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The Spirit
(2008 Film)

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About This Film
Alternate Titles For This Film
Fun Facts

This special Blu-Ray DVD release of the movie is a 2-disc set with standard DVD disc enclosed plus digital copy and BD Live.  It's worth a look!


Gabriel Macht as Denny Colt/The Spirit
Samuel L. Jackson as The Octopus
Eva Mendes as Sand Saref
Scarlett Johansson as Silken Floss, sexy henchwoman of The Octopus
Sarah Paulson as Ellen Dolan
Dan Lauria as Dolan, the police commissioner
Jaime King as Lorelei Rox
Louis Lombardi as the henchman clones, Pathos/Egos/Logos, etc.
Dan Gerrity as Detective Sussman
Eric Balfour as Mahmoud, Sand Saref's partner
Stana Katic as Morgenstern, sexy rookie policewoman
Paz Vega as Plaster of Paris
Johnny Simmons as Young Denny Colt
Seychelle Gabriel as Young Sand Saref
Arthur the Cat as Himself

Director- Frank Miller
Writer- Frank Miller

The Spirit (2008)
:  Could have been better.  I'm not saying this movie is bad, but I was really expecting more of a "real" movie.  Director Frank Miller geared this as a concept film.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but why did he have to take it to such a dark, weird place?  This movie bombed in theaters, and I can't say that I'm overly surprised.  I don't think it should have been such a commercial failure, but I can definitely see that it's an acquired taste.  Plus, it was a Christmas release.  And I don't know why anyone would release a movie on Christmas.  I really can't think of any Christmas-released movie that was a huge hit.  Who the heck goes to theaters on Christmas?

    I love the original comic strip/comic book superhero character of "The Spirit", as created by Will Eisner.  Spirit was always a positive, upbeat character despite the fact that he was a crime-fighting ghost.  The Spirit's stories seemed more light than dark.  This movie is bizarre.  The writing, the film's very direction...all of it tries too hard to be dark and brooding.  I find the hero's psycho-babble narrative so phony:  "My city...my city needs me...", oh, brother!  They would have done well to let Spirit act like a real person in a fantastic situation.  Creator Will Eisner's vision is just a lot more honest...and fun.

    The last two decades have given rise to the "dark" superhero.  This is thanks largely to Frank Miller's historical comic book revision of the Batman character for DC Comics over twenty years ago!  That, and definitely the first "Batman" film from 1989, is what set the era of depressing heroes in motion.  We haven't gotten out of it, yet.  This movie proves that the "dark" superhero is so cliche it's ridiculous.  It would seem, as many of these "dark" superhero movies have been flopping lately, that a lot of audiences are feeling the same way.  I think a lot of people, myself included, would like to see more positive superhero flicks with true-blue hero types and happy endings.

    This is not at all a hard story to follow, but it is hard to maintain your interest because the scenes are so choppy and the humor is so quirky.  The biggest mistake, I think, is the omission of Spirit's black sidekick, Ebony White.  Ebony's age was sometimes unclear.  At times, his size and personality made you think he was a young boy.  At other times, he was a man who drove Spirit in a taxi.  It's generally believed that Ebony was a young teenager who illegally chauffeured our hero, underage.  Frank Miller dropped the character from the movie because one, he doesn't like sidekicks and two, Ebony's portrayal in the classic comics is viewed as racially offensive.  Instead of updating the character, Miller just ignored Ebony White.  This was a very bad move.  Ebony was a solid character and important to the saga of The Spirit.  He was as important to Spirit as Tonto was to Lone Ranger, or Kato to Green Hornet.  A positive, likable version of the Ebony White character would have sold the movie better.  Everyone loves a cool African-American character in shows.

    There are a number of good things about this film.  Most of which is due to the cast.  Dan Lauria, by far and away, gives the best acting performance in "The Spirit".  His character as sirly, hardened police commissioner Dolan brings the greatest amount of reality to this story.  He's one of the few characters in this movie that isn't a cardboard cutout.  Dolan's not black and white.  There are times when he's nice and times when he's tough.  It all depends on the situation and the circumstances.

    Samuel L. Jackson as the primary villain, and Eva Mendes as the sexy femme fatale also give talented performances.  I've been enjoying both of those actors in films.  They almost always seem to land cool character roles in respectable projects.  Sarah Paulson did a very good job as Ellen Dolan, the unrequited love of The Spirit.  I'm looking forward to seeing more of her in films.  One actress that I think is really cool is Stana Katic as Morgenstern, the sexy rookie policewoman.  Morganstern is delightfully goofy, but not an idiot.  I just think Stana Katic did a wonderful job with this minor role and I hope that she gets to take on larger parts in feature films or even a TV series.  Basically all the women characters from this film are interesting.  Jaime King as Lorelei Rox, and especially Paz Vega as Plaster of Paris, are extremely sexy and fun.  Scarlett Johannson plays Silken Floss, sexy henchwoman of The Octopus.  She looks good enough, and I guess she's okay as an actress, but I definitely wasn't dazzled by the acting or the character.

    I liked Gabriel Macht as the hero of the picture.  He looks the part, and he's likable enough.  Odd enough, his character didn't get a lot of great dialogue.  This had to be a pretty simple acting job for him.  He did well, but this is just one of those cases where the "main character" takes a backseat to the large supporting cast.  What surprises me is that the actors who played young Denny Colt and young Sand Saref (Johnny Simmons and Seychelle Gabriel, respectively) give much more complicated acting performances than either of their adult counterparts, and they handle their roles very well.

    One thing that really bugs me about this movie is the very mish-mash style.  I know that it was supposed to be a blend of visual elements from the 1940s and the 2000s, but it just didn't work.  Sometimes the characters wear old-fashioned clothes, sometimes they wear very modern clothes.  Most of the cars are classic cars, but then you see laptop computers in the next scene.  And in some instances, we see things that would almost hint at this being futuristic, such as the police uniforms and offbeat special effects, to name a few.  The movie is filmed to look old, and in less than a decade this movie will seem really dated, yet the movie still tries to show newer things.  Only one time period should have been followed.  I think Miller did a great job of confusing the heck out of the audience.

    This is still a good superhero movie to watch at least once.  I think it's wonderful that such an old character was remembered fondly enough to inspire a major motion picture release.  This probably won't be your favorite superhero movie.  It isn't one of my top favorites, but it does have a charm of its own.  I would rate this as an "okay" film, but with a bit of retweaking this could have been an "outstanding" movie.

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