My script sucks
My premise with movies born from comic books is simple: if I read the comic book a whole heck of a lot as a kid, AMC Theaters gets my ten beans on opening night, no questions asked (X-Men, Spiderman, Batman, Ghost Rider). If I became a serious fan of the author as an adult later on, Best Buy gets my $22.99 on DVD release day AND they better have those 9 hours of special features or there WILL BE HELL! (Sin City, Hellboy, Ghostworld, American Splendor).
Basically, I’m eager to be plucked by Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, and whoever else will buy me dinner before shafting me with CGI, ridiculous dialgoue, and “serious actors” playing someone who wears tights and metallic helmets.
With that said, The Spirit is a motherfucking disaster. The Spirit might battle Billy Zane’s The Phantom and the forgotten 90s Canadian-born adaption of Captain America for Least Fulfilling Superhero Movie That I Actually Watched On Purpose. I did not see Fantastic Four or the new Punisher movie because they almost certaintly were glittery pieces of shit that should not take up 90+ minutes of my life–I could be bloggin’ for chrissakes!
The Spirit fails because Frank Miller, one of my heroes, has no business making movies. He took the masked avenger from the Will Eisner books of the ’40s and jazzed him up in a Sin City world of dark alleys, black and white silouhettes, and dangerous dames that don’t fit the campiness and absurd, and mostly awful, jokes thrown around by characters most people have no prior understanding of. This is like setting Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure on the set of Chinatown.
Even all of that couldn’t save this movie
- Eva Mendes as Sand Saref (is that Egyptian?) can fill up a cocktail dress. And she makes a photocopy of her delicious boo-tay. She hasn’t looked this flat-out gorgeous in every frame since Training Day. Wowzers.
- Scarlett Johansson for once isn’t asked to be the sultry, sexy vixen. She plays evil secretary/administrative assistant Silken Floss, a name approved by the American Dental Association. She dresses almost exactly like Madonna in the “Human Nature” video except her hair is blond and she wants to destroy humankind while parading around as a Nazi librarian. It looks better than it sounds and Johansson really buys into the absurdity of it all. Thumbs up.
- Samuel L. Jackson plays Samuel L. Jackson pretending to be The Octopus: big friggin guns, uproarious shouting, outlandish head wear, and a vocation for one-liners (“Come on! Toilets are always FUNNY!”). He reminded me of his Don King-like character Rev. Fred Sultan in The Great White Hype meets Mr. Glass from Unbreakable. Add to the fact that he appeared to be high as Shaq’s dandruff on PCP and The Octopus wins. Kudos!
- The forgettable action sequences account for maybe 9 minutes of the movie’s running time.
- The running joke of Louis Lombardi (voted the #32 Loser of the Last 100 Years as Edgar Stiles on 24 ) as Pathos ran out of luster the 34th time around. I get it–he’s really stupid and wears a t-shirt with Greek or Latin words on it. Please kill him dead.
- Dan Lauria should never get twenty minutes of on-screen time unless it’s a movie for the Lifetime network. Take the cliched “gruff and cranky police captain” from every 80s cop movie and you’ve got Dolan, a man who wears a brown fedora in hopes that we won’t see Kevin Arnold’s father “acting” with the depth and nuance of a Taylor’s pork roll. Half way through the movie, I was hoping Dwayne Arnold would show up and kick in the balls or something.
- The “Sin City Look” is becoming “The Hype Williams Fish Eye Lens” of the late 90s. Sure, Busta and Missy are weird and flamboyant enough to fit the ultra zoom, but LL Cool J and Sisqo? Not so much. The Spirit is BEGGING to be edgy and dark and cool and saucy, and Frank Miller chooses that same background to absolutely no avail. It’s like watching Brandy trying to wear the rubber suit in Missy’s “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” All balls don’t bounce.
Masked and Career Annonymous
REALLY BAD THINGS
- Gabriel Macht as The Spirit has about as much charisma as an unborn Sea Monkey. Rappers who have “swagger” should call anyone without it ”Gabriel Macht”–it rhymes with “baby’ll drop,” “save me a yacht,” and “lately I’m hot.” I smell ringtone money!
- The Spirit has no powers beyond a red tie, black Chuck Taylors, and drama school monologues. However, there is one scene where he uses his “city as a weapon”: he throws a snowball at an armed goon. I’m not kidding.
- There was this overuse of cats as a metaphor for eternal life I presume. It was fricking pointless because I wanted The Spirit to die everytime he got shot or stabbed. Maybe if the cats would’ve died first, my dreams might’ve come true.
I give this movie 1 of 4 Stallone Claps* only on the strength of Eva Mendes’ mouth-watering outfits and Samuel L. Jackson’s Speedy Gonzalez sombrero in the opening fight scene. Other than that, stay away from this movie unless you enjoyed The Shadow more than The Dark Knight.
*1 Stallone Clap = Stop or My Mom Will Shoot
2 Stallone Claps = Judge Dredd
3 Stallone Claps = Demolition Man
4 Stallone Claps = Cop Land