The Spirit Review

Published 6 years ago by , Updated January 3rd, 2009 at 9:13 am,

Short version: The Spirit is two hours of your life that you’ll never get back.

scene from the spirit The Spirit Review
Screen Rant reviews The Spirit


That’s the first word that comes to mind as I think about The Spirit. It’s an example of a movie that just leaves me plain dumbfounded. It’s so awful that I’m completely in the dark as to how a movie like this can ever actually get funded, produced and make it into movie theaters.

The very first line of dialog spoken in the movie was utterly cheesy – and that set the tone for the entire movie. I wasn’t sure what I was in for… I’d seen the footage and the trailers and it ALL looked horribly bad, but I thought that there might be something else to the film that either wasn’t being conveyed in the footage we’d seen, or that would make what we HAD seen somehow “work.”

As Alex Trebek would say on Jeopardy: “Sorry, no.”

In The Spirit, former police officer Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) (who was gunned down in the line of duty) is now a masked crime fighter in Central City. He’s alive because he was a guinea pig for a scientist’s experiment on immortality.

He doesn’t remember how or why he’s come back from the dead, and hasn’t really cared until his arch-nemesis “The Octopus” (Samuel L. Jackson) tells him that they have more in common than The Spirit thinks. One of the odder things in the movie (which was never explained) is his need to be tended to by Dr. Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson) to help him recover – even though he supposedly has Wolverine-like healing powers.

The Spirit works closely with the police and in particular with the Commisioner (Dan Lauria), who happens to be Ellen’s father. He thinks the masked one is losing it due to his obsession with the Octopus, plus he’s not happy with the fact that the Spirit seems to both put out and be extremely susceptible to pheromones – falling in love with every woman he meets. Ellen pines for the Spirit and even though he romances other women right in front of her, she still can’t help herself.

The Octopus is looking for the key to immortality, and even though he’s most of the way there, he needs to drink some of “Heracles blood” to seal the deal. He has a bunch of cloned henchmen all played by Louis Lombardi who make the “Otis” character in the Superman movies look brilliant by comparison. They wear t-shirts each with a different saying on them – the first three guys have either “Pathos,” “Egos” or “Logos” on their shirt. Later on as more copies appear they have other single, and progressivly stupider, words on them.

Following the swamp fight between the Octopus and the Spirit that included a giant wrench, a toilet and… wait for it…. the kitchen sink, the t-shirt gag was a clue that perhaps director Frank Miller was going for an Adam West/1960s Batman TV show type of camp with the film.

See but here’s the problem: “Camp” is actually supposed to be funny.

And what happens when camp fails to be funny? You’re just left with “stupid.”

There is so much wrong with this movie that I can’t take the time to document it all. There’s cringe inducing dialog (“I had you beat like eggs.”), bizarre visual choices (most of the time The Spirit’s sneakers glowed white), and idiotic story points (Ellen tends to self-healing Spirit while a police officer is critically injured by multiple gunshot wounds). Oh, I could go on – a flashback scene where the Spirit is talking to a cat (and there were a lot of cats in the movie… not sure what the heck THAT was all about), Eva Mendes as San Serif making a photocopy of her “perfect ass,” etc., etc.

The ONE scene in the movie that actually made me laugh was when the Spirit was tied up in a chair and the Octopus was monologing (you know, explaining his evil plan right before the good guy gets free and thwarts the evil plan) and the Spirit asks: “Is there a point to all this? I’m getting bored.” It echoed my thoughts completely.

I’m truly dumbfounded that both the studio and the actors involved in this read this script and STILL went on to finance/become involved with the film. Even on paper this MUST have looked utterly idiotic. If they thought that writer/director Frank Miller (yes, he wrote AND directed this train wreck) would be able to make this work somehow they were sorely mistaken. This is a perfect example of that Hollywood myopia in which you can have dozens (if not hundreds) of people working on a film, watching dailies – and for some bizarre reason no one can tell it’s a steaming pile.

