The Spirit (film)Image via Wikipedia

Okay, I give up.

I’ve been monitoring the reviews of Frank Miller‘s The Spirit movie — which, thankfully, the marketing people stopped calling “Will Eisner‘s The Spirit” — and there isn’t much good to be found. Rather than posting separately for each bad review, I’m providing links to many of them below.

USA Today was the first to have found anything nice to say—the Houston Chronicle, Kansas City Star and Chicago Tribune are somewhat complimentary. says The Spirit is “neat-o.”

But almost everyone else uniformly gave the film raspberries. At least Miller can look forward to being a star at this year’s Razzies. And you have to wonder if the owners of the rights to Buck Rogers aren’t having second thoughts about letting Miller get his mitts on their property…

USA Today, Claudia Pulg
The Spirit is uneven, but its campy adventure provides some amusing, escapist fun.”

Kansas City Star, Jason Heck
“‘The Spirit’ is terrific entertainment. It’s a better and a more complete film than “Sin City” or “300.” Having a comic book genius create a comic book movie is a very, very good idea indeed.”

Chicago Tribune, Web Behrens
“Produced and directed by guys who grew up with a deep appreciation for Eisner, the film remains largely faithful to the quirky, well, spirit of the 60-plus-year-old creation.”

Houston Chronicle, Rick Bentley
“The bold visual strokes comic artist Frank Miller used to create Sin City revealed he was the only director who could do justice to the film version of Will Eisner’s ground-breaking comic series The Spirit.

“Eisner redefined comics in the 1940s and early ’50s with his creation of a print version of the film noir style. His stories were gritty. He used humor like a hidden weapon, exposed only when he needed to make a point.

“Miller has shown the same in-your-face skill in the creation of his comics and films. The result of Miller’s vision of Eisner with The Spirit is a visual explosion ignited by at times campy acting and melodrama so thick it will hurt your teeth.”

Time Magazine, Richard Corliss
“The joke — the prank — is on all of us. Whether you’re a deep-dish Eisnerphile or an ordinary Christmas moviegoer looking for some action-adventure in a mall full of Oscar contenders, you will be obliged to proclaim this Spirit a calamitous botch. Miller has misread the original, turning dark drama into strained comedy. Of course, artists have the liberty to make fun of any source material, however hallowed; but Miller lacks the simple competence to make the movie move. The facility he has on the page doesn’t translate to the screen.”

Los Angeles Times, Sam Adams
“‘The Spirit’ might bear the name of Will Eisner, on whose 1940s comics it is loosely based, but it bears as much resemblance to Eisner’s inventive, lighthearted creation as “The Dark Knight” does to its candy-colored ’60s television predecessor.”

New York Daily News, Elizabeth Weitzman
‘The Spirit’ one of ‘the worst movies of the year'”

Star-Ledger, Stephen Whitty
“Miller has as uncertain a hand on his actors as he does on the tone.”

The Oregonian, Mike Russell
“‘The Spirit’ is a loony, embarrassing mess that takes the late Will Eisner’s classic comics creation and beats it senseless with a giant toilet bowl (literally, at one point).”

Roger, Roger Ebert
“‘The Spirit’ is mannered to the point of madness. There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material. The movie is all style — style without substance, style whirling in a senseless void. The film’s hero is an ex-cop reincarnated as an immortal enforcer; for all the personality he exhibits, we would welcome Elmer Fudd.”

E! Online, Alex Markerson
The Spirit is as thin as the newsprint from which it springs.”

Denton Record-Chronicle, Bob Allen
Miller makes his turgid tale devoid of color, with blood just as gray and bland as everything else in the film except for the Spirit’s tie and Scarlett Johansson’s lips.”

Arizona Republic, Bill Goodykoontz
“Although the acting in Sin City was campy and the story over-the-top, it worked in the context of the film. Too often The Spirit is just not very good.”

The Plain Dealer, Julie E. Washington
“‘The Spirit’ is bizarre — and not in a good way.”

St. Petersburg Times, Steve Persall
The Spirit could be retitled The Light Knight, since Frank Miller’s movie is the antithesis of everything that made The Dark Knight the quintessential comic book movie.”

