Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Review Rating: 7
Based on Will Eisner’s legendary comic book, The Spirit features Denny Colt, former cop arisen from the dead to seek justice on the mean streets of Central City.
It’s sad to say, as is my understanding the comic book has been around since the 1950’s if not longer, that the movie adaptation just isn’t that good. It’s like trying to take a Dick Tracy style story and toss it into the visual world of Sin City, it just doesn’t mesh together at all. I adore Miller’s style of movie making, but that just isn’t right for this movie. The memorabilia shots are all in sepia, fine, that’s standard. But tossing in black and white with one single splotch of bright color shots, right alongside the gritty black and white rain style scenes, plus standard monochrome shots with soft highlights of color all together; it looks like there was more than one director and none of them could agree on shot style.
Be that as it may, the movie plot itself is more or less fine. Denny Colt, arisen from the grave to shun Lady Death and use all his strength and sheer refusal to DiE already, is pretty good. His main enemy the Octopus, played by Samuel L. Jackson, is a complete nutball and has a penchant for costumery apparently. (But nothing beats Sam in a Nazi uniform getting crushed by a swastika eagle.) And lets not forget the slew of attractive women, who of course all have a thing for our hero one way or another, and all have funny names like Silken Floss, or Sand Seraf. There is however a serious age gap between the comic book and it’s adaptation to the big screen, and it’s clearly in evidence when The Spirit, in full masque, utters things like, “Gosh darn it all to heck” and “Oh golly”. The henchmen for the Octopus are all played by the same guy, Louis Lombardi, and each one has a t-shirt with his name, which is very comic-book-y, like Pathos, Ethos and Logos, but also like Adios and Amigos. The bits where The Spirit narrates himself though, and talks about his city as his only woman, are pretty good.
Some fans of the comic book may be thrilled that it finally came to the big screen, but disappointed at the attempts to modernize; some may enjoy both.