The Spirit review: Shitfest Edition

The Spirit review: Shitfest Edition

Hello, and wel­come to this spe­cial Shit­fest Edi­tion of The Spirit, a film I’ve already reviewed way back when. How­ever, this ver­sion has a few extra graph­ics made on a com­puter screen which I did by mov­ing a mouse around with my hand, and using my eyes to see what I was doing. I’ve also made a slight amend­ment to the sapphic liaison at the end of the review, with a bit of extra dia­logue and stuff.

It’s my entry into Shit­fest 2014: Winter, the third such fest­ival of shit movies, organ­ised by Isaac’s Pic­ture Con­clu­sions, and span­ning an entire month. Feel free to head over there, and check out the other entries.


Described in vari­ous circles as the ‘Best Movie of the Year!’, this was no mean feat for The Spirit’s UK debut: it was unleashed onto an indif­fer­ent pub­lic on 1st Janu­ary 2009.

Based on a Will Eis­ner comic strip which began life in the Amer­ican Sunday news­pa­pers, the Spirit is a cop turned masked vigil­ante. His goal, as with any super­hero, is to fight crime. One slight dif­fer­ence though. He’s dead.

Of course, being dead never usu­ally gets in the way in these sort of things. If any­thing, it’s some­thing of a boon, as it makes him invin­cible. How can you kill that which is already dead? Nice idea, but it effect­ively robs the film of any ten­sion. I’ve no idea how, or if, the com­ics got around this prob­lem. In the film, bul­lets are a minor incon­veni­ence, noth­ing that a quick trip to the hos­pital, and the sooth­ing words of a saucy nurse can’t fix.

But it’s not just saucy nurses that have an eye for our lad, the Spirit. Run­ning con­trary to sci­entific stud­ies of dead people, he’s a hit with all the chicks, vil­lains and good­ies, cops ‘n’ rob­bers. It seems no woman is safe from his spe­cial brand of smarm: a mere turn of the head, and a quip rich in Gor­gonzola soon gets them froth­ing at the panties.

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As much as he’d like to, the Spirit can’t spend all day woo­ing the ladies. He needs a stomp­ing ground to fight bad­dies in. That stomp­ing ground is Cent­ral City, and his open­ing voice over extols the vir­tues of this com­pu­ter­ised town­scape. By the end of the film, I was still a bit fuzzy on the details of what made it so great. Could be there was a nice sand­wich shop near his house. Per­haps there was a book club in the local lib­rary, where he went every week, and shared his pas­sion for the latest Dan Brown. Or maybe the local swim­ming pool did a spe­cial lunch­time dis­count for dead, ex-cop vigilantes.

The city is rendered in bold, car­toon col­ours, not dis­sim­ilar to Frank Miller’s own Sin City. That was a pretty good film, and I got the sense when watch­ing The Spirit, that Miller was try­ing to recap­ture that magic, but with little success.

This is Miller on auto-pilot. The Spirit is badly paced, and filled with char­ac­ters who, only on the sur­face, are lar­ger than life. Samuel L. Jack­son is ham­mier than a lorry full of ham, on a col­li­sion course with some sort of ham fact­ory. The femme fatales pose, and preen in vari­ous states of dress, and undress, Scar­lett Johans­son and Eva Mendes reach­ing pre­vi­ously unheard of career lows.

Johansson’s one good moment is a pro­longed shot of the warm, invit­ing space between her big knock­ers as she bends over a desk. Eva Mendes’ one good moment is a brief flash of her shapely bum. Miller seems more con­cerned with cap­tur­ing every womanly curve in his lens at the expense of a good story, or decent action.

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Yes, it’s fairly obvi­ous the type of film Miller prob­ably wanted to make with the above two hot­ties, and it prob­ably would have been a lot bet­ter than the tur­gid crap that we ended up with.

I’m think­ing of a hitch-hiking scen­ario. It’s 1am in the morn­ing, and Scar­lett Johans­son is trav­el­ling a lonely road in the pour­ing rain. A car pulls up along­side. It’s Eva Mendes, and she says, “You poor thing, all alone out here! And look at you, you’re soaked! My secluded cot­tage is nearby, come back with me, and we’ll get you out of those wet things!”

I’m not sure what hap­pens then, because I just fast for­ward to the good stuff in my brain where I see Scar­lett and Eva, and lots of undress­ing, soft caresses, shared showers, tow­el­ling down, more shower­ing, scen­ted candles, baby oil, sheep­skin rugs in front of roar­ing log fires, bean flick­ing, and much arch­ing of backs.

To quote an alto­gether dif­fer­ent movie, “I’d buy that for a dollar!”

11 Comments

  1. theipc says:

    LOVE IT and THANK YOU!!!!

  2. thycriticman says:

    Whoa at those high­lights. Scar­rlett is some­thing else.…..

    But any­ways, this looks like a prime example of inter­est­ing premise, but hor­rible execution!

    • Monkeyboy says:

      Frank Miller should have been hor­ribly executed for crimes against cinema. Well, maybe that’s harsh. I’d prob­ably just give him a chinese burn, then run off.

  3. This is amaz­ing, top work mate! And yeah, those highlights…

  4. Great graph­ics and post!

  5. ruth says:

    Great post! When I first saw the trailer and poster I thought it looked pretty cool, but glad I avoided this to this day. Ha..ha.. I can see why those were your highlights ;)

  6. Nostra says:

    So basic­ally he should have pro­longed those two high­lights and made a movie with that…I know I’d watch that. As for this movie, I never did because of all the bad reviews it got.

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