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VINE VOICEon April 18, 2009
Chalk me up as a Frank Miller fanboy. Along with fellow visionary Alan Moore, he changed the world of comic books forever with his bleak, noir-heavy storytelling and striking art style into something that wasn't just for kids anymore. God bless him for that. Along with Robert Rodriguez, he brought his pulp masterpiece Sin City to the big screen and kicked the a$z of every person who saw it. But could he duplicate the same artistic success with somebody else's creation and without the help of a directing dynamo like Rodriguez? Not so much. But in spite of all the bile that has been spewed upon Miller's solo directorial debut "The Spirit", I had myself a good ol' time. And with the right attitude, you might as well. Just be prepared for a whole lotta cheese.

Now I have not read any of Will Eisner's comics so I simply cannot comment on how this fares as an adaptation. I suspect not so well. A lot of people who saw this went in seeing the amazing visual style of "Sin City" coupled with Miller's name and expected more of the same. Visually, "The Spirit" may be even better, but the tone.....well I can honestly say I haven't seen anything else quite like it. Between this and some of his recent comic work (oh yeah, "All-Star Batman and Robin", I'm looking at you!) I believe that Miller has gone little bit bonkers after so many years of writing mean and nasty comic books. This movie is practically a comedy. At times absurdly so. I'm talking Adam West as Batman comedic. For all the stark black-and-white imagery, classic crime story dialogue, and sultry vamps it's hard to take a film or character seriously when he's thrown out of a building by his girl, gets his coat caught on a statue and dangles with his pants around his ankles while a crowd mocks him (one kid simply states "He looks stupid!", while another bystander chimes "You will believe a man CAN'T fly!"). In the end, "The Spirit" is about camp as much as anything else. I laughed out loud several times. This movie is definitely being filed in the "so bad it's good" file. I just think that Miller's faux-serious tone here coupled with the darkness of his previous work just did not gel with the fans on this one.

Lots of good, though. Again, the visuals are stunning. This is one aspect that has always been a can't miss for Frank Miller. The silhouette image of white blood on black concrete, the partially-real/partially-animated hero jumping from rooftop to rooftop, the classical sexiness of the ladies, the reds, the greys; this one is head-to-toe eye candy. Speaking of which, I was shocked to find a PG-13 flick from a man who is loathe to ever draw a fully-clothed woman. Maybe Miller's a chauvinist or just a slave to his adolescent fantasies (the smart money's on door #2) but aside from a few genuine a$zkicking characters like Elektra and deadly little Miho, it seems like every woman he draws is A) as close to naked as he can get her if he's drawing a mainstream comic, B) naked if at all possible, C) in the story primarily for titillation, and D) ridiculously horny. The gallery here is sexy as all hell, but amount to a bunch of caricatures. But to be fair, every character in this film is a caricature, not just the "broads". This brings me to the best casting choice this side of Paz Vega as the blade-wielding looney-tune Plaster of Paris (yes, that is her name): Samuel L. Jackson as the cosplay-happy supervillain The Octopus. When it comes to playing comically over-the-top, this is the man to call first. In one scene he and his henchmistress are dressed as samurai. If I was in the theater, I would have shouted "SHO NUFF!" at the screen. Then maybe one dude would have laughed because he actually saw The Last Dragon. God, I'm a freakin' nerd.

The story....who cares. Some complete nonsense about Greek mythology, immortality, and The Spirit's long-lost girlfriend. The point is this: this movie is 100% bat$hi+, ridiculous, visually stimulating, and good for some WTF-style laughs. I'm talking tiny head attached to a foot hopping around WTF-style laughs. I mean a villain who works eggs into every conversation he has over the course of an hour and a half WTF-style laughs. If you take a second of this film seriously , you'll have wasted your time. This is just a guilty pleasure homage filled with sly references to comics and cinema past. Arguably better then the film is the special feature "Miller on Miller" where the master gives us a 15-minute lesson on comic history and the medium's significance along with a metric ton of insight into his life and career.

Truth be told, I don't know what the hell Frank Miller was thinking when he unleashed "The Spirit" on an unsuspecting world. This film is just bizarre and nonsensical to the hilt. There's a lot of fun to be had with it, but I am hardly surprised by the chilly reception it received. Only a certain kind of genre fanatic will get anything out of it, but if you're up for some cinematic weirdness that pays tribute to the days of pulp long past, then give this DVD a spin.
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on April 2, 2009
First off, let me make it clear this movie may not appeal to everyone.
It's the cinematic equivalent of Frank Miller's recent comic work: incredible visuals with ridiculous, over-the-top dialogue.
Likewise, if you try to take this film seriously then you may not gain much gratification.
However if you view The Spirit with an open mind as you would while watching the Adam West Batman show or reading Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All-Star Batman and Robin, then you're sure to have a much more enjoyable time with this irreverent pop culture parody.
At several points in this film you just have to laugh out loud at the absurdity.
Just don't go in expecting Sin City or The Dark Knight.
The Spirit is on the other end of the artistic spectrum, demented post-modern camp/kitsch exploitation.

Even though Miller updated The Spirit with his own visual trademarks and sense of humor, in many ways it's very faithful to Will Eisner's comic.
I must emphasize the term "comic" since that is exactly what Will Eisner's creation was, a comic book with a humorous, comedic core.
In any sense of the word, The Spirit is a "comic" film through and through.
You get the feeling as if Frank Miller wrote/illustrated a modern Spirit graphic novel and then adapted his work to film panel by panel.
Comic fans will also appreciate many of the subtle (and not so subtle) nods to comic book culture such as "the Elektra complex", which of course references Miller's own legendary run on Daredevil. (which was inspired by Will Eisner's original Sand Saref storyline from The Spirit)

In conclusion, The Spirit is a fun comic book film ideal for Frank Miller fans and comic book fans in general with an offbeat sense of humor.
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on January 5, 2010
there seems to be an immense amount of hate for this movie, i cannot understand why. this is no sin city, granted but there is still a lot to love. it is a visceral, over the top, stylized and violent. the director holds nothing back, everything is over the top with layers of CGI above that. a guilty pleasure to be sure, and a wild ride, just dont come in expecting a serious movie.
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on September 21, 2011
I just really enjoy it... good confrontations.... crazy lines and dialogue.... sexy.

Sometimes I like things that are a little, um, awkward... There's something about performers delivering a little "off" in "off" scenes that is, I don't know, refreshing. Not that this is the defining characteristic of this movie but I could see how this could be a cult classic down the road.

I'd watched this awhile ago, randomly, and really just had a hankering to revisit it.... and it was enjoyable again... still sorta awk/corny at times, but kind of hilarious at others, great characters, just so random sometimes.

Anyway, if you're curious about it, check it out, treat it lightly, and you'll enjoy it at least a little and maybe a lot.

This second viewing made me want a sequel!

Oh, one more thing.... this was the first movie I think I've purchased and watched through Amazon and it worked very well... looked great, played well, great virgin experience of their video cloud.
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on September 3, 2014
If you love Sin City, then you might enjoy this dvd. But you need to know that this is more on the comedy side, at least it attempts to be. This is not a superhero like Batman or Ghost Rider even but Spirit has similarities with both. There are plenty of stars in this film such as Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, and Samuel L. Jackson to name a few but their acting skills are severely suppressed in this cartoon like vehicle. This movie is extremely similar to the Adam West, Batman TV series with plenty of star name actors in strange roles. I just finished watching it for the second time and I could not in all honesty as a comic book, superhero fan recommend this outing to anyone. This is definitely not for children and adults will not get much out of it either.
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on January 12, 2016
I'd imagine this flick to be one of those that one either loves or hates.

Personally, I love this movie. Then again, I also loved "Green Hornet", "Buckaroo Banzai" and liked "Howard the Duck".

This is an intentionally campy, over-the-top daring-do Fedora topped pulp fiction crime fighter,against Central City's villainous arch-criminal mastermind, "The Octopus", with his obligatory Femme Fatale cohort that are raising hell with their apparent army of"Tweedledum and Tweedledee" henchmen. .

It's just a lot of fun and the movie isn't above making subtle fun of itself, either. Loved the production values with the setting and design, they really nailed it with this character. The Batman franchise "moody, Gothic settings" originated with The Spirit.
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on January 21, 2013
This movie sure is getting a lot of negative reviews, but I don't know why? I really enjoyed it. It is an impressive production that is very entertaining to watch with it's noirish comic book stylized visuals ala Sin City, and it's crazy over-the-top action sequences, along with it's twisted humor. Add it all up and what you have is a fun show that only gets better with each viewing. If you did not enjoy it the first time around, don't give up on it just yet. Give it another chance and this time try not to take it too seriously and you will enjoy it much better. It's not supposed to be dark and gritty like Sin City is, it's tongue-in-cheek just like the Will Eisner comic books that it is based upon.
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on November 20, 2013
Kind of weird, but in a wild, crazy and off the wall way. Eva Mendez has to be the star attraction with everyone else serving as the supporting cast, including the main character, Gabriel Macht as the Spirit. Probably the best part of the entire movie is a seven minute composition sung by Christina Aguilera during the closing credits. The song was never published, not even in the CD sound track of the movie.
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on October 9, 2014
This movie was one of Frank Millers creations, so if you like Sin City and dark graphic novels I would highly recommend this movie. Visuals are amazing. Join the super hero the spirit a man who cant die will do all he can to rid his city of the crime his nemesis the Octopus who is in charge of the underbelly that is polluting the hearts of many. The characters are fun, and comedy is mixed into even though some people don't understand you need to see this movie as a comic book superhero movie because that what it is. If your like me who is a critic of movies who like a good time, can enjoy the movies that take to another perspective and enjoy the artistic sense the director was going on in this movie you will enjoy it. plus if your amazon prime its not that expensive it cost me $5.00 and now part of my superhero movie collecting. Can wait for Sin City 2
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on August 21, 2014
I encountered this DVD, purchased from Amazon, in my research on the early career of Stana Katic, aka Lieutenant Kate Beckett, NYPD, of the "Castle" TV series. It is my conviction that Stana had to work her way "up the ladder" to stardom, a trek thru B-movies (or lower) and sometimes dubious, violent roles of short duration. Watching "The Spirit" is to recapture something of the charm of the Saturday afternoon matinee serials of my 20's-30's childhood: a reliable plot; identifliable villains, hero, heroine, and sidekicks; noisy gun battles, ambushes, and a corrupt metropolis for a man of mythic strength to save over and over again. Stana appears as a policewoman, and a comic one at that, playing off a standard corrupt Irish mayor. It's a spear-carrier role, but she's logging time in front of the camera, she gives a bit of depth to the comic cop creation, and she is still alive and in good spirits as the curtain falls. Up another rung or two on that ladder!
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