Saturday, January 16, 2010

Movie Review: The Spirit

The Spirit
Rated PG-13
1 Slime
Copyright Lions Gate Entertainment 2008

THE CHARACTERS

The Spirit: A former cop named Denny Colt, who was gunned down in the line of duty. He was brought back to life by the Octopus’ experimental drug and became Central City’s protector. He takes quite a beating and often doesn’t seem to be the best choice to fight crime for this city. He also has his own take on the grisly Batman voice heard The Dark Knight.

Sand Saref: A former friend of The Spirit who is now a jewel thief. She hates cops for some unexplained reason that is never built upon. She is after the Golden Fleece, but ends up with the Blood of Heracles instead, bringing her into contact with the Octopus.

Ellen Dolan: Sarah Paulson! The Spirit’s main love (Outside of his strange love for the city) who is the daughter of the police commissioner and a doctor who nurses him after every injury he gets. She isn’t in the film much and like Silken, she is really only there for eye candy.

Commissioner Eustace Dolan: Dan Lauria! He is the city’s police commissioner and one of the few people who know the Spirit’s true identity. He has a problem with just about everything he does, but always stops caring since the hero gets the job done.

Officer Morgenstern: A rookie cop who is high-strung and extremely happy to help in every little thing.

Lorelei: Jaime King! The Angel of Death and a stalker all rolled in one. She constantly bothers The Spirit throughout the film and just won’t let up.

Plaster of Paris: A French assassin for Octopus who likes to use knives. She disappears after stabbing The Spirit and is never mention again. Kind of a loose end if you ask me.

Silken Floss: Scarlett Johansson! She is The Octopus’s right handwoman and does a lot of his dirty work whenever he isn’t interested. She doesn’t do much and is mostly in this film for just eye candy.

The Octopus: Samuel L. Jackson! He is a villain who hates The Spirit and has egg issues. He enjoys his job way too much and I think he is a mad scientist. Like The Spirit, he can take a beating and loves carrying guns around. He is completely off his rocker, but enjoys it. He is blown to pieces by a grenade.

LESSONS LEARNED
+ A knife to the gut does not bother a superhero.
+ Cities are very erotic for superheroes.
+ People can breathe underwater.
+ Villains do not provide health insurance to grunts.
+ For fun, city kids hang onto the back of subway cars as they barrow down the tracks.
+ Superheroes talk to cats to unload their own problems.
+ Villains have eggs issues.
+ You can survive a several story drop as long as your coat gets caught on a gargoyle on the way down.
+ When a police officer is resurrected, he or she will want to become a superhero.
+ When cat dissolves, the only thing that’ll be left are eyeballs.
+ There is never thing as overkill.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR
1 min – Ah man, the movie is flat lining before it even begins!
2 min – Oops, I popped in Sin City by mistake.
6 min – Frogs! My mortal enemy!
11 min – As a superhero, you’re not impressing me.
13 min – Did we just change location?
22 min – Am I missing something here?
28 min – I’m lost, I’m really lost.
36 min – Oh, a Batman reference! Damn, I wish I was watching Batman right now.
37 min – You know, you could have just shot them instead of shooting yourself.
39 min – He does realize that the girl he loves is in the same room… right?
46 min – The tape ripped in half even before he touched it.
51 min – Guys in the Audience: Drat! It’s too burly!
54 min 17 sec – Ah great, now he really is dead!
54 min 26 sec – Never mind.
56 min – Sir, there is no one there. Stop talking to yourself.
57 min – Ah yes, what a noble superhero the Spirit is.
61 min – Is he talking to me?
77 min – Ah great, another monologue. That’s just what the film needs.
79 min – Once again, the film flat lines!
87 min – Talk about being blown away.
88 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A VASE!
92 min – Is he just this stupid?

NOTABLE QUOTES
The Spirit: There probably isn't a law in the books that you wouldn't break.
Sand Saref: Tell me, do I look like a good girl?

The Octopus: What is it with you and women?

The Spirit: [About his City] She is my love, she is my life, I am her Spirit.

THE PLOT

To be perfectly honest, I have never read any of The Spirit comics before. Also, I haven’t seen a single movie by Frank Miller before. So, I decided to do research ahead about this movie. From my understanding, this movie isn’t the least bit accurate to the original comic and the movie went for visuals instead of plot or characterization. That’s never really a good thing for me, because the last film I saw that sacrificed plot and characterization for visuals was Cool World. Oh boy…

We begin our journey into this odd universe with a voice, I believe it is Jaime King, saying to some guy called Denny Colt that she is the Angel of Death and she’ll get him sooner or later. Of enough of that confusion that doesn’t make any sense, the film opens to a warehouse with some phone ringing. A guy picks it up and gets the call to head to the docks because The Octopus might be showing up to steal something. So the guy suits up and he becomes The Spirit!

