, childish(and not in a good way). imagine the cast of sin city replaced with the cast of im a celebrity and forced to to chucklebrother sketches. BAD, BAD , BAD!!!!

notalotofdosh

one word - simple (no not that word, this one...) CRAP!! Two words utter Crap. Three words - Complete utter crap. Four words - not worth the breath!!!

sophie

within the first 5 mins of the film i knew it was goin to be rubbish and it was. however i still sat thru it because i'd paid to see it dont make the same i did an pay to see this utter shit! it left me wondering why scarlett johansson and eva mendez signed upto this. only coz its a min 1 star rating that i can give do i give this a star if i could give minus stars i would!

Brett

First off the main criticism of this film seems to be that it is to much like a comic book... With the backing shots and "speech bubble" like speaking being apparent isn't it obvious that the comic book style is precicely what the writers and producers were going for? criticising this is like criticising The Matrix for being too un-realistic. This film is a must see for any comic strip enthuisasts and appeals to the younger generation with bright visuals and twisted fantasy without. The film features a prolific cast who deliver on many levels by playing power hungry comic book characters to a tee. However i agree that scarlett's acting prowess and natural beauty could've been used more efficiently.