Review: The Spirit

The Spirit
1 Lloyd – Not Family-Friendly
PG-13 for intense sequences of stylized violence and action,
some sexual content and brief nudity.


Down these mean streets a man must come. A hero born, murdered,
and born again.

Adapted from the comic strip of the same name, The Spirit is an action-adventure-romance story told by Frank Miller. It’s the story of a former rookie cop who mysteriously returns from the dead as the Spirit and new guardian of the streets in Central City. His arch-enemy, the Octopus has a different mission. He plans to wipe out Spirit‘s beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality.

I really wanted to like this movie…
But in the end, I found little to like about The Spirit.

In our first Frame by Frame book I wrote about this problem in a chapter entitled “The Critics Trap”. I like Michael Uslan of the ever-popular Batman movie franchise. I’ve corresponded with him a time or two about The Spirit and I know he was very excited about it. However, as pointed out in “The Critics Trap” I have to be careful I don’t give a glowing review, just because I like Michael Uslan and his work. Many times a movie critic will fall into a trap of thinking everything their favorite actor and producer does is wonderful and untouchable. When that happens, the critic of course loses credibility.

If you go to see The Spirit thinking it will be in the line of The Dark Knight just because Michael Uslan produced both movies, you will come out of the theater very disappointed.

The Spirit is no Dark Knight. But then again, it’s not supposed to be. While Uslan has snatched the Batman franchise from cartoon hell, The Spirit comes close to that genre. It also has a 1990 Dick Tracy mix of comic book animation and real life tossed in just for good measure. At times the characters so closely resembled Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy, Madonna could have played the Silken Floss character portrayed by Scarlett Johansson.

Much to-do was also made out of the fact that Frank Miller, the creator of 300 and Sin City both directed and wrote the screenplay for The Spirit. While those movies made money, they also carried an R rating. The Spirit is rated PG-13. So, if you’re looking for the blood and guts of the previous two flicks, you will not find it here. While The Spirit is graphic and rated wrong, it did have rating restrictions on it.

The Spirit is by no means a family-friendly flick. It falls firmly into the Not Family-Friendly arena. There’s simply too much senseless violence throughout this movie to make it family-friendly. Then when you toss in the fact that every women in the movie either wants to seduce, love or kill the hero, it moves even further out of the family-friendly arena. On top of that, as a bad guy, Samuel L. Jackson who plays Octopus, is simply becoming much too predictable. Maybe it’s time for Jackson to take a break from the big screen. The past few years it seems he’s said yes to pretty much every role offered him. He needs to expand his acting abilities some.

As for glimmers of light in The Spirit – Eva Mendes, who plays Sand Saref, is absolutely brilliant. Her character, and her acting abilities, shine in this movie. Mendes is about the only one in this movie that didn’t seem to be on auto-pilot. She brings the character of Sand Saref to life, and captures the tension of the character. As for the second glimmer of light – At least we do have a hero who want to save his beloved city from evil. While many believe he’s single-minded, almost to a flaw in his pursuit of the Octopus, Spirit understands the Octopus holds the key not only to his dilemma, but also to the crime gripping the streets of Central City.

In the end, The Spirit might best be enjoyed on DVD. It’s really nothing more than comic book animation on the big screen. As for villains, the various Octopus clone henchmen come off more like a bad Three Stooges skit with senseless violence than anything else.

Probably best to avoid this show,
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.