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  Publicity Stills of
"The Spirit"
(Courtesy of Encore Films)

Genre: Comic/Thriller/Mystery
Director: Frank Miller
Cast: Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson, Dan Lauria, Paz Vega, Jaime King, Louis Lombardi, Stana Katic
RunTime: 1 hr 43 mins
Released By: Encore Films & UIP
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://encorefilms.com/thespirit

Opening Day: 25 December 2008


Adapted from the legendary graphic novels, WILL EISNER’S THE SPIRIT is a classic action-adventure-romance told by genre-twister FRANK MILLER (creator of 300 and SIN CITY). It is the story of a former rookie cop who returns mysteriously from the dead as the SPIRIT (played by Gabriel Macht) to fight crime from the shadows of Central City. His arch-enemy, THE OCTOPUS (played by Samuel L. Jackson) has a different mission: he’s going to wipe out Spirit’s beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality.

The Spirit tracks this cold hearted killer from the city's rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront all the while facing a bevy of beautiful women who either want to seduce, love or kill the masked crusader.

Movie Review:

Welcome to Frank Miller’s world and He doesn’t give a damn what you think or like.

Remember that. It will make the viewing of The Spirit much easier. Folks coming into The Spirit, expecting the usual comic to movie treatment (such as The Dark Knight and HellBoy) will be disappointed. That’s because in Frank Miller’s world, if he want it hammy, cartoonish and filled with absurdly bad dialogues/ monologues, god damn it, he will have it his way. If you don’t get it, that’s your freaking problem.

Some of the feedbacks given to me after the movie were that Frank Miller’s The Spirit was a boring, silly, “all over the place” disjointed film. The film tried to be noir-ishly cool, then campy, then serious, then ironic, then what the hell just happened. The cool factor was also turned off by the stilted lines and laughable moments (those that you laugh at (not with) the actors for delivering those cringe worthy lines).

That’s Frank Miller for you. On one hand, he is capable of creating comic classic like “Daredevil Reborn” and Batman Year One and on the other hand, singlehandedly destroyed his resume with the worst rendition of Batman in comic history (ie All Star Batman and Robin). It felt that what happening in the movie projects that he is directing. Sin City was a great medium to show how comics could faithfully translate onto the big screen while The Spirit just felt out of place in the typical superhero comic movie genre.

However, this review is not out to bash this film up (there are likely many other reviews out there that will do it with more flair and sarcasm) and instead will be offering another point of view for this movie.

Frank Miller had mention that he disliked the superficial realism applied on superheroes and had purposely went out of his way to make his drawing more cartoony. In that manner, it made the comics felt more rooted in what it has always meant to be and the same treatment could have been applied for this comic book – movie adaptation. If all the comic book heroes’ movies are done in the same fashion, there’s very little to differentiate one comic book movie from another.

His take on The Spirit also sparks interest with comic fans that actually haven’t gotten down to reading the pulp version of The Spirit, to see how this character operates back in Will Eisner’S world. Did Frank Miler’s Sin City style actually bring out the best or worst rendition of The Spirit?

Overall, The Spirit wasn’t as bad as some early reviews that had been bestowing with (rotten tomatoes). It has it’s moments when there are pure fun during the hammering it up interaction between characters / actors. There was also some great looking Sin City style cinematography that felt like it could have been taken from the original source material. Plus having hot looking babe like Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes heating up the screens with the fantastic figures are a great time passer. Not too bad of a movie but leave the dissecting judgments behind to enjoy this comic based movie.

Movie Rating:

(so bad that it’s actually good … in Frank Miller’s classic campy comic style)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


. Max Payne (2008)

. The Dark Knight (2008)

. Iron Man (2008)

. 300 (2007)

. Hitman (2007)

. Snakes On A Plane (2006)

. Sin City (2005)

. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

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