Some thoughts on The Spirit

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I was dreading The Spirit. I didn’t like the posters that showed up six months ago, the ones with the smutty writing on the women’s faces, and I didn’t like the look of the trailer. It looked weird, unpolished and campy. When some reviews showed up that called it, literally, one of the worst movies ever made, I felt a sigh of relief, thinking "Well, now I don’t have to see it, that’s a load off."  Ah, but then my big superhero project came along, and how was I going to not see the new superhero movie?

Christmas day rolled around, and I found myself in a town with nothing to do and, well, I like to go see a movie on Christmas, it’s kind of a tradition ’round my place. I should have been working on a treatment I have due, but it was Christmas, and who wants to work on Christmas?

And I had talked with long-time reader The Editor earlier in the week, and I had said to her "I want to see something on Christmas, but I can’t decide whether I should see Slick Hollywood Product, which I’ve heard is okay, or The Spirit, which I’ve heard is, literally, one of the worst movies ever made." And The Editor said "I think the wise thing would be to choose the truly awful over the merely bad."

But I was still dreading The Spirit, and so when I sauntered down to the local googolplex I plunked my money down for a Slick Hollywood Product, a highly-polished project with expensive production values and big-name stars, with a script by a name-brand, award-winning writer and a direction by a director I’ve long respected and admired, and I went into the theater hoping for two hours of thrills and drama, and was bored silly.

And then, events conspired to make a hole open up in the evening, and I had time to see another movie. Having felt burnt by Slick Hollywood Product, I was now determined to see The Spirit. The Spirit was either going to save Christmas for me, or destroy it.

And I enjoyed every eye-popping, confounding minute of it.

Now, don’t get me wrong — for those looking to find fault, there is plenty on display in The Spirit. The screenplay is wildly uneven, some scenes go on way too long, the story takes a real long time to get started and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense once it does, the direction is unsure, as though the director didn’t quite have a firm grasp on his tools, the acting ranges from obviously intentionally bad to not-so-obviously intentionally bad, the tone swings from camp to self-parody to broad comedy to sly jokiness to weird, w-t-f bizarreness. But it ain’t boring, it’s way too strange to be boring, and it’s more alive than any movie I’ve seen since, well, probably since Grindhouse.

It may not be your cup of tea. It may infuriate you. It may baffle you. It may cause you to roll your eyes, curse the screen or head for the exit. When my screening ended, one guy in the back broke into applause, while everyone else in the theater turned to see who that guy was.  Who would dare announce, publicly, that they had spied the work of a true artist in The Spirit?  It’s that kind of polarizing experience.

It is written and directed by Frank Miller, of course, and bears the green-screen expressionism of Sin City, which is, if nothing else, the most fetishistically faithful adaptation of a comic book ever, and it just bleeds Frank Miller-isms all over the place. Guys in trenchcoats, sexy women in ridiculous outfits, outrageous, cartoonish violence, very large guns, Nazis, macho posturing, references to ancient Greek culture, they’re all here, over and over and over again, and all that sounds bad on paper but at leastit’s a point of view, a genuine vision, something that I haven’t seen in a Hollywood movie in a long time, so long I’ve forgotten how much I’ve missed it, and I’d rather see a movie year full of passionate misfires like The Spirit than a long, dreary parade of competent product. (Whether it is a faithful rendering of its source material, Will Eisner’s revered comic strip, is another question, one which I don’t know the answer to. Like a lot of comics readers, I’ve heard much more about how great The Spirit is than I have actually read any of it. I know that Miller and Eisner were friends, and my guess is that Eisner would have encouraged Miller to make The Spirit his own. Which he definitely has.)

