Frank Miller is a very well-known director; he is responsible for the creation of both "Sin City" movies, the "RoboCop" series (excluding the first one) and the Netflix exclusive "Daredevil" show. One of Frank Miller’s lesser known films is a superhero action fantasy starring Samuel L. Jackson & Scarlett Johansson (no, not Avengers).
"The Spirit" started out as a comic in the 1940’ Sunday edition of the "Register & Tribune Syndicate" newspaper and did not gain much popularity in 2008 when Frank Miller totally transformed the hokey do-gooder into a dark and mysterious crime noire vigilante with a surprisingly high libido and short term memory loss.
Despite Frank Miller’s namesake and the occasional use of a brand new top-of-the-line digital camera called The Phantom to take shots at 1000 frames per second, "The Spirit" earned a measly $6.4 million opening weekend, as opposed to "Sin City’s" $29 million or "The Avengers" whopping $207.4 million.
The style of "The Spirit" is along the lines of a dark comedy with The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) and his nemesis Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) having goofy banter while pelting each other with an endless supply of punches, toilets and bullets and oh yeah, they are both immortal. Just imagine "Sin City" as a gore-less comedy.
Silken Floss (Scarlet Johansson) and Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) are the two female primary characters; neither of them gain much substance in their backstories, but they are of course made to be quite seductive and always seeking power. Also, both of their names sound like a font.
The purpose of the film is actually the Octopus attempting his grand scheme of becoming a god and killing The Spirit, who is clueless to his plan for the majority of the story and also a side-story of The Spirit’s nostalgic romance with bad-girl, Sand Saref.
The plot is occasionally interrupted with monologue-like chatter from the protagonist and even more abruptly interrupted by random scenes of Lorelei (Jaime King), also known as “Lady Death”, relentlessly seeking to keep the un-killable vigilante forever in her grasp.
Should you see this movie? Sure. It’s a nice style and is mostly appropriate for nearly anyone older than 12. It feels like a Frank Miller movie if he were to tone back the qualities that he is so greatly known for. IMDb has it at a 4.8 out of 10 stars, so many people did not enjoy it.
Personally, I liked it. It is one of those movies that I am always okay with watching and it is only 1 hour and 43 minutes. So if you hate it, then you do not have to suffer for very long. I am not a huge comic reader, but even I can tell that the original 1940s newspaper strip was better than Frank Miller’s rendition will ever be. I own the first two full volumes of Will Eisner’s original version.
In short, watch the movie. You have about a 50/50 chance of kind of liking it or just getting to see Scarlett Johansson play a villain’s sexy sidekick, which suits her about the same as playing Black Widow. I own the Blu-ray, I have the authentic cinema poster and I’d give it 6 stars out of 10.