The Spirit

The Spirit

Adapted from the legendary comic strip, 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 to fight crime from the shadows of Central City. His arch-enemy, the OCTOPUS 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 Central 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 our masked crusader. --© Lionsgate Films 1.4 out of 5 based on 14 reviews
The Spirit

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Director Frank Miller
Cast Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Gabriel Macht Eva Mendes
Studio Lionsgate Films
Release Date January 2009
Running Time 103 minutes
 

Adapted from the legendary comic strip, 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 to fight crime from the shadows of Central City. His arch-enemy, the OCTOPUS 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 Central 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 our masked crusader. --© Lionsgate Films

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Reviews

The Mirror

Mark Adams

Sadly Frank Miller's ambitious and stylish adaptation of the acclaimed comic book series by Will Eisner has not been shown to UK reviewers prior to its opening on January 1 - which is a darn shame, because it looks cool and crazy and, hopefully, great fun... Comic book action looks like it will be a blast...

28/12/2008

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Scotland on Sunday

Siobhan Synnot

stensibly faithful to the strip's visual style, director Frank Miller opts for the same visual approach to this material that he took in Sin City: tilted comic-panel cityscapes, intentionally cartoonish action, images desaturated of colour except for one key element. But while The Sprit's style is willing, the film is weak. Nothing sums up the experience as well as Jaime King's goddess of death: "Such pain. Such suffering. Sleep!"

04/01/2009

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Empire Magazine

Kim Newman

This settles onto a shelf with Dick Tracy, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Doc Savage – The Man of Bronze and The Shadow: displaying admirable love for pulp material and striking enviably sexy poses, but missing the emotional resonance, zeitgeist-catching populism and mainstream thrills which found movie franchises.

09/01/2009

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Total Film

Mark Samuels

It ain’t no classic, with Frank Miller flexing little of the vitality Robert Rodriguez and brought to his take on the comic maestro’s own material. Approached as a kind of Sin City lite though, this retro exercise is too fast and flash to leave generous viewers dispirited.

05/01/2009

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Channel 4 Film

Daniel Etherington

Miller's much-vaunted debut as a solo director is an exercise in panto noir, which sadly manages to oscillate between cringe-worthy and disappointing, with perhaps one-and-a-half good laughs but very little notable action or drama.

23/04/2009

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The New York Times

A.O. Scott

I’m just trying to figure out why, somewhere in the middle of “The Spirit,” Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson arrive on screen decked out in swastikas and jackboots. Nothing in the logic of the film explains it, but then, to use the phrase “the logic of the film” when talking about “The Spirit” may be to take the “oxy” out of “oxymoronic.”

25/12/2009

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The Observer

Philip French

The film often looks good (there is an interesting visual homage to the Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera) but is altogether less impressive than Sin City, and there's an incoherent narrative that has something to do with the Octopus's search for the blood of Heracles, which will make him immortal. The jokes in particular are heavy-handed and misguided.

04/01/2009

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson provide the eye candy – and little else – and Miller's highly stylised approach is severely compromised by bargain-basement visuals, dry dialogue and pantomime action.

09/01/2009

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

Trying to curb their dementia is The Spirit, a square-jawed vigilante to whom Macht does bring some suave humour, a welcome contrast to Christian Bale's endless tortured growling as Batman. Sadly, the film around him could hardly be worse – frazzled, senseless, and flatly visualised. It's the Hudson Hawk of crusader flicks.

06/01/2009

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Time Magazine

Richard Corliss

Either way, this is a desecration of a comic-book monument. Eisner's Spirit was wonderful, but Miller's Spirit is weak. The Citizen Kane of comics has become the Ishtar of movies.

23/04/2009

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The Times

Tom Charity

Miller shoots it in the inky graphic style of Sin City, but he clearly hasn't a clue how to stage a scene, or shoot it, and he singly fails to animate his actors. It may not be difficult to make Scarlett Johansson or Mendes look amateurish, but when Jackson (as the evil scientist Octopus) puts you in mind of a school play, something has gone seriously awry. The flesh may be willing but The Spirit is weak.

03/01/2009

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The Guardian

Xan Brooks

Advice for those still suffering from a New Year's hangover: avoid spirits in general and The Spirit in particular. Frank Miller's adaptation of the antique comic strip by Will Eisner is brash, noisy and so alarmingly ill-paced that it should, by rights, come with a software package that allows viewers to recut it as they see fit. I'd recommend hacking many of the major characters and bringing the whole thing in at a svelte 10 minutes.

02/01/2009

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The Los Angeles Times

Sam Adams

Miller's flat, humorless yarn is set in Central City, a vacant metropolis whose only residents seem to be cops and crooks... Eva Mendes gives the movie a mild jolt as Denny's childhood flame Sand Saref, now an international thief with a thing for plunging necklines. But even comic-book characters need souls, and Miller's have none.

25/12/2008

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Time Out

Tom Huddleston

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.

01/01/2009

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