I’ve been trading emails with a cartoonist friend of mine (who knows Miller well enough to say hi to), trying to put my finger on the feeling The Spirit evokes. Then I remembered a time, right after Sin City came out, where this cartoonist and I were leafing through my copy of That Yellow Bastard, which contains some of Miller’s absolute best work.  We were admiring this composition and that use of shadow and this wonderful sequence.  Then we came across this full-page panel:

The big head in the above image belongs to Roarke, the Mr. Big of the Sin City world. Not a lot of subtlety there — his eyes bulge, his pupils are pinpricks, he’s got a monobrow and no neck, acne scars and a mouth big enough to swallow the protagonist in one gulp. And it takes up the whole page.  And my cartoonist friend said "And then I see something like this and I just say "Okay, Frank, okay — I GET IT." Which is what I felt through almost the whole running time of The Spirit the whole movie is turned up to 11. It makes a point, then makes it again, then makes it again.

And still, throughout the movie, I felt that I was in the presence of a mad genius instead of a crappy filmmaker. I could see that Miller loves this stuff, the potency and silliness of it, and he’s made a joyful, personal work of demented glee. I hope he improves as a director, but I also hope he keeps his spark of craziness.

(As a side note, let me just add that I’ve noticed that, for some reason, a lot of people just can’t stand Frank Miller. There is no topic more liable to start fights on a comics message board than saying you like Frank Miller. This baffles me — if you don’t like his work, fine, it’s not for everyone, but the kind of I-want-to-stab-him-in-the-face viciousness that he inspires in some quarters goes way beyond personal taste. From the way he’s treated by comics fans, you’d think he’d ruined the form instead of being one of the handful of bona-fide geniuses of his generation. And I say this knowing full well about his bizarre, reactionary politics.)


61 Responses to “Some thoughts on The Spirit”
  1. swan_tower says:

    I’d have an easier time figuring out what I think of Miller’s work if I could get past the miasma of misogyny it puts off.

    I thought Sin City (the film; haven’t read the comics) was a fabulous example of its type, but its type is not really my type, and The Spirit looked enough like that type to kind of put me off, especially when I started hearing about its flaws. As I’ve said before, there are enough sf/f/comics/etc genre movies out there now that I don’t feel obliged to see all of them out of fan solidarity; this is one of the ones I’ve decided to miss.

    Having said that, I totally agree that I’d rather see something with a passionate vision, even if it blows up in the visionary’s face, than something bland and forgettably competent.

    • Todd says:

      It’s funny, I consider myself a feminist, and I’m married to another one, and neither of us have ever actually seen the miasma of misogyny that Miller’s work supposedly puts off. He made his name by creating one of his medium’s strongest female characters, and then re-invented Robin as a strong teenage girl. The women of Sin City are certainly outrageous in their sexuality, but they’re also strong characters who defend their turf and don’t put up with crap from their male counterparts. But he provokes such a strong reaction from so many people that I’ve stopped trying to defend him. Besides which he doesn’t need my defense.

      • swan_tower says:

        Maybe it’s just the sexualization that bothers me. I don’t know the body of his work, so what I see is what’s gotten translated to the screen, and what friends have said about his comics. Then again, any pre-existing tendency Miller may have toward sexualizing his female characters would only get magnified by being passed through the Hollywood lens, where tight leather and a pair of breasts on display are somehow supposed to represent a strong character.

        • Todd says:

          Maybe I’m confusing overt sexuality, which is all over the place in Miller, with misogyny. He certainly likes to draw scantily-clad women, almost as much as he likes to draw guys in trenchcoats and naked Greek warriors, but I don’t see any hatred of women in there. A lot of other issues perhaps, but not hatred.

          • swan_tower says:

            Maybe I should have just said “sexism” rather than “misogyny.” (Though it doesn’t alliterate as pleasingly with “miasma.”) I don’t think he hates women; I do, however, wonder if he reduces them to their sexuality, such that even the “strong” ones are sex objects first and everything else second.

            If so, he wouldn’t be the only one; but that doesn’t make me any happier with it.

