On Christmas Day, I took myself off to the AMC movie theater for my annual xmas movie. This year I decided to see The Spirit. Since I was planning on seeing the movie before noon, my ticket was only six dollars which was great, because I'm unemployed and also because that's about all the movie was worth.
The plot is fairly simple, the Spirit is sort of like Batman, in that he fights crime alongside the cops of Central City. No one knows where he came from except this one cop who knows that he's really a cop named Denny Colt that everyone thought had died, hence the name The Spirit. The Octopus (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and his gang of cloned goons, are trying to take over Central City. The Octopus wants the vase of Herakles which is supposed to make him immortal. Meanwhile The Spirit's old flame Sand Serif is in town looking for Jason's Golden Fleece. Due to a mix-up, The Octopus has the fleece and Sand has the vase of Herakles. And The Spirit wants to stop them both.
To say that I was disappointed in this movie is an understatement. Perhaps my hopes were just too high, but I thought hey, it's Frank Miller and the late Will Eisner, this should be awesome. I had familiarized myself with the character of The Spirit in it's new incarnation from DC Comics and was thoroughly intrigued by him. However, the movie while stylistically beautiful, falls short on things like character development, fun, and action.
The lead actor Gabriel Macht is not nearly charismatic enough to play the role of The Spirit or at least he's not allowed enough moments in the film to let the audience see why women swoon so much over him, and why Ellen, the doctor who tends his wounds, spends all her time waiting for him. There is a cute little backstory of his relationship with one of the female villainesses Sand Serif (and not one person made a joke about how her name is the same as a computer font). But again, her character is not very well-fleshed out, and Eva Mendes, although beautiful, is not a good enough actress to give her any weight beyond what's on the page.
Scarlett Johanssen comes off much better, but as much as I love Samuel L. Jackson, I think he needs to take a step back and not do every single film script that comes across his desk. The man needs to work with directors like Ridley Scott or even Martin Scorcese, even Clint Eastwood for god's sake. I'm even willing to add Spike Lee to the list. He does way too much crap. He's like a black Michael Caine, and Caine didn't start winning Oscars until he took a step back and became a bit pickier about his film scripts. Put Samuel L. Jackson in a movie with Will Smith or Denzel or DeNiro, actors who are worthy of his talent.
The Spirit, even for the most-die hard graphic novel and comic book lover is a miss.