San Francisco Chronicle, Peter Hartlaub
“Miller’s distinction as one of the all-time best comic book writers is strong enough to withstand his role in making one of the worst comic book movies ever.”

Boston Herald, Stephen Schaefer
“…nothing meshes, much less enthralls…”

Newsday, Frank Lovece
“Will Eisner’s “The Spirit” was the “Citizen Kane” of comics, pushing the limits of the medium and expanding its visual vocabulary. Appearing in a Sunday-paper comic-book supplement from 1940 to 1952, it starred an average-Joe masked crime-fighter in a rumpled suit – a vulnerable but insouciant Everyman in humanist fables.

“Little of that makes it on-screen in this adaptation by writer-artist turned filmmaker Frank Miller. The auteur of comics “Sin City,” “300” and ” Batman: The Dark Knight Returns,” Miller retained only Eisner’s film noir surface, jettisoning characterization, soul and anything remotely human.”

Boston Phoenix, Peter Keough
“Awful on every level “

Orlando Sentinel, Roger Moore
“…talk about empty-headed…”

Vancouver Sun, Katherine Monk
The Spirit is an ambitious mess with no life”

Toronto Star, Jason Anderson
“At which exact point The Spirit hits rock bottom is a matter of debate. Maybe it’s when we first see our eponymous hero scampering across rooftops in a fashion less appropriate to a movie superhero than to a cast member of Guys and Dolls.

“Or maybe it comes during the first fight sequence, when he’s clobbered over the head with a bathroom fixture by a supervillain who then howls, “C’mon, toilets are always funny!” He is not correct”

The Globe and Mail, Liam Lacey

“Unfortunately, Miller’s first solo effort is a cinematic non-starter, with a cluttered story, paper-thin characters who seem to speak in self-mocking clichés, a bland hero, a hysterical villain and a surfeit of pouting vamps. Miller’s visual technique, which was astonishing in Sin City, now feels familiar – and with a more careful PG-13 rating in the U.S., the film feels like a paler imitation of its predecessor.”

The London Free Press, Jim Slotek

“From Stephen King to Michael Crichton, dyspeptic writers have plopped themselves down into a director’s chair and gone all do-it-yourself on us.

“Often it’s a huge mistake (see King’s Maximum Overdrive).

“The Spirit — the solo directorial debut of graphic novel darling Frank Miller (300, Sin City) — is one of those mistakes”

Huffington Post, Marshall Fine

If you’re expecting the dark, wicked humor and dazzlingly gruesome violence of Sin City, you’ll be sorely disappointed.”

New York Press, Simon Abrams
Miller is more than eager to argue for the legitimacy of comics’ pulpy roots. But he’s not doing it in the right way.” Vue Weekly, Josef Braun
“There are flourishes of visual expressionism, but all the eye candy, from the misty skies of fluttering snow to Eva Mendes’ immaculate ass, begins to wear as the story proves itself bereft of feeling. The characters are stereotypes. Their stories get very boring.”

Now Toronto, Norman Wilner
“Spiritless: Frank Miller doesn’t have the slightest clue how to put a movie together”, Matthew Razak
“I don’t believe I have ever walked out of a theater more torn about a movie than when leaving the theater after seeing The Spirit. My movie critic selves were in complete and total conflict with each other. The camp loving, B-grade movie addict in me was saying, “You wait and see, ten years from now this is going to be one of those crazy cult classics.” The professional critic in me was shouting over that about how the film is a jarring mish-mash of comic book camp, pulp fiction writing and themes that are far too dark for either. I was seriously just plain confused.”

Subscribe to Mr. Media’s RSS/XML Feed

Get MR. MEDIA Interviews delivered by email! Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


TV Stars * TV Producers * Movie Stars * Movie Directors, Producers, documentary Filmmakers and Screenwriters * Politicians and Political Writers * Stand-Up Comedians * Health Experts * Magazine Editors * Radio Stars * Bloggers, Podcasters and Web Producers * Novelists * Musicians and Music Journalists * Sexuality Experts * Culture and Society Experts * Food Experts * Biographers, Historians and A.J. Jacobs * Athletes and Sports Experts * Photographers * Journalists * Crime Experts * CEOs and Business Experts * Comic Book Creators * Cartoonists * Will Eisner Co-Workers, Friends and Experts

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]