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The Spirit: Movie Review By Joe Lozito
Rating (out of four):
Will Eisner and Frank Miller are kindred spirits (pardon the pun). Will Eisner wrote the book on comic books back in the 1940s, when he introduced his masked crimefighter “The Spirit” as a weekly newspaper insert. Frank Miller is the creator of some of the genre’s contemporary classics. His “The Dark Knight Returns” graphic novel clearly influenced Christopher Nolan‘s wildly successful Batman films, and “300” and “Sin City” have both been adapted into hyper-stylized movies based on the Miller esthetic. When that latter film was made, Mr. Miller got co-director credit with Robert Rodriguez. Now the author branches out on his own to adapt Mr. Eisner’s Spirit character for the big screen. Ironically, “The Spirit” – a stiff dud of a movie – might seem a bit more groundbreaking if “Sin City” had not already been made – and made so much better.
Clearly, Mr. Miller was paying attention to his directorial mentor. “The Spirit” cribs some of Mr. Rodriguez’ techniques verbatim (the shocks of color, white-on-black blood, etc). Of course, one can’t blame Mr. Miller for that. Mr. Rodriguez was, after all, riffing off Mr. Miller, who in turn has sited Mr. Eisner as inspiration. It’s all a very incestuous cycle. And it has produced an offspring in “The Spirit” that is somewhat less than the sum of its parts.
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