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The Spirit: A Flashy Story Lacking Soul

From dime-store digests to lush graphic novels, the comic-book genre has fully established itself as part of high culture. Along with the literary upgrade have come equally artful films, including The Dark Knight and Sin City. But for all its highbrow hopes, The Spirit plays like a B movie.

Written and directed by Frank Miller of Sin City and 300 fame, The Spirit is no Sin City or even the less cerebral 300. As both artful sketch and pure entertainment, The Spirit is lacking. For all the highs and lows,


With its black-and-white brushstroke canvas and film-noir narration, The Spirit starts with promise. In cahoots with the local cops, the Spirit (Gabriel Macht) is a slain policeman turned subdued superhero and ladies man who feels indebted to keep watch over his city.

Our hero has a campy rivalry with the requisite villain, a theatrical mad scientist known as the Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) with a genetically engineered posse of doofus henchman. When one brute gets killed off, Octopus and his evil assistant (Scarlett Johansson) just make more, all in pursuit of an urn containing the blood of Heracles that the Octopus needs to secure his immortality.

The plot is fairly simple. Yet with each new character who is introduced— a devoted doctor smitten with the Spirit, an angel of death draped in a sparkly veil, a jewel thief who is the Spirit's childhood love (Eva Mendes) — the movie gets ever more spiritless. Despite its loftiest constructs, mythic undertones, and bizarre Nazi imagery, The Spirit is almost cool but mostly just awkward. The aesthetics look impressive, but the tone is all off. It's like the comic-book film equivalent of a one-camera sitcom without a laugh track that just isn't funny enough.

Photos Courtesy of Lionsgate

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ste7en ste7en 8 years
I was really looking forward to this movie but have to agree it was mostly rubbish. I also gave it 1.5 stars in my review Miller should stick to printed page!
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I still really want to see this movie. I don't know why...the story sounds interesting I guess.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Lacking soul? Isn't The Spirit about a spunky inner city cheerleading squad trying to raise money for new uniforms? What's not to like. I kid.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Lacking soul?Isn't The Spirit about a spunky inner city cheerleading squad trying to raise money for new uniforms? What's not to like.I kid.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Well said, Nitachequita! I totally agree. I find the Buzz reviews to be balanced, well supported, honest critiques that go way beyond the superficial "feeling" level offered by other reviewers.
beansandsyke beansandsyke 8 years
naw this movie was oktotally off beat and funny wasnt great tho
beansandsyke beansandsyke 8 years
naw this movie was ok totally off beat and funny wasnt great tho
Nitachequita Nitachequita 8 years
I disagree with Grantz - I don't think Buzz underrates movies. Buzz is very discerning in her critiques, and recognizes the positive aspects of a movie, without ignoring the flaws and just loving every movie that comes along...which is what makes her a good critic.
reesiecup reesiecup 8 years
hmmm....I guess this movie will be a rental. Gabriel Matcht is very cute indeed.
krae85 krae85 8 years
The previews for this movie look sooooo dumb.
amloveaffair amloveaffair 8 years
I agree with Grantz. It seems like you do underrate a lot of movies. I haven't seen this and I probably won't. While I liked 300, these movies aren't really my thing. Plus the clip I saw of Eva Mendez on Conan O' Brien last week made it look pretty bad. Her acting was awful! Gabriel Macht is a hottie though!
Grantz Grantz 8 years
I personally think you underate, a lot of movies. But this is not one of those times. Trying to make a noir into a comedy. Was a total failure/flop. And that was surprising considering Frank Miller's former success. I totally agree with the very low 1.5 star rating
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