The only reason I’m giving this even half a star is out of deference to Sarah Paulson, who was probably one of the best things in the film (and that’s not saying much) and to Gabriel Macht, who I just pity for having the starring role in this film. Hopefully it doesn’t kill his career – he seems like he’s a decent actor. As to Samuel L. Jackson – Good Lord, man… don’t you have enough money? Can’t you be a bit more discerning in what roles you pick? Pretty soon no one will take you seriously as an actor.

Some people may say this is “fun”… me? I’d use the word “painful.” Avoid The Spirit at all costs.

It’s not even worthy of the “so bad it’s funny” badge – it’s just plain awful.

Our Rating:

0.5 out of 5

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  1. Well, well, wellllllllllll…
    See Vic? Review a turd and it draws flies like this hahahha geek! It seems that in both cases, the only difference between the movie, this mouthy geek, and a bucket of SH*T…
    is the bucket!
    Go Spill your lameness elsewhere “ha”, you have to be at least 4′ tall to ride this ride!

  2. Hey gang, thanks for jumping to my defense against this bonehead, but no need – I’ve banned him from the site.


  3. Good Grief!
    Like Spiderman said after fighting Sandman, “Where do these guys come from?”

    Vic, I didn’t listen to you about ‘Day the Earth Stayed Home’ and saw it.

    I’m listening now.

  4. I would say that not all talented graphic novelists and comicbook writers are talented screenwriters and directors… anyone else agree? This has done nothing but hurt Frank Miller’s image with me.

    Buck Rogers? I’ll pass…

    As far as the ‘Sin City Style’ — all Miller has done is discredit the originality of the style.

    Uh… does he think all films should be shot like Sin City? If so, what makes Sin City so special? I thought he was ‘visionary’ with his imagery from Sin City. Apparently, that is the only vision he sees. Thank goodness, Rodreguiz didn’t let him do anything other then watch. The Spirit was not his comic book, trying to turn it into ‘What if The Spirit took place is my Sin City: The Movie’ was a pretty lame idea. Whoever greenlit this should be ashamed.

    To Frank Miller: PLEASE just keep writing and leave the directing to, well, Zack Snyder…

  5. I watched The Spirit yesterday and I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. It was such an awful film. I thought Punisher was absolute garbage and then I saw this. The first teaser for Spirit was good he gave a little monologue and jumped from building to building. It had me excited,, but then every thing went down hill. I expected crap going in, but I thought “it has to be better than Punisher war zone.” I was wrong. I think it’s worse than Punisher, and Transformers. It’s not as bad as death proof though that movie was trash.

  6. @Daniel F
    Nice to know we agree on at least some things. :-P


  7. Can anybody name a good Lionsgate film?
    I’m just curious as to whether or not the film industry would be losing a quality production studio is they went under?

    If you can name one… what about recent? Saw movies don’t count…

  8. @High Kalibur
    What a GREAT question!

    I’d have to say no great loss at all.

    Here’s the list of films they’ve distributed:

    The only really good movies that I can see on the list are Akeelah and the Bee from 2006 and Rambo from last January. Oh, and the most excellent Fido along with Midnight Meat Train – both movies essentially buried by them in 100 theater releases.

    Short version: No great loss, indeed.


  9. No great Loss?

    Come on now Vic. I love the Crank and Transporter movies. If i couldn’t get my fix of hilarity and action i don’t know what i would do. I can’t live off of dimension extreme

  10. Lionsgate has turned into the direct to dvd kings. Lots of slashers and shoot’em ups. They seem to give a lot of latitude to the actors and directors. It’s a shame that most of the time it just hasn’t worked. I did like Rambo and the Thomas Jane Punisher.

