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. hahaha hilarious.

  2. You guys know what the funniest thing about all this is? Vic gave one of the lowest scores ever given on his site, and we have a grand total of ONE idiot fanboy here to defend it… LMAO!!! You would expect at least a few people here to say that he’s wrong. Imagine if you wrote a negative review about TDK. There would be like a thousand fanboys yelling obscenities in the first minute alone. The website’s bandwidth would be maxed out in an instant.

    But for The Spirit, we have… one… wow…

  3. Haha,Just wanted you to know audiences continue to reject The Spirit.
    So, you do seem to be quite alone in your opinion.

  4. Ken,

    I appreciate your coming to my defense but lets not stoke the flame, shall we? 8-)


  5. Wow Vic, 0.5 out of 5. I’m thinking I should watch this just to finally rid my taste buds of the horrid, lucid taste of “The (not-so-much) Happening.”

  6. HAHA I knew it would be crap when I heard Miller was giving his girlfriend a part in the movie that is why I hate Rob Zombie movies the only movie I did like where the main guys girlfriend was in was BATTLEFIELD EARTH LOL but then again I love cheesy crappy movies

  7. sweet, That dude is banned. Maybe the time he would of spent here could be spent on social training or something.

    Decided not to see this movie even on the cheap night, heh.

  8. “Can anybody name a good Lionsgate film?”

    Yes, 3:10 To Yuma was in distribution for the most part, but it seems that Lionsgate gets some credit because other studios passed. That was when 3:10 had the Walk The Line director and three names on the marquee. But they are distributor only.

    I’m going to rule out the Afterdark (8 Film horrorfest) lineup because even though I loved ‘Gravedancers’ a few yrs back, had this appreciation for ‘Deaths Of Ian Stone’, Lionsgate generally is in distributor for those films, especially the DVD rights.

    The 2004 Punisher was a holdover from Artisan when LGF* soaked that studio up into the fold.*

    So thus I have to go with…Fahrenheit 9/11, The Devil’s Rejects, Hostel, the Tyler Perry flicks…and how about…

    The Forbidden Kingdom?

    *It should be noted that they’ve had more problems ever since they changed their logo from LGF to that long, long, long studio opening they’ve had the last few years.

    I have some hopes for My Bloody Valentine. Not high. Some.

  9. @Rob
    I hate banning people and I don’t do it lightly – but when it’s obvious that the only purpose someone has is to be a troll and post flamebait, I won’t put up with it.


  10. @BlackDingo

    Thanks, bud – I really do try to differentiate Screen Rant from all the other movie sites out there.


  11. @ Vic

    Which is why I love this site. :D
    It’s an internet oasis!

  12. @Darren

    The Forbidden Kingdom was a pretty dumb movie. The best part was Jet Li and Jackie Chan fighting. That’s about it.

    And Fahrenheit 9/11 was not only crap in terms of the information it gave, but in its production as well, it was boooooorrring.

    Just so you guys know, almost everything Michael Moore says since “Roger and Me” is a blatant lie. Most of his “experts” on his documentaries are paid actors. If you don’t believe me, here’s a good example of how easy it is to see this fact. In the beginning of Fahrenheit 9/11, he has a guy claiming to be someone who worked on a joint CIA and FBI task force gathering information about terrorism prior to 9/11. Well, prior to the formation of the Department of Homeland Security, which was a RESULT of 9/11, the sharing of information between the CIA and FBI on the topic of terrorism was actually technically against the law… Yes, that’s right, the two entities were separate and they were not allowed to share information regarding terrorism. So the idea of a “joint task force” for terrorism between the CIA and FBI prior to 9/11 is ludicrous.

    But like I said, despite the fact that it is all a bunch of baloney, it simply wasn’t entertaining at all. I was falling asleep half way through…

    I love how he writes in his book that it is impossible for someone to make it on his own in America, yet he came from a poor family and is now flying around in a private jet… He’s living proof that what he wrote in his book is completely false! LOL What a freakin joke, I can’t believe there are people who believe anything this moron says.

  13. Oh sorry, disregard that last statement, don’t want this to turn into a big political discussion. Sorry, wasn’t thinking. Maybe I should stop posting here in the middle of the morning before I go to sleep…

  14. I have to agree with Vic, I was dragged out to see The Spirit two nights ago, and the best thing I can say about it was I didn’t hate it 100% – the clones made 0.5% of the film bearable.

  15. Fahrenheit 9/11,and the Tyler Perry flicks are some of the worst garbage to hit film in the last 10 years. Especially Fahrenheit it was misinformation put out to brain wash mindless drones who love someone telling them what’s what with out doing any research on their own.

    On a side note if this d bag visiting the site would like I would gladly love to meet him in person if you want I will even share my home address with you and wait up for you to come to my door step. I will not be to upset to knock your lights out just for being the idiot that you are.

  16. Hey gang,

    If that troll continues to comment here I’m going to ask you a favor:

    Please ignore him and do not respond.

