The Spirit

My worst Christmas present…

by Dan Angell

A good friend of mine was in town for Christmas, and as we had little better to do, we went to the downtown Regal Cinema to watch Frank Miller’s newest blockbuster: The Spirit. I was fortunate enough to have received a Regal Cinema gift card earlier that day and so I had no objections to go and spend $9 on seeing a movie. In retrospect, this was probably a mistaken position to take, as I usually do a bit of research before paying to let someone else let me watch them act for about 2 hours, but this time I made an exception. After all, Frank Miller is responsible for such classics as “Sin City” and “300!” This movie couldn’t be that bad, could it?

As I was soon to find out, no director is as flawless as Leonidas, and, as much of a “righteous man” as Samuel L. Jackson may be (yes, it is a Pulp Fiction joke. For the record, that is not a movie you should expect to see reviewed by me anytime soon. If you haven’t seen it…do), even he can’t always “Shepherd the weak through the Valley of Darkness.”

But I digress. “The Spirit” revolves around an ex-cop named Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) who was killed while on duty but saved by the mad scientist Octopus (Sammy Jack). You may think to yourself, “Daniel, you made a mistake. If he was killed on duty then how could he also be saved?” Well, dear reader, it is not only possible…it happened.

After his death and subsequent salvation, Denny, thought dead by his colleagues and his wife, Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson), changed his name to “Spirit” and became an n’er-do-well superhero. After discovering his savior was merely using him as a test subject for his immortality syrup, Spirit achieved something that, as the epic Disney movie “The Incredibles” taught us, all superheros require: a nemesis.

Spirit and Octopus go through multiple scuffles in which neither makes any headway as they are both, for all intents and purposes, immortal. However, later on in the movie we discover the heart of their conflict. The Octopus is attempting to find Jason’s Golden Fleece which the movie asserts will make him all powerful and the immortality syrup last forever (because apparently as it stands the immortality syrup is itself not immortal. Oh, the irony!).

Enter Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), Spirits tasty old fling. She too has been searching for the Golden Fleece, but unfortunately for Spirit there are a several differences between the two of them:

1. She is a super-thief, not a superhero.
2. She doesn’t want it because it’s powerful. She wants it because it’s pretty.
3. She actually found it.

Spirit and Saref meet; but sadly, the reunion was not to be, because Octopus meets them too. Insert sappy love scenes and a few over-dramatic battle sequences and you have yourself the middle 45 minutes of this movie.

At the end Spirit is predictably able to defeat Octopus, Saref makes off with the Fleece, and Spirit vows to fight crime until the day the mortal immortality syrup wears off. Cue dramatic zoom out and cut to black.

This movie is tolerable enough with its fleeting humor and mediocre intrigue sustained only by the fact that the audience has no idea what’s going on throughout most of the movie. If you want to watch Frank Miller, though, you should seriously consider watching “Sin City” or “300.” Not only will you feel more fulfilled by watching what basically breaks down to a bunch of black, white, and red figured for 2 hours, but you will also understand the “Leonidas” joke in the beginning of this recap. Now if only I could turn my reviews into a graphic novel. Then I may actually get somewhere.

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