The Spirit

Out Now On-Demand

Written and directed by Frank Miller, adapted from the famous comic strip by Will Eisner (who’s been labeled the "Orson Welles of comics"). Miller, in his first solo outing as writer/director, brings The Spirit to the screen in the same manner as his Sin City and 300 adaptations – using digital background technology to meld live action performances with graphical elements.

Packing drama, thrills and romance, this is the story of a former rookie cop who returns from the dead as The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) to fight crime from the shadows of the gothic Central City. His arch-enemy is the Octopus (Samuel L Jackson) who 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. Scarlett Johansson’s the girl next door, Paz Vega’s the secretary vixen, Eva Mendes is Sand Saref – jewel thief and the love of Spirit’s life turned bad.

Miller describes the tale; “The character has a terrifying side to him. This is a man who’s died and came back to life. So it twists into fantasy. And of course there are tons of women in it. There have to be — it’s The Spirit. They’re all in love with him, and he’s in love with all of them. You might say he’s a bit of a slut.”

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Action, Adventure, Comedy, Thriller

102mins

Rating: M contains violence

USA

Official Site

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New Zealand's 'M' rating has set a new benchmark for cartoonish brutality. The Spirit's invulnerable characters take a page out of Wile E. Coyote's book and turn household items into weapons of mass destruction. Toilets, rubbish bins and - knowingly - a kitchen sink are shattered over skulls in the first 15 minutes. By the fifth reel, most audience members won't be surprised to see Samuel L. Jackson dressed as a Nazi, murdering a fluffy kitten.

Not chasing any Oscars, The Spirit wisely plays to its strengths. At one point a breathless dame whispers to our hero, "keep your mask on, something tells me it'll be better that way." It's an apt summary of a film that highlights the surreal at all costs.

Director Frank Miller uses a stunning monochromatic palette to achieve this goal. In his high-contrast world we only ever see beautiful women and toned men. Sadly, this minimalistic worldview also flows into his script. The Spirit himself narrates throughout and the technique might have been able to fix the story's plot-holes, if it weren't for him occasionally talking directly to-camera and ruining Miller's escapist illusion.

Without the voice-over, the film could have become the bad-taste hit of the summer. With it, the movie feels a little too cheap and in need of a few script re-writes.

Hollywood Reporter

press

It is truly a mess.

Los Angeles Times

press

Miller's flat, humorless yarn is set in Central City, a vacant metropolis whose only residents seem to be cops and crooks.

New York Times

press

What is most striking about The Spirit is how little pleasure it affords, in spite of its efforts to by sly, sexy, heartfelt and clever all at once.

NZ Herald [Russell Baillie]

press

The worst superhero movie of the year ... well, so far.

Premiere [USA]

press

Not charming, but not cynical, The Spirit is wholly unrecommendable, but made with greater care than many movies that are.

Variety [USA]

press

Plunges into a watery grave early on and spends roughly the next 100 minutes gasping for air.

I cant believe I paid money to see this movie.

I wanted this movie to be good. I really did. I was a huge fan of Sin City and Frank Miller in general, so I had high hopes. I even tried to ignore the critical slaughter this movie had been put through in the past few weeks.

Five minutes in, I tuned to my friend next to me and said, "What the f*ck?" This movie is simply horrible. The acting is bad. The CGI is bad. The plot is bad. The script is bad. The best part about this movie was "The Watchmen" trailer beforehand.

It was hilarious watching Samuel L. Jackson take the piss out of all of his lines - it seems he was the only one in on the joke that this was such a terrible movie.

Do not see this movie.

Rhonda

Rhonda

user


Spirit entirely devoid of soul

Never in my life have I been so completely mortified by the lack of interest in a film that I've walked out, but that's exactly what I did tonight.

"The Spirit" is by far THE WORST movie I have ever seen. I actually realised this early on by trying to sit through the god awful dialogue as the Spirit and The Octupus fight each other in a pool of mud. Effectively it was mud wrestling with random words thrown in as background noise. This was a complete disaster. You have big names in ridiculous roles, utterly unclever dialogue, and while it looks effective with the great CGI as seen in "Sin City" that's where the comparison ends. It is BY FAR the WORST movie I have ever attempted to sit through, I didn't even bother to get a refund so that I didn't have to sit the teller through a lecture on just how terrible the film was. Thats 2 hours of my life I'll never get back. Take my advice and skip this tragic mess of cinematography.