Down these mean streets a man must come. A hero born, murdered, and born again. When a Rookie cop named Denny Colt returns from the beyond as The Spirit, a hero whose mission is to fight against the bad forces from the shadows of Central City, the Octopus who kills anyone unfortunate enough to see his face who has other plans. He's going to wipe out the entire city.
It's more than a bit perplexing to ponder how The Spirit came to be. Not that one should wonder how another superhero film was greenlit, for that much is obvious. But how is it that Frank Miller got to direct and write his own film? Yes, he was the co-director (allegedly) on Sin City, but so what? How much directing did he actually do on Sin City? What did he learn? I would like to suppose that he didn't learn much at all. Take one look at The Spirit, and you could see why.
The Spirit, as this masked viligante is known, is a ghostly masked hero, the only man to have escaped the Angel of Death. Besides that one detail, he's just like any other hero. He has an arch-nemesis who goes by the name of The Octupus, played by Samuel L. Jackson. And just like any hero, he has women to love. One is a femme fatale anti herione, Sand Sarif (Eva Mendes) and the other is Ellan Dolan (Sarah Paulsen) the police commissioners daughter.
Sand Sarif was the one that got away. She loved Denny Colt before he was the Spirit. They were close childhood friends, until her father was shot by cops. She fled to Europe to earn those riches she desperately craved and rid herself of her own identity.
The biggest problem ( and there are many) is the shallowness of this effort. It's a nice film to look at, but not much else. Looking at this film with it's hyper-noir asthetic, overly reminiscent of Sin City, one get's the feeling that Miller may owe Robert Rodriquez a big royalty check.
The characters aren't interesting, and the performances range from stone-faced and wooden to shrieking and hysterical over kill. And while Miller attempts to replicate the noir of his early comics, it all feels like an empty pastiche with no geniune emotion to be found.
Frank Miller is one of the best comic book artists and writers working in the past several decades…I wish he would have never tried to direct a film. He got a taste for it after co-directing Sin City with Robert Rodriguez and brought to us the flop known as The Spirit. This movie may look good, but its story is convoluted, its cast is atrocious, making this movie practically unwatchable. Frank Millers dialogue works well on page, but when delivered by actors under his direction, it assaults the ears. If you like wooden acting that is on par with reading a speech from the paper in front of your eighth grade class, then this is the film for you. There is no other.