            • laminator_x says:

              Outside of the Sin City material, you see far less of the hyper-sexual renderings. In The Dark Knight Returns neither Comissioner Ellen Yindel nor the new Carrie Kelley Robin do any vamping around. Martha Washington in the Give Me Liberty series is totally a soldier before anything else, jaw-droppingly so at times.

              Now that’s not to say that Sin City isn’t loaded with hyper-sexualized-perhaps-to-the-point-of-sexism women, but I think that’s more a deliberate genre exercise on his part, rather than something that’s a fundamental characteristic of his work as a whole.

              • Todd says:

                I completely forgot about Martha Washington. Geez! What kind of misogynist is this guy?

                • laminator_x says:

                  I think there’s a Martha Washington Omnibus harback in the works. The later material isn’t as strong as Give Me Liberty, but that’s not saying much.

                  “Colonel Moretti, you are under arrest.” is one of the most powerful moments I’ve ever seen in a comic.

              • Agreed about the non-hypersexualized female characters in The Dark Knight Returns. Miller probably does better than a lot of other writers, who don’t think about female characters at all. On the other hand, that made it extra-painful when I picked up The Dark Knight Strikes Back to see that Carrie had reinvented herself as freakin’ Catgirl, the international symbol for vamping.

                But that was only the first of many times that book made me cringe.

          • I suppose there’s an argument that contributing to the ubiquitous sexualization of women helps create a hostile or otherwise difficult atmosphere for women in the real world. But that’s more of downstream effect. It seems like you could call Miller on objectification, but not on disliking women or even portraying them negatively.

            I’ve been thinking about the intersections between sexuality, objectification, and misogyny lately (ridiculously, touched off by a line from Flight of the Conchords: “She’s so hot, she’s making me sexist.”). I figure that people objectify each other all the time, and it doesn’t become a problem until you cease to recognize that they’re not really the object you make them into. Objectification is “god, I’d like to tear her clothes off.” Misogyny is “god, I’d like to tear her clothes off. What the hell is wrong with her, getting me all hot and then saying she doesn’t want to go out with me? Damn c*** t**** b****.”

            If that’s the case, then Sin City would be ironically progressive. The girls of Old Town are cool with being objectified, but they make the rules. If you violate the terms of your transaction, they quickly turn the tables, and the only subjectivity you have left is that maybe you get a say in which mythic archetype of violent death they’re going to perform on you.

            • laminator_x says:

              I might raise the bar for objectification a bit higher. I would say that “god, I’d like to tear her clothes off” is merely sexuality. “God, I’d like to tear her clothes off, and that’s all there is too her” is objectification.

              • I’m thinking about objectifying someone as a momentary state. My idea is that if you’re not thinking about someone’s full humanity / personal perspective / etc right now, then you’re objectifying them right now (which is why I think it’s not a big deal). I’d want a different term for when a person or group is so consistently objectified that it’s difficult for them to ever get treated fairly. I’m not really up on the academic vocabulary so this might be wrong.

                • Todd says:

                  I’d want a different term for when a person or group is so consistently objectified that it’s difficult for them to ever get treated fairly.

                  Like, you know, comics readers.

      • yesdrizella says:

        I want to print this comment out and frame it, I love it that much.

        I also wish it were earlier than it is now (5:30 A.M.) because this subject (feminism and “strong female characters”) is very near and dear to my heart, but I currently lack the ability to make a cohesive argument.

      • Same here (except for the married-to-one part). When I saw Sin City I thought the whole idea was, ‘This is a world where the men have to be violent, and the women have to be sexualized and violent, just to get by. That’s what is so fucked up about it.’

  2. laminator_x says:

    Something that occurs to me as a result of seeing this Spirit-through-the-lens-of-Sin-City treatment of the Spirit material is the extent to which Sin City itself was inspired by the elements in Eisner’s work that most resonated with Miller’s taste.

    That being said, I wish someone else had been given control of this project. Miller has certainly made it his own, but has done so to the point that he has left behind many of the things that made the Spirit so memorable in the first place.

