Friday, August 21, 2009

Review: The Spirit

Synopsis: The masked hero, called the Spirit, must stop his arch-enemy, the Octopus, from fulfilling his evil mission: wipe out Spirit's beloved Central City, as he pursues his own version of immortality.

Review: First off, I have to say that I am a comic book reader and a superhero fan. I really like how the characters from some of my favorite comics, have been able to explode off the pages and on to the silver screen. Most times, I usually get a bit of a thrill seeing these characters brought to life. Then, however, there are times like when I watched "The Spirit" and wish they never would have left those four-color magazines.

Everything about this film is just wrong. The acting, the directing, the script, even the casting. It is flawed on almost every possible level a film can be. Gabriel Macht's performance in the title role is flat and completely uninspired. You can tell he was just phoning it in. Scarlett Johansson is totally wasted in her role, which was so superfluous, that she'd have been better off just not showing up on the set. Sam Jackson plays Sam Jackson, even though they call him "the Octopus." It's the same character he's been playing ever since "Pulp Fiction," and it's no longer entertaining (especially in a script this poor). Eva Mendes brings a little bit of sizzle and sexual intensity to things, but she's spends very little time on screen and simply cannot save this heaping pile of garbage.

The script is utter nonsense. I can't even really tell you what the story here is. Something about Sam Jackson out to get the blood of a Greek hero, so he can become immortal, or something. Even by the standards of a comic book script, this thing lacks anything to remotely make it understandable. The action is very cartoony, in that bad kind of way. The dramatic moments (or what passes for them) are so overwrought with cliches and hamfisted in the delivery, that it seems more like a comedic farce. And while I have enjoyed much of Frank Miller's comic work over the years, he simply is abysmal as a film director. Where is the direction in this movie? Where is the talent we know he possesses? Directors are supposed to help their cast pull forth great performances from within them. There is none of that here. It seems everyone was just there to collect their check, the director included.

The visual styling is nice and noir-ish. It is the one area the film produced anything of value. But after having seen it in "Sin City," "300" and other films of late, it's not really special anymore and can't prop up the fact that everything else about this movie stinks on ice. So, it's attempts to distract you from a lack of plot, strong performances and any real thrills, ultimately fails, like everything else in this turkey.

"The Spirit" is the kind of travesty that sets back comic related films 40 years. It is an amateurish production all the way through. It isn't faithful to the source material, nor is it entertaining in its own right. It doesn't even have the benefit of being "so bad it is good" in that cheesy way. Comic fans won't like this. Non-comic fans won't like this. It is truly a film without a valid audience. Everyone involved in this steaming pile of manure should be ashamed of themselves. Do yourself a big favor and avoid this trash and see a GOOD comic book related movie, like "Iron Man" or "The Dark Knight," because the screams of the city are all coming from those who have watched this egregiously insulting piece of celluloid! It is easily one of the worst films I've seen in quite some time.

Rating: 1/2 Star (out of 4)

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