Azrael's Review: The Spirit

**First off I'm posting this at 3:30a.m. so if there are typos or grammar mistakes then please disregard them as I will fix them later.**

Frank Miller, one of the greatest comic writers of all time. Thanks to him we have Sin City, 300, The Dark Knight Returns and two of the RoboCop* films. So when most of us heard that he was directing a comic flick we could only be nothing but ecstatic about it. As the trailers started coming out I couldn't wait for this movie to get released because it looked like it was going to be the movie Miller was using to tide us over until Sin City 2 finally gets made. Well, I finally got to watch that movie tonight, and oh my god does this movie suck.

How bad does this movie suck you ask? Let's just say that the first comic book movie it reminded me of was not Sin City, but Batman and Robin. Yes, you heard me, fucking Batman and Robin. In terms of visual style, yes it is very close to Sin City with the main color pallet sticking with black and white. But it's also different than Sin City color wise, because instead of the occasional red car or scarf there are entire scenes in color. The other way that this movie differs from Sin City and is more like the aforementioned Batman and Robin is that the movie is campy as all hell. The dialog is the main culprit for this.

Now, when you start watching the movie it's clear that Miller kept very close to the black and white color scheme that he and Rodriguez used with Sin City. However, the problem with this movie is that the ratio of black and white on screen is too off to the point where you'll often find yourself wincing at the sudden shift from dark to light. Another issue that I will point out is that while he also keeps certain objects in color on the screen while everything else is cloaked in black and white, (The Spirit's tie is usually the item that is picked the most for this) there are certain items that are pointed out using this technique that make no fucking sense whatsoever. A good example of this is the fact that they are constantly pointing out that his shoes have white soles.

Seriously, who the fuck cares about his shoes. And to be honest, there is not one point in the movie where his shoe color becomes relevant to anything!

The main issue is not with the relevancy of the shoes being white, but the fact that when they do it in some scenes it's poorly done and takes away from what is actually going on in the scene that actually may be relevant. This is actually worse if you watch it on blu-ray.

Moving on....

The other issue I have with this movie is the dialog. I'm not sure if the original source is to blame or if I actually have to fault Miller's writing for once. There are a ton of jokes in the movie and all of them are bad. The Octopus (played by Sam 'Badmothafucka' Jackson) is always going on about eggs. I shit you not, he's fucking obsessed with eggs.

Here's a couple of examples from the movie:

Silken Floss: We knew there had to be a better way of keeping someone alive other than cutting them up like some free-range chicken.

The Octopus: Eurgh. Free-range chickens with their big brown ugly-ass eggs. They piss me off. Every time I think about those big brown eggs they piss. Me. Off.

Silken Floss: Or pills.
The Octopus: I had you beat, just like eggs.

The Spirit: The hell you did!

Seriously, who the fuck wrote this shit? There are a couple of other dishonorable mentions such as when the Octopus wraps a toilet (seriously you'll have to watch the movie for this one) around the Spirit and starts laughing and saying how toilets are always funny. The other mention is the fact that there is a woman who is in love with the Spirit and is always calling him a bastard in a dramatic way when she sees him with a woman.

Now the acting isn't too awful, I mean it seems like they did do the best they could with that they had I guess. Samuel L. Jackson is pretty good as the Octopus and honestly he's the only one who really carries the movie, but even he can't make it a good movie. He constantly tries to make the role fun and you can almost see it in his performance, but it's almost like he was the only one who tried to have fun with it. Gabriel Macht as the Spirit is something that I'm having problems with. I will say that he does pull down a decent performance, but the entire time you can't help but think he's trying to copy Bale's Batman. There are some funny moments where he actually shines for a brief moment, but those are few and far between. It's almost like he took the role too seriously. There are some well known actresses in this movie as well (Scarlett Johansson, Eve Mendes and Jamie King), but to be blunt, their performances are sub-par with some of their previous roles. Scarlett Johansson is the worst of the three because it's almost like you can see the boredom in her eyes and you can definitely hear it in her voice. The other two almost have the attitude of it just being another paycheck, that's all.

Overall this movie is good if you're bored and need a good laugh, because there is no way in hell a person can view this as a serious superhero movie. It's almost like Miller was running behind schedule and just slapped together a screenplay at the last minute. We all know that his writing is nothing but brilliant and it's really a shame with what they've done with his original ideas for RoboCop. The only reasons that I can think of as to why he did such a bad job on this movie is that he could be getting back at the people who fucked him over with RoboCop 1 and 2*, or he just didn't give a shit since it wasn't based off his own property.

I give this movie 2 out of 5 stars, and one of those goes directly Mr. Jackson who is the only person who saved this horrible flick.

*Frank Miller actually wrote the original scripts for the second and third RoboCop movies, but they changed the final drafts around so much that there is little left of his original work. To see what he originally had planned check out the "Frank Miller's RoboCop" graphic novel.