Review: The Spirit
PLOT: The Spirit, a hero that watches over his beloved city, senses some misdeeds going on. He can hear his city scream as the Octopus seems to be getting his dirty claws in some mischief. Too bad an old flame, turned thief, is in town looking for something that this Octopus might just have his tentacles on. It is up to the Spirit to romance the dames, catch the bad guys and reunite with a lost love. All in a nights work for this masked man.
What the hell did I just watch? Well, I saw Eva Mendes and she was hotter than ever. But somewhere in THE SPIRIT I was thinking that there might be a cool little superhero flick. Nope
not here. I did find however, an oddity of sorts with Samuel L. Jackson wearing a Nazi uniform while his sidekick, Scarlett Johansson marches around with these little black rimmed glasses, also dressed in the same type of clothing. All the while torturing our hero by talking too much. I also found a whole lot of joking around with not an iota of suspense, and a plot that made very little sense. I did however enjoy The Spirit himself. A rookie cop named Denny Colt who returns from the dead as The Spirit. Gabriel Macht offered just the right touch of self-referential humor without becoming a massive joke. His performance belonged in a better movie.
Frank Miller is an incredibly talented guy. He has created some truly memorable tales of The Dark Knight and Daredevil in comic book form. He brought a dark and gritty film noir style to his characters and he attempts to do the same with THE SPIRIT. But what happened to the dark and the gritty? The plot tells us that this Octopus fellow (Samuel L. Jackson) is looking for an elixir to turn him into a god. Meanwhile, the woman who ends up with the elixir is looking for the most sparkly and glittery thing since the vampire climbed up a mountain (Twilight anyone?) and that is the part that Oct O. Pussy actually has. This woman is Sand Saref (Mendes) and she used to kinda date Denny Colt until some bad mojo went down. She then decided she hates cops, she even told a local news reporter and ends up breaking off with Colt to steal stuff. So therein lies the confusion. One person wants what the other has. And honestly who cares?
With the opening images, I have to say that this film absolutely looks like a comic book. Each frame feels like a gritty graphic novel, with a whole lot of black and a red tie. I really dug the look of the film for the most part. While it was clear they werent trying to create a huge epic masterpiece, I would have appreciated a little build up and excitement. Again back to the script. Miller seems to have taken The Spirit in a whole new direction by relying very heavily on the special effects. While the effects by Furious FX are quite good, the bubblegum plot and dialogue drag all of it down. It is not helped by the fact the cast appeared to not really know what kind of movie they were making. Some were downright comical, others more serious and then a handful were just cashing a check. But really, how could anyone take this dialogue even remotely seriously?
The best of the cast of characters was definitely Macht, Mendes and even the underused Jaime King. While I love me some Jackson, he is all over the place here. And his sidekick is so damn deadpan, it feels as if Johansson is just plain bored. I didnt find this baddie terrifying, or even remotely threatening. And his cloned army of morons didnt help any. These guys added as much to this film as Jar Jar Binks added to THE PHANTOM MENACE. It wasnt that Louis Lombardi gave a poor performance, he was just a joke used way too many times over. In fact, this spirits problem is that it tries to be too many things and in the end, it fails to do anything remotely looking like entertain. While Frank Miller helped create the impressive SIN CITY, here he just doesnt seem to take enough seriously. I dont mind the humor, I would just appreciate humor that actually works. I will say, I did like the cat though. My rating 3.5/10 -- JimmyO
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