  3. *whew* For a second there, I thought you were going to agree that it’s “literally, one of the worst movies ever made”. Yes, it’s over the top. Yes, it has alot of the feel of Sin City. Yes, it’s campy with lots of over-acting. Yes…I’ve got to stop making a point this way! But I think that’s what The Spirit was AIMING for, so I find it to be successful.

  4. I’m assuming your slick hollywood product was Benjamin Button, which was exactly the way you described the slick hollywood product. Borrrrring.

    • Todd says:

      It was not, although that’s a good guess.

      • ndgmtlcd says:

        For a few minutes there I thought “Slick Hollywood Product” was the real title of the movie. I should keep in touch and go out and watch other productions more, productions that have nothing to do with Science Fiction or Fantasy.

      • mimitabu says:

        i was sure it was benjamin button. what a piece of shit. there’s a fair amount of interesting stuff, but way more boredom… though of course it features enough lovingly photographed cate blanchett that it earned my $10 i suppose.

        uh, and having said that, i feel the same pangs about frank miller as swan_tower, but i did take sin city the same was as xzarakizraiia says (display of the evils of machismo and over-sexualizing women; but ironically with awesome machismo and sexy women).

        i think there’s a medium somewhere between thought-provoking and anti-feminist… sort of the medium that often comes up when people are thinking more about expressing themselves artistically than presenting an ethical thesis. the problem with that nebulous expression is just when it ventures too far into the coherently offensive, i guess. i italicized that for the pretentious speech emphasis, almost like william shatner.

        as for the spirit, i don’t think i’ll see it. trailers too big a turn off. then again, one of my friends works at a theater and often has free passes, so i’ll see anything with her.

    • igorxa says:

      i actually enjoyed benjamin button, but i wasn’t expecting much excitement from the guy who also wrote forrest gump.

  5. curt_holman says:

    At the risk of sounding sexist…

    That Sand Serif sure puts my font in all-caps, if you know what I mean.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve read much of The Spirit, but I remember it as being rather wholesome, like a more optimistic version of Dick Tracy. I may have that impression from the playful nature of Eisner’s art, which would goof on things like panel structure and word balloons in entertaining, pioneering ways.

    I would imagine a faithful Spirit movie as resembling The Rocketeer. I think Miller’s answer to Eisner’s humor is the campy slapstick (ex. fight scenes with toilets, kitchen sinks and six-foot wrenches), but to me, it felt like the kitsch of the Adam West “Batman” set against a hyperstylized backdrop not just reminiscent of Sin City, but all those Tim Burton’s Batman wannabes of the 1990s.

    • laminator_x says:

      Re: At the risk of sounding sexist…

      “That Sand Serif sure puts my font in all-caps, if you know what I mean.”

      She makes me want to kern up against some ligatures.

      Sultry femmes fetales aren’t out of place in The Spirit, but their emphasis is certainly far different here than in the comics.

      Lighthearted cleverness was far more common in the comics than campy slapstick, and the stories were always much more concise than this, usually less than a dozen pages.

  6. jbacardi says:

    This film has as much to do with Eisner’s wonderful Spirit stories of the late Forties-early Fifties as It Came from Outer Space has to do with E.T. . Miller took something that was positive and likable and witty and just shit all over it, as is his wont.

    Look, I don’t know Miller- I’m sure he’s probably a good friend and super nice guy to those who do, and I’m sure his family loves him, and he pays his taxes and so on. I think his early comics work- Daredevil, the first Dark Knight and Batman: Year One, even the early Sin Citys, are all great works in the field. But as the years have gone by, I have had the distinct feeling that he is not at all comfortable with where he came from, and has developed a vehement and sour dislike and condescension for comics, comics tropes, and comics fans to the point where we get stuff from him now like the grotesque sequel to Dark Knight Returns and his current All-Star Batman and Robin, which has a similar slash-and-burn aesthetic to this film. If I want to be treated with disdain, I prefer not to pay for the privilege.

