In “Sin City” my only complaint was the relentless blood bath but the rest was something unique and eclectic in its source. “300” fit perfectly. As much seriousness it bore on the muscular and chiseled bodied warriors screaming and blood thirsty, it was fun. In “The Spirit” it is all dead. The lead man’s only interesting and edgy quality being a womanizer. He wanders the roof tops to jump on the baddies especially his nemesis Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson). Apparently his body can withstand wounds like Claire in “Heroes” series. Add law and justice to it to get a superhero for this fictional Central City.
Many times Spirit talks to the audience (with great mesmerizing voice of Macht) reminiscing his child hood sweet heart days and giving clues of his law abiding job of being cop in his previous life. We discover his ability on the questions he goes unanswered from a woman of “What are you?”. Octopus holds the keys to those and the obsession to get that drives the Spirit. He has the old man Commissioner Dolan (Dan Lauria) to advise him on his stupidity while also depending on his saving capabilities with of course tons of collateral damage. Then the ever loving repair doctor of his body, Ellen (Sarah Poulson) as with rest of the city girls to be crazily attracted to this man.
Let us get over with the style. We have seen it well and it has worked incredibly from the same man. It standing alone away from the script is a visual to crave for. It is an eye candy to simply glare at it and spend time amazed. Sadly it is not the single element to judge the film. When Samuel L. Jackson showed up, I thought it would be one hell of a ride with his loose mouthed snap comments and the fluctuating addictive commanding voice of his to oomph the film. But it is a successive show of his dismal attempt in doing that, badly.
What is the deal with the costumes of Octopus? While his sidekick Floss (Scarlett Johansson) understandably suits those, it goes from bizarre to unexplainable symbolism in each shots. If the megalomaniacal attitude of Hitler and the Samurai costume (if I am not wrong) to denote the death is what it is, this is not the place for it. It deviates, distracts and becomes painfully boasting of its intellectual stand. And the multiple cloned henchmen of Octopus played by Louis Bambardi is another sad story to waste a page, but I am not going to.
“The Spirit” has been marketed well and that might add for its box office accumulation but why am I talking about it. Box office is a business which throws the content out of the door instantaneously. While in the review of “Sin City” I would have blasted a bit more than necessary, it is truly a great work in path breaking film presentation. It had a peculiar chord which sat well despite my unlike towards it. “The Spirit” is an overrated and over marketed undeserving production failing in all avenues except the graphics which of course has become a regular fair.
The over the top acting is deliberate and that does not help. In the immediate ten minutes three characters emerge from dirty water for style in men while sexiness for women. The characters have life sucked out of them to become plainly exist in paper which they were in the original Will Eisner comic series. I have not read it but I am damn sure they were good and had characters breathing life without being cool alone.