Review of the Spirit film (2008)
Spirit is based on a weekly comic series penned and illustrated by Will Eisner in the 1940s. This is one of the first comics to establish the conventions and standards of comic books and graphic novels still used today. The movie felt like a film noir hard boiled detective film. The main character is not a detective, per se, but an ex-cop who died and came back to life and is now apparently invincible/immortal. Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) is now known as The Spirit, he is the spirit of the city, and her protector. In order to serve this role, Denny has decided no names, no personal connections, no relationships so he can do it right. The city is his love. In the movie, Denny Colt’s childhood sweetheart, Sand Seref (sounds like Sans Serif, a type of font without feet) played by Eva Mendez, returns to the city. Sam Jackson plays The Octupus, the movie’s villain. The police commissioner and his doctor daughter (who was denny colt’s love interest before he “died”) also play important roles. The movie felt like a 1940 city until I was jarred out of it when a cell phone with video feed was used. This pulled me out of the movie because it made me wonder what year it was, and if it was current, it must be in some alternate reality where most everything else is still like the 1940s, and on and on my mind ran away from the movie. Other than that, I really got into the movie. Spirit was written for the screen and directed by the Frank Miller, who directed Sin City, and the visual styles were similar. There was a lot of diachromatic scenes (black, white, and red), and some animation was used so it felt like a comic book come to life. Sam Jackson’s performance was incredible, and he definitely brought a old school funk feeling to the character. The interactions between his character and Scarlett Johansen’s character, Silken Floss, were filled with a great rapport and banter. The movie has been accused of having cardboard characters and ludicrous dialogue, but I felt it was witty, sometimes bordering on the absurd (especially with all the -os clones and Sam Jackson appearing as a samurai and a nazi), but thoroughly enjoyable.
image from ComicCon 2008 magazine, availble http://www.comic-con.org/common/cc_magazine.shtml