Canister X Movie Review #72: The Spirit (2008)
Written by Frank Miller
Directed by Frank Miller
Runtime 103 min.
3.5 out of 5
Denny Colt was one of the best cops Central City has ever known. After being killed in the line of duty, he returns from the grave as the Spirit and fights evil as a masked crime fighter. Enter the Octopus, an evil villain bent on gaining immortality and will do anything and stop at nothing to achieve it.
So basically this is Sin City meets an old pulp superhero, the Spirit, who was created by Will Eisner. We can thank Frank Miller for the Sin City spin on this flick as he was the man behind it. Which, to me, is fine. I thought Sin City was the breath of fresh air movies needed and adding that kind of style and storytelling to the world of the Spirit is cool with me. Granted, I never read the comics so I can’t comment on if that was a smart move for an adaptation or not. I can comment that the costume change—going from an all-blue suit and fedora with a red tie, to an all-black suit and fedora with a red tie—was a cool move as a guy in a blue suit, a non-spandex one, wouldn’t translate to film very well.
This movie is big time over-the-top, so leave your expectations for a realistic comic book movie at the door. The characters take a ton of abuse and keep on kicking. I mean, the Spirit taking a toilet to the head and still standing after? Come on. But if you go in not expecting a realistic superhero movie, then this won’t bother you.
On a visual scale, this movie is aces. The black and white, the spot coloring, the glows, the different animated scenes thrown in—again, like Sin City but a really cool way to do a super flick and it makes me wonder how it might look if it was done with some of the more major franchises—i.e. if Captain America had a couple slick, three-or-four-second animated scenes as part of the movie. You never know.
Gabriel Macht did just fine as the Spirit—was tough, suave and able to hold his own on the action scale. Samuel L. Jackson as the Octopus—well, he’s SLJ so you got SLJ. I love the guy but he’s the same guy in every movie despite what he’s supposed to be. Granted, there are a few exceptions (i.e. The Caveman’s Valentine).
Bottom line: this is a crazy ride and cool detective story blended with superhero action and mayhem. It won’t change your life, but it certainly might add to it in a little way.