    That said, I have not seen this movie, which just looks horrible to me, especially because I love the old Eisner & Co. stuff so much. This is the first article that I’ve read that has actually tempted me to view it anyway, if nothing else but so I can bitch about it legitimately. Christmas for you, usually New Year’s Day is a day when I go see a new movie, and I might check this out. If it’s still there!

    I know, I know, different visions for different creators, most are worthy of respect…but I don’t think Miller had any real respect for Eisner, and it comes out in this sour, revisionist take. I think it’s sad. But when you write about this being a “joyful, personal work of demented glee”, well, that sounds tempting. Although I still think the only real joy he got was trashing another icon of comics, to assuage his apparently fragile ego.

    • Todd says:

      If you suspect that Miller has agenda to trash icons of comics, you will not enjoy The Spirit. I’ve never gotten that feeling, although I hasten to add that I haven’t read ASBAR yet, because I got the first issue and it didn’t appeal to me. I’ve always felt that he’s pushing the whole idea of comics further and further, testing their limits, like a genius should. Maybe he ends up someplace interesting, maybe he goes to far, but as far as I can see, he loves these things too much to spend his time trying to destroy them.

      • jbacardi says:

        I’m sorry, but all I get is “I think this is stupid, you’re stupid for liking this, and I’m going to show you just how stupid this can be”.

        Maybe I’m just reading too much into it, I don’t know…but this is just the between-the-lines feeling I get from reading his recent efforts.

        I don’t mean to say that he’s not a talented creator. He is- and I don’t think “genius” is an inaccurate assessment. Perhaps he didn’t think there was any way to do the Spirit straight (kind of a copout), and this was all he could think of. I just wish that he would the get the sourness out of his system.

      • How familiar are you with Grant Morrison’s work? That’s a man I’d characterize as “pushing the whole idea of comics further and further, testing their limits, like a genius should.”

        Miller’s work these days is just too bitter, and the violence (of his art, of his characters, of their language) is often a stylistic tic at best and a needless distraction at worst.

        • Todd says:

          I know I’ve read some of Morrison’s work, and I know folks think highly of him, but I can’t say I know it like I know Miller’s work, as a corpus unto itself.

  7. mitejen says:

    The general backlash against Frank Miller bothers me, only because so many people are willing to assume that ‘If you read X, you must think that X is the way the world works.’ I think those same people assume that an artist can’t create something without completely imbuing it with their own politics and in the case of Miller, occasionally wacky right-wing ideals. The creator is not the product. The product might reflect the creator, but buying it doesn’t mean you’ve bought into the mindset of the creator.

    And he certainly does fly off into Sexism Country, and the machismo oozes forth with glorious abandon, but that’s also consistent with the universe he’s created. He grew up loving the cornball mah-cheese-mo of the seventies and so his work reflects that. I think he does have a consistent style, and its a very imperfect style because he only has so much room to maneuver within that world. But it’s a fun little world and I think it’s worth visiting now and again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Frank Miller’s “The Spirit”

      I like a lot of Miller’s work up until about ten years ago when it all just went to hell. I’ve seen the movie & I hate it with a real passion. It’s one of the few movies I’ve ever seen where I had to restrain myself from booing at the screen. Obviously you have to judge for yourself & see the movie just to know what everyone is talking about but this IS one of the worst movies ever made & it is not amusing in a bad way but insulting (& boring) to the audience that paid to see it.

      – Bob

      • mitejen says:

        Re: Frank Miller's "The Spirit"

        I agree his more recent work has been disappointing–I remember being SO EXCITED about the Dark Knight Strikes Again (or whatever the title was) and just being massively let down–interesting concept, poor execution. I’ve definitely cooled in my fandom towards him, not just because his creative output’s lacking but because of his bizarre views on the Iraq War and politics in general.

