The Spirit (2008) is the Frank Miller adaptation of Wil Eisner classic comic book series. It is the story of Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht), a New York cop who is shot and dies in the line of duty. This results in the crusader changing into The Spirt, a man who can heal at supernatural levels and is tough to boot. His arch-enemy Nazi megalomaniac mega-villain Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) is always there, making Denny’s attempt to rid the city of filth a difficult job.
The film itself revolves around Octopus’ attempts to gain the blood of Heracles, genetic material that will make him into what he believes to be a god. This will put Denny on the trail of his old flame, Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), who managed to gain possession of the artefact during a heist. So begins a host of weird interactions and action sequences that will lead to an inevitable showdown between the Spirit and Octopus.
What can you expect from this film though? Well, first up you can expect similar film techniques, sequences and writing to Frank Miller’s previous two films Sin City and 300. You can also expect a decent cast including Dan Lauria (Jack Arnold from Wonder Years) as Dolan, Stana Katic (Kate Beckett from Castle) as gun-toting Morgenstern, Scarlett Johansson (Iron 2‘s Black Widow) as Octopus’ main assistant Silken Floss, Paz Vega (Flor Moreno from Splanglish) as insane femme fatale Plaster of Paris, Jaime King (Jade from Bulletproof Monk) as Spirit’s doctor Lorelei Rox, and the feline acting talents of Arthur the Cat in his first major role. Other faces you will no doubt recognise from film and television.
Miller does a great job of making the film true to the genre and era, giving the streets a great vibe, and offering the right amount of cheesy lines and cliche to keep the film amusing. However, be warned that the film is very camp, so stay clear if you find the likes of The Middleman entertaining. I don’t know if Miller intended this, but I found the dialogue and fight sequences to be highly entertaining. The main hero and super-villain are also nutty as a fruitcake, which might also put people off the film, but I quite liked the bizarre flaws of Spirit and Octopus. For example, Denny has a high libido, resulting in him trying to charm the clothes off of all the woman around him. This is somewhat complemented by his own animal magnetism. As for Octopus, the villain has anger management issues and take pleasure in finding new ways to kill his test-tube created cloned minion army.
In conclusion, I thought this film was hilarious. However, some of the elements might put people off, and you’ll either like the movie or hate it. I doubt that there would be many people that could repeat the film immediately after watching it, but I would certainly watch it again. As a parting gift, here’s the trailer for the film: