From the Creator of Sin City and 300.
"...sly, sexy, heartfelt and clever all at once. A.O. Scott, The New York Times
|Above shadowy, crime-infested streets a masked avenger watches. Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) was one of Central City's finest cops until a gangster's bullet ended his life. Now Fate has brought him back from the beyond as The Spirit, a street-hardened hero who faces off against seductive foes like the voluptuous Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) and the alluring Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson). Then, of course, there's his evil archenemy, The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), with a mission to wipe out Spirit's beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality in this graphic action-thriller.|
"...a classic superhero story, with a square-jawed hero who knows how to take a punch and kiss a dame until she's weak in the knees... Chris Barsanti, FilmCritic.com
"...a visual feast, with every image lovingly framed and lit (and mixed with special effects) so that there's always something interesting to look at. Daniel M. Kimmel, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
"The style dazzles, evoking everything wonderful and terrible from film noir and combining it with a likable hero and wonderfully pulpy premise. Jason Heck, Kansas City Star
"...resemble[s] a comic book more than any live-action film yet made... Kyle Smith, New York Post
Based on Will Eisner's classic 1940s and '50s comic series and written and directed by his acolyte Frank Miller, THE SPIRIT follows the adventures of the crimefighter of the title (Gabriel Macht), a former cop mysteriously brought back from the dead. Hiding his identity as Denny Colt behind a mask and a fedora, the Spirit, now seemingly indestructible, protects his beloved Central City from his mortal enemy, the Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), while contending with the many women in his life, including the doting Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson) and the dangerous Sand Seref (Eva Mendes).Credited with co-helming the film adaptation of his renowned SIN CITY comics (with Robert Rodriguez), Miller turns to one of his primary influences for his solo directorial debut. Not surprisingly, he uses the hyper-stylized SIN CITY look as a template for THE SPIRIT, allowing Eisner's pulpy vintage aesthetic to merge with SIN CITY's gritty atmosphere. Macht is well cast as the brooding Spirit, who has a habit of talking to himself at length, while Jackson gleefully chews scenery and burns through costume changes as the quirky, egg-obsessed Octopus. Although Paulson, Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, and others are largely relegated to "Bond girl" status, they play their roles with declarative verve, making THE SPIRIT an enjoyably campy addition to the pantheon of comic-book movies.
Cast & Crew
New York Times
"With its dark palette and stylized look, it also incorporates an evocative film noir style. Some performances are particularly fun, such as Samuel L. Jackson's villainous Octopus."
4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's briskly witty, with a script so 'meta' it all but nudges you."
The Onion A.V. Club 5 of 10
It has not escaped the notice of geek-Americans that, visually and thematically, Frank Miller's big-screen adaptation of Will Eisner's pioneering comic The Spirit is essentially a sequel to Sin City, the wildly influential green-screen epic adaptation of Miller's comics series he co-directed with Robert Rodriguez. Infinitely more alarming: in terms of humor, The Spirit feels like the follow-up to Batman & Robin no one wanted. Main bad guy Samuel L. Jackson even spends much of the film indulging in egg-themed wordplay that almost inspires nostalgia for Arnold Schwarzenegger's avalanche of ice puns in the unloved third Batman sequel...A Love Song For Bobby Long's Gabriel "Who?" Macht plays the title character, a rookie lawman who is killed and later resurrected by a mad scientist/supervillain with a God complex, played with scenery-chewing abandon by Jackson...As his comics work suggests, Miller is a peerless admirer of the female form, which is to say a shameless lecher concerned primarily with exposing as much luscious female flesh as possible. As a babe-delivery system, The Spirit is a rousing success. In every other sense, it's a pronounced failure. The hard-boiled visual style of Sin City, with its comic book compositions, noirish black-and-white, and impressionistic splashes of color, now feels shopworn. Running gags limp and scenes drag on endlessly with little sense of rhythm, shape, or momentum. Miller's screenplay oscillates sleepily between leaden camp, stumbling slapstick, and pulpy pseudo-poetry and Macht leaves a fatal charisma void in the lead role. Not even the presence of Jackson in a Nazi uniform late in the film can give this regrettable boondoggle a pulse. In comics, it took Miller decades to devolve into embarrassing self-parody. In film, he's made that leap over the course of a single disastrous film.
- Nathan Rabin
Chicago Sun-Times 5 of 10
"The Spirit" is mannered to the point of madness. There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material. The movie is all style -- style without substance, style whirling in a senseless void. The film's hero is an ex-cop reincarnated as an immortal enforcer; for all the personality he exhibits, we would welcome Elmer Fudd...The movie was written, directed and fabricated largely on computers by Frank Miller, whose "300" and "Sin City" showed a similar elevation of the graphic novel into fantastical style shows. But they had characters, stories, a sense of fun. "The Spirit" is all setups and posing, muscles and cleavage, hats and ruby lips, nasty wounds and snarly dialogue, and males and females who relate to one another like participants in a blood oath...The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) narrates his own story with all the introspection of a pro wrestler describing his packaging. The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) heroically overacts, devouring the scenery as if following instructions from Gladstone, the British prime minister who attributed his success to chewing each bite 32 times...The Spirit encounters a childhood girlfriend, Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), pronounced like the typographical attribute, who made good on her vow of blowing off Central City and making diamonds her best friend. The Octopus has an enigmatic collaborator named Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson), pronounced like your dentist...These people come and go in a dank, desolate city, where always it's winter and no one's in love, and their duty is to engage in impossible combat with no outcome, because The Octopus and The Spirit apparently cannot slay each other...I know I will be pilloried if I dare end this review without mentioning the name of the artist who created the original comic books. I would hate for that to happen. Will Eisner.
- Roger Ebert