The Spirit


Release Date: 2008
Director: Frank Miller
Running Time:  
Cast: Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendez, Frank Miller (as Liebowitz)
Comic Artist: Will Eisner
First Appearance:  




The Spirit, Hollywood's latest hyper-stylised superhero rampage, wants to be mad, bad, and dangerous to know. It gets the second bit right. There's adapting a comic book into a functional movie, and then there's just dumping a lot of half-digested ideas onto the screen, which is what director Frank Miller has done here with the source material by Will Eisner, about a masked cop (Gabriel Macht) felling loonies in yet another of those Sin City-ish urban noirscapes.

I say loonies, rather than villains, because the pair abysmally played here by Samuel L Jackson and Scarlett Johansson keep doing these nuthouse audition pieces – one minute they're mad scientists grafting miniaturised human heads onto feet, the next they pop up cackling in SS regalia and jackboots. Ta-dah! The Spirit is certainly going all out for bonkers, but it chucks these random conceits into the mix with a mystifying lack of rhyme or reason -- it's all just weird for weird's sake.

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.

© Tim Robey, The Daily Telegraph

Prequels, Sequels and Follow-ons:

The Spirit (1987 - made for TV) Directed by: Michael Schultz. Starring. Sam Jones, Nana Visitor, Garry Walberg

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