  11. No love for 3:10 to Yuma…I thought it was an awesome movie…So one out of 200..hmmmm…

  12. They were more of a distributor, not the producer of 3:10 to Yuma.

  13. WOW! LOL! A “0.5 out of 5″? ROTFLMAO!!! Is that a first for you, Vic? :-D

    That said, this is exactly what I expected it to be. A POC misrepresentation of the comics. Don’t ever count on seeing a Spirit film again. Personally, I liked the crappy TV special better. Nice job with your directorial debut, Frank. You should’ve stuck to effing up your once great comics with things like a “Dark Knight returns” threequel and “All Star Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder”. I’m beginning to think Miller’s lost it. :-(

  14. Almost forgot, Great review, Vic. :-D

  15. Actually, Kel, I gave AVP:R the same as I gave this movie and “Timeline” had the honor of getting 0/5. 8-)


  16. Do you have that Timeline review here on this site? I tried searching for it but didn’t find it.

  17. Vic,Now that we got The Spirit out of the way how about a Valkyrie Review?

  18. Was almost dragged to this movie by my friend last night.

    Went to see ‘Changeling’ instead.

    Life is good.

  19. Off the top of my head here goes. I consier 3:10 to Yuma (the remake) to be one of the great films of the last decade. Lets also not forget Crash which was excellent.

    Also while not great films I enjoyed My Best Friend’s Girl somewhate. ALso despite being an excusse to put a wrestler in a film I thought The Condemned was pretty decent with loads of potential.

  20. Oh and don’t forget marvel animated stuff.

  21. Hey Vic, thanks for the heads up.

    As for Lionsgate, I like what they have done with Marvel Animated movies. That was cool. Doctor Strange was fun.

    (And I’m sorta disappointed I didn’t get to see the Hahahha thing. Ah well.)

  22. @Ken J

    Dude, I typed in “Timeline review” in the search box here and it was the top result. :-P

    But since I like you, here ya go:


  23. @Gary

    Kofi is going to be writing up a Valkyrie review.


  24. you know, i happen to think toilets are ALWAYS funny. you’re talking crazy, iss crazee talk.

    the movie was terrible. i literally went home and i wept. not because of the spirit’s pure suckability. more so because i actually spent $10.25 on that crap.

    however, as a girl, there were a few pivotal seconds in film for me when his shirt was off. that was niiiice. oh, and muffin was dece, too. you know, before she melted and we were left with gag eyeballs that were snagged right off of a dollar store shelf.

  25. LOL Vic, I just typed “Timeline” and it came up with 4 pages of everything but the Timeline review… unless I just overlooked it then too. It’s weird, for me, half of the search results are off the screen and there’s no way for me to scroll over to it… That might also be part of the reason.

  26. Now I have to see it just if it truly is as bad as Vic makes it out to be. I’m thinking I might even rent it…once there’s a Riff track for it.

  27. Oh wow. Just curious, but have anyone ever said a phrase to you “get a life” or something like that? I’m sure you don’t really know what it means, most people learn that in middle school, so that’s still a few years away, but just curious if you’ve heard that a few times. You know what they say, after the third time, it’s no longer a coincidence…

    I see you still haven’t grown any balls to use your real name and you probably didn’t leave your real email address either. Man, I’ve always wondered how it is to be a big cowardly pussy. Will you tell me how it is? I don’t know, when I have a disagreement with someone, I’ve never been too afraid to face them, I know it’s the internet and you can talk as tough as you want and not have to worry about getting beat up every day like you have to deal with at your school, but at the very least I try to at least use my name, but again, I don’t know, I’ve never been a pussy, so I don’t know how it is like to be you. But it’s always good to learn new things, so if you wish to share how the life of a ball-less pussy coward, please do.

    Maybe they’ll make an academy award winning movie out of it, Brokeback Mountain 2, but instead of gay people in love, it’ll be two straight people who just act like they are gay, like you and your best friend, trying to be accepted in a world that teases you for not having balls all the time. It would be great, call Ang Lee, I demand some royalties for this idea though…

  28. Hey “haha”

    Listen, dumbass – if you want me to take you seriously, why don’t you be a man and use a real email address instead of the B.S. one you use to comment?

    Feel free to comment here, if they are in the same vein as those before, I’ll delete them as fast as I find them.

    On the other hand, contribute to the discussion in an intelligent, non-insulting manner and those will stay – even if they disagree with me.


  29. Don’t bother, you just told him to “be a man.” Maybe he’s just not that dishonest, don’t ask him to be what he’s not… hahaha… oh wait, now I know where he got his name, lol, it’s from everyone laughing at him… :-D