    While I appreciate your support, it only gives encouragement. The best way to deal with it is to ignore it. I would actually be thankful if he used his real email address so I could contact him and try to find out what the issue is, but I can’t do that. So again, please do NOT respond.



  17. @ Ken J.

    Valid evaluation of Michael Moore. I used to live in Davison. They refuse to acknowledge him as a “home of” person, although a few of his groupies keep trying to promote him. He may eventually buy a spot. Davison, MI is a very middle class community. Kind of at odds with his bio. He did hang with some real losers in his early newspaper days.

    Now I’ll have to watch the DVD of Spirit…can’t believe there is nothing to see.

  18. @Vic

    Copy that Boss. BS Filter is now set to ‘maximum’.

  19. Hmm, obviously in the minority here when I say that it wasn’t a complete waste of my time. It felt like a saturday cartoon. Guess I take the time more than others not to take any movie for granted. Even the so-called bad ones. I take away something from every flic.

    Many I will never watch again, many more I can stomach. It’s art, and it all has something to say. Many have profound effects on my thought process, many never stick. I do however wish that I could watch every movie ever made atleast once.
    This one is not in the category of “Never see again because it was so bad” (like that movie RedEye that came out a few years ago, hated that movie with a passion).

    The Spirit wasn’t good or bad for me. It just was. Was something to pass the time.

  20. Well after seeing this horror of this movie I can tell my friends “I told you so.” They laughed at me saying that it was going to be the best movie ever. After they walked out, their faces looked like someone shot their dog. They were so disgusted by it(thank god they have some movie sense! lol). This movie isnt even worth renting. I think I need to pick new movie friends or I pick the movies from now on :D

    Oddly Michael Moore reminds me of Al Gore. Both shoveing lies down peoples throats just to make some cash. Whatever they wanna be liars then it will bite them in the a$$ later.

  21. Well, we just got back from seeing this film and it was bad, real bad. My husband is a devote comic book reader so we were very excited about The Spirit coming alive in a feature film. After the film was over my husband said, ” Will Eisner would roll over in his grave if he could see this.” I’ve got say we would not have listened to any reviews….we were going to see this film anyway.

    Maybe someday someone will do an awesome version of The Spirit but this was not it. It is possible… look at the crappy Tim Burton Batman movies.

  22. @ Jess and EZbreezy

    Please, you know I’m not disagreeing with you, but it was my mistake to bring up the topic about Moore & Co.. The last thing we need is for this topic to turn political and get locked, so if you agree or disagree, um, just keep it to yourself. I know I have trouble doing that myself, lol. :-D

  23. Maybe I should’ve seen this review before I left home this morning. I went, I saw… I blanked out in total confusion. Aside from the pleasure of seeing the sexy Eva Mendez’ bare ass, I was at a complete loss as to what I was doing sitting in that theatre room, $6.50 poorer. In my head I was repeatedly going “Why Frank? Why must you sully your good name as one of the best comic-writters of our time by directing this heap of s***?WHY?!” pretty much for the entire two hours. As an avid graphic novel buyer/reader/collector, I wouldn’t be exagerrating by saying I was embarrased on behalf of the whole comic book geek community in seeing this bad acid trip(especially so since I dragged my friends there who will from now on, no doubt, question my taste in movies… but I digest).
    Point? Gonna be checking up here for reviews more often so as to avoid getting entangled in another two-hour mind-warping crapola.

    BTW, the henchmen with the names on the t-shirt, while it is a tribute to the 60′s batman series, I think is also a nod at those punks from Miller’s own “Dark knight returns” (Hi my name is Rob)

  24. you digest or digress?

    Anyway you’re lucky movies are only &6.50 where you are. It is $8.00 AFTER the military discount… Same for students. I think seniors are like $0.50 less.

  25. @Ken J.

    I think we all get off topic a lot :P lol

  26. Not as much as I do Jess, lol. It’s just that Hollywood has so much of the type of people that I whole-heartedly disagree with that movies will often times bring those issues to mind. Which sucks since I love to watch movies…

  27. Vic and whoever else says this movie stunk, I could not agree more… In fact, stunk isn’t a strong enough word, and I give you all credit for seeing the whole thing…. I go to the movies a good bit and have seen many stinkers in my day, but this abomination of a movie is the only one that has ever made me walk out of it, it was THAT STUPID

    My friends and I walked out after 20 minutes (IF THAT LONG), right after the swamp fight scene that was ridiculous beyond belief… The only positive part I can think of is that Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson – two favorites of mine -were both in a movie together… On that same note, what an utter shame that it had to be this one…. Seriously, how could they (or Sam Jackson, or ANYONE in the cast, for that matter) have thought it was a good idea to have their named attached to this flick?

    Hollywood perplexes me sometimes

  28. @Ken J.

    Welcome to Holleywood and Life! lol

  29. oh wow love how i cant spell :)