        I’m curious to see the Spirit, mostly from Ebert’s review but now even more so from this one by Mr. Alcott–I have no illusions about its quality, I was just putting in my two cents about Miller’s polarizing effect on people.

  8. creepingcrud says:

    Random Sin City exercises:

    Name a female character who is neither evil, a sex worker, nor dead by the end of the book.

    Name an ostensibly strong female character who doesn’t need a big strong man to save her, anyway.

    That aside, I have read and enjoyed Sin City, because Frank Miller is a jaw-droppingly good artist when he tries. I loved The Dark Knight Returns, and I even like The Dark Knight Strikes Again, which lots of people hate. I thought the Sin City movie was fabulous, and would happily go see a sequel. But the guy’s track record is not one of female empowerment, and while I can’t exactly blame him for comics in the 90s being terrible, his success with dark gritty violence influenced a lot of shitty comics. I can’t tell you what he actually thinks of women, but he seems to have a hard time separating them from sexualized violence and sexual violence, and that doesn’t do him any favors with those who’d like to see a world where the strength of female characters is assumed, rather than a marketing ploy.

  9. curt_holman says:

    On the other hand

    I enjoyed Punisher: War Zone in much the same way you enjoyed The Spirit, so it’s not like I can claim any intellectual high ground.

    • eronanke says:

      Re: On the other hand

      I WANT TO AGREE SO BADLY…. but I can’t.

      The big 4-story fight scene at the end lasted, what, 10 minutes before the entire mercenary army was depleted? That’s stupid. For me, the whole movie was leading up to that fight and it was over in the blink of an eye. For a mindless action flick, they really should have put more effort into that entire sequence.

      Not only that, but what ever happened to the Russian mob? We never hear whether they lived or not. I refuse to believe that the patriarch didn’t live.

  10. I have no opinion on The Spirit movie because I haven’t seen it. However, anything that might lead someone to pick up and read a Will Eisner book can’t be bad.

  11. craigjclark says:

    I didn’t see anything on Christmas Day because I was too busy with family obligations, but on Saturday I went out to see Gran Torino with my brother. If you’re a Clint Eastwood fan, I can recommend it unreservedly.

    As for the Slick Hollywood Product you had to endure, I’m going to guess that it was the one about a character whose initials happen to be BB.

    • Todd says:

      For the record, I don’t consider Benjamin Button to be slick Hollywood product. For one thing, it’s a $150 million, three-hour movie with a passive protagonist.

      I liked Gran Torino more than I’ve liked any Clint Eastwood movie since Unforgiven, which sounds like it’s saying a lot, but the new movie doesn’t come up to the older one’s knees.

  12. frankie23 says:

    I went with some friends to see The Spirit; myself and one other loved it, the others were completely baffled. The slapstick fight in the swamp (“Toilets are always funny!”), the frequent dreamlike encounters with Lorelei, and the OTT earnestness of the Spirit himself just gelled into a ridiculously fun encounter for me. It kinda makes me sad that more people aren’t getting the joke, but I suppose that’s just how things are.

    • Todd says:

      It is kind of hard to argue that The Spirit is actually a piece of entertainment too sophisticated for general audiences to appreciate, since so much of it isn’t sophisticated at all, but that’s kind of how I felt about it.

      • frankie23 says:

        Yeah, I don’t know if “sophisticated” is the right word, but I know what you mean. Much like the Marx Brothers, you either get it, or you don’t. If you get it, it’s a lot of fun; if you don’t, well, that’s gonna hurt. 🙂

  13. mikeyed says:

    I wish I could have read this earlier…

    cause my brother and I were looking for something to see, but The Wrestler isn’t playing anywhere here in Michigan and my brother counts too much on Rottentomatoes reviews for his movie viewing decisions.

