Monday, December 29, 2008


The Spirit was a fun ass movie, but hey, this is a guy who enjoys All Star Batman and Robin, and DK sequel, etc (and never read Sin City, or 300)...It just seems to be cool to hate on Miller, and The Spirit, and if you're prone to that, this is Miller hater fodder extreme!
Was it a great movie? No, it certainly was a mess, but I still really enjoyed the hell out of it.
The thing is, it's hard to go into a movie and just purely take it in in this age... you go in with so many expectation or reservations from what you've heard and seen online etc. Some times things are so hyped, it's hard to match up to the expectations, other times, like with The Spirit, they're so badmouthed, any quality seems that much better in contrast...


The visuals, of course, were amazing, and I thought most of the cast were pretty good, Macht as the Spirit was cool, he fit the vibe and character very well, and Sam Jackson owned his Octopus (in his finest form since Pulp Fiction... over the top? Hell yes. Sublime? Hell yess!), the commissioner (that Wonder Years dad), and Jewish police gal (whom I didn’t recognize) were cool too.
The action was pretty cool too, it starts off great, with a slam bang Octopus v Spirit dust up, and finishes strong in the same vein.


Well, yes, there's a lot, but for me the flat to odd performances were cleary due to Frank's inexperienced hands, and mostly forgivable. I mean, with the whole tone here, it’s acceptable, and maybe even better with some really bad acting… Scarlett Johansson’s Silken Floss was the worst offender though, and not much surprise there... Scar Jo is pretty dry, and her beauty is best served in a certain light, Miller and co missed the mark here and didn't cater her costuming, makeup, whatever to bring that out, which is a huge mistake... to say nothing of her wooden performance (call it prequel syndrome, with George being the other big offender here, taking mostly top notch talent and making them utterly lifeless and dead eyed on screen).
However, as much as the directing of the actors was lacking, or uneven, by far the worst offender was the dreadful score. My god! Look, I'm not a big soundtrack honk, but these big budget franchises with generic or nonexistent scores (Iron Man, X-Men, FF, Hulk, etc) look superb compared to the work in The Spirit. The soundtrack here is downright annoying and distracting! It's almost like the producers knew they were in big trouble with the uneven directing/performances, so they tried to zing things up with the most obnoxious distracting score, that pulls you out of half the scenes. Awful. Just awful. There was one moment, mid movie, the elevator scene, where they had a snippet of jazz, and wow, something jazzy would've really suited this film better throughout.


So, yeah, if you're averse to Miller's over the top, broad stroke, lead heavy storytelling, or out for more Dark Knight/Iron Man modern contemporary ultra realism, this is clearly not for you, but, if like me, you're open minded and out to have a fun time at the movies, and be swept into an amazing new worlds, The Spirit DOESN'T disappoint!
Myself AND my wife really enjoyed it, and it's too bad that the films shortcomings will likely overshadow what's a fun, daring comic book movie that's clearly not for everyone. Come on all you Miller haters, get over yourselves… the man may turn off many, may not be what he once was, but he is a visionary artist, that continues to stay true to his self, and if he wants to try his hand at bringing his trademark style to the screen, as opposed to directors aping it, fine by me, and maybe he'll get it better next time (or maybe it'll be an even bigger mess).


Now, what did all of you think?

1 comment:

Javier Hernandez said...

My dear Mr. Martin:

The fact that you've never read SIN CITY or 300 is shocking! What, not enough spandex?! :)

THE SPIRIT... Well, I admit that I went in expecting a train wreck (based on the trailer) and well....Frank didn't fail me there!

I haven't been 'getting' his recent ASBAR and DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN brand of parody/contempt for the characters approach he's taken recently. Always was a favorite of mine, especially back in the 80s when he worked his early magic on DAREDEVIL.

Main problem for me on the SPIRIT was that he imposed his SIN CITY-movie aesthetic on someone else's property (if Frank gave Will Eisner the same courtesy that Rodriguez and Snyder gave Frank with their films..I mean, they stayed loyal to the look of his comics)

The other major problem was Sam Jackson! The eye-makeup and grossly
obnoxious acting were dreadful (course Frank saw fit to write such a character!). Jackson has long overstayed his welcome from PULP FICTION (kinda like Travolta was over exposed too).

On the other hand, there were moments when I felt I was watching a live-action Miller 1980s Daredevil movie. Neat to see a cartoonist's storytelling literally translated to the screen by his own hand.

I did enjoy Macht's performance as the tough-yet-aw-shucks Denny Colt.

I really thought the film was horrible, yet in the back of my head maybe Frank created Super Art, and I haven't realized it yet. I'm hoping he does a director's commentary for the DVD, cause I would pick it up!!!

(Next time I'm in Portland, we'll let the SPIRIT DVD be our C.H.U.D. flick for the weekend! Soda pop and booze!!)