I think Frank Miller might have gone a bit crazy. The respected comic book creator…a legend in the medium, has been getting funny looks since he started writing All Star Batman and Robin for DC Comics. Naysayers say he’s lost his touch and has gotten too far out. I dunno, I kinda like the series.
So when people started talking smack about Miller’s solo directorial debut, his take on Will Eisner’s classic character, The Spirit, I didn’t think much of it.
Sadly, there may be some justification for all the hate.
Now, I’m not gonna really bash Miller or the film. First off, I’ve never read much if any of Eisner’s Spirit work, so I can’t really say how different this is from the source material. I do have to assume however, that Miller changed it up quite the lot. First off, Eisner’s work looked nothing like SIN CITY which Miller wrote and co-directed. This movie looked a whole lot like Sin City, except there was no bad language, less violence and unfortunately, way less nudity.
The set up for The Spirit remains intact: good guy cop Denny Colt puts on a mask and fights crime. Now if the movie Spirit’ origin is the same to the comics, I don’t know. And if the comics have a villain named “The Octopus”, I don’t know either, but it’s safe to assume he wasn’t a crazy mo-fo like the character Samuel L Jackson plays here. Wow. It’s hard not to love Jackson in just about any role he plays, but here he’s way, way, way over the top. Plus not hearing say the F word in his own inimitable way, to me anyway, is a negative.
Playing the titular character is Gabriel Macht, who I’ve never heard of before. I think he does a great job with what he’s given…over the top pulp-noir lines like “I’m gonna kill you all kinds of dead”. I dunno if this movie will help him become better known, because like I said, the critics are not being kind. But I didn’t have a problem with him at all.
Now, if you saw Sin City, you know Miller likes the ladies. And dayum…does The Spirit showcase some lovely ladies. The good girls are played by Sarah Paulson as Dr Ellen Dolan. Kinda hated her hairstyle, but otherwise liked her a lot. Very talented lady with a very pretty smile. Stana Katic plays an ambitious rookie cop, and she too was over the top, but I’ve liked this actress since her very short stint on TV’s Heroes and even sat through a pretty bad cable movie just to watch her play a vampire.
The bad girls…well, we have Scarlett Johansson as Silken Floss…yes, she’s gorgeous, and does fine in the flick, but I guess I’m not a big fan. Sorry. Paz Vega as Plaster of Paris…her accent is thick, but she’s all kinds of gorgeous. Jaime King as Lorelei. Small role, but nice to look at, even if she wasn’t much more than a special effect.
Last but not least, Eva Mendes as Sand Serif. And no, I don’t know why she’s named like a font either. She does a nice job here. I’m not one of her bigger fans, but she plays up the pulp starlet stuff nicely.
So it looks like this movie might not be a big hit, or might hinder Miller’s momentum in Hollyweird. Who knows, maybe it won’t. Maybe enough people will see it and like it and he’ll get another chance. Personally, I hope so. Just reel it in a little, Frank.