    I love when people make movies with horribly mixed messages that are hard to understand. That’s probably what you meant, right? Cause that’s what it sounds like, so i am certainly intrigued…

    However, I’ll just wait till it’s selling for way below ticket price as a dvd.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t seen The Spirit yet, but, “I think the wise thing would be to choose the truly awful over the merely bad,” is my new motto.
    – Doctor Handsome

  15. stormwyvern says:

    A friend of mine caught an early screening of The Spirit and had said that he could not even enjoy it as an entertainingly bad movie, so I find it interesting that you found it so entertaining. I had pretty much decided to pass on this one from the moment I saw the teaser trailer. I’ve read some of Eisner’s “Spirit” comics and various comics by other creators based on his work and my impression from every trailer I’ve seen is that the film version had almost nothing to do with Eisner’s comics and everything to do with Frank Miller. It’s not that I necessarily think that a person putting his or her own spin on an existing property is a bad thing. It’s been done countless times, with results that I’ve loved and results that I’ve hated. But I think the best example of the problem here is that my husband’s cousin literally thought that this was a new Sin City film until we told her otherwise. It looks to me like a Miller project with Eisner window dressing rather than a fusion of the two. Though I’ve seen both Miller and Eisner speak (separately), I can’t claim to know what the latter would have thought of the former’s take on his material. I do hope Miller at least bothered to honor Eisner’s rule that the Spirit never even touches guns, a rule he did enforce when he let other creators work with his character.

    I guess what bugs me most is that this film is going to shape the public perception of what “The Spirit” is and I don’t think it’s a very accurate picture. Something like Batman has been in the public eye long enough and in enough forms that when something like Batman and Robin rolls around, just about everyone can write it off as a single terrible Batman movie rather than getting the impression that all Batman stories are equally awful. But if anyone wants to do anything else with the Spirit beyond more comics (and I’m still in mourning for that Brad Bird animated film version that never got off the ground), they’re going to have to contend with the public perception of the property as being “that Frank Miller thing.”

    As for Miller himself, he had become a more polarizing figure in comics in recent years. I don’t think you heard so much debate about his merits back when he was best known for “Sin City” and “The Dark Knight Returns.” But between “All-Star Batman and Robin” and “Dark Knight 2,” his legacy has become a little more muddled. I do know some pretty reasonable comics fans – some of whom are big fans of Miller’s earlier work – who take a rather dim view of him now. I don’t think it helps that Miller – as a friend informed me – recently said in an interview that he used to think “The Spirit” was fundamentally unfilmable, but then he realized that there was one person who could translate Eisner’s comics to film and, through sheer coincidence I’m sure, that one person just happened to be Frank Miller.

  16. r_sikoryak says:

    I’ve spent way more time reading and thinking about this movie than it would have taken me to see it.

    Despite all my misgivings, I still plan to see it.

    If you are at all interested in comics, then do read some of Eisner’s original Spirit stories. There are tons of reprints, including two softcover “Best of” collections published by DC. I have no idea how they’ll look to someone reading them for the first time today, but Eisner was really pushing the boundaries in the 1940’s (and he was still at it, up to his death in 2005).

    • Todd says:

      Alas, I am not at all interested in comics.

      • r_sikoryak says:

        May I recommend Marmaduke?

        • Todd says:

          Is that the cat that eats lasagna?

          • No that’s Cathy…Marmaduke was the magician.

            “The Spirit” was a super mess, not the worst movie ever, but not far from it. The direction was just plain not good- it felt like Mr. Miller had no idea how to get the actors and the scenes to work together to move the story along (and yes the question of “What story?” does come to mind…) it was clunky, clumsy and juvenile. And can someone please get Eva Mendes some acting lessons for Christmas next year?

            I think someone mentioned Tim Burton earlier- I think he would have made a more faithful and still personal/oddball take on Eisner’s very original creation- although Johnny Depp as the Spirit might be a stretch…

            Happy New Year to the family Todd!

  17. zhaohui says:

    There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating; people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.