Great! Now he starts a big monologue for a couple of minutes about how the city loves him and after a while, it sounds like the whole place is a big turn on for him. Odd, but whatever floats his boat. Anyways, The Spirit reaches the place and finds the guy he called for down on the ground, shot a couple of times.

Spirit asked him about what happened and then a confusing jumble of scenes and a bit of Torgo Syndrome (Torgo Syndrome is where the person will repeat sentences over and over. Term is coined by Linkara), we see that The Octopus had shown up and shot him. During that, this femme fatale named Sand Saref was in the area and she & some dude were moving some kind of chests under the water for some reason. The Octopus then steals one of the chests and then shows up as the Spirit arrives, then promptly kicks him around for a bit. Confused? You should be! The scene was as complicated to watch as it was to describe.

So The Spirit and The Octopus beat each other around for a couple of minutes. Nothing seems to happen and no gets anywhere. Then it ends in sort of a draw and The Octopus leaves when he gets bored. Then Spirit boy collapses, Angel of Death (Also called Lorelei) bugs him, and then he wakes up to see Ellen Dolan, his lover. They talk for a bit and he says he is fine, despite taking a couple of bullets to the chest and being smashed in the head a couple of times with various objects.

The guy who shot earlier, hands off a necklace to The Spirit. He managed to get it from Sand when he ran into her. Spirit takes it to analyze it and then he gets chewed out by Commissioner Eustace Dolan for going all gun-ho about capturing the Octopus and for not getting backup to help handle situation. It gets confusing and the Spirit ends up walking off with necklace, and then he starts another monologue.

Apparently, he recognizes the locket. It was one he gave to Sand when they were both teens. They were also former friends and lovers, but then everything went to hell when Sand’s father, a cop, who was accidently shot dead in a struggle between Spirit’s uncle and mobster. Then the uncle killed himself because he feels guilty about it. Then randomly Sand proclaims she hates cops. But why is the million dollar question! Her father was an honest cop, he was trying to save the Spirit’s uncle, and there was no build up outside of that scene to make us understand why she hates cops. What the hell am I missing here!?

Sand then takes off, leaving Spirit behind for Europe 15 years ago, and now here we are! Confused, puzzled, wondering what the hell is going on in this story, and desperately wanting something to make sense of everything. Anyways, we then head to the Octopus’ hideout, where he gives a grand speech, dresses like a samurai, and does a lot of random things. Apparently, one of the chests Octopus’ henchmen stole wasn’t the right one, and then he and Silken Floss (His right handwoman) get all pissy about it. They realize the chest they are looking for is with Sand, so now they got to track her down.

Meanwhile, Sand Saref is getting all pissy herself because she has the wrong chest and she is complaining to some high class fence about having to pay for the location of the Golden Fleece (You know, that treasure thing from Greek mythology?) only for her not to get it. From there, we see The Spirit getting his next case from Eustace, which is coincidentally to find Sand.

After some more monologues from Spirit (Could he kindly shut up?) and a random scene with Octopus and Silken, Spirit tracks down Sand to her hotel room. Once there, she explains the situation to him and about the vase she has. From what she said and what the Octopus has been hinting at, it is a vase that contains the Blood of Heracles. It makes people immortal or kills them; it is all really random.

He confronts her about her real goal to obtain the Golden Fleece and in anger, she shoves him out of a random. Luckily, his trench coat gets caught on a gargoyle statue before he hits the ground. He then gets a call from a rookie cop, Morgenstern, who provides him a clue to where the Octopus might be. He tracks the clue to Salt plant and when he confronts Silken, they kiss and she promptly knocks him out. What an idiot.

After an odd vision from Lorelei (Sort of a stalker, isn’t she?), The Spirit wakes up in the movie, Marathon Man. Scratch that, I don’t think there was a belly dancing assassin from France named Plaster of Paris. After an erotic dance and a few knife wounds from Plaster, Octopus and Silken come out from their hiding place in Nazi uniforms. After he gives a winded speech that even The Spirit says is ridiculous, Octopus explains to him why they are two of a kind.

Apparently, when the Spirit was a police officer, he was killed in the line of duty. The Octopus was the coroner at the time and he was working on a secret drug for immortality. He decided to test it on the officer and it worked, he came back to life. The Spirit then, resurrected, inform Eustace about the situation. He then becomes the official spirit. Also, Octopus then tries the drug on himself and well, here we are!

At we getting some sense of what is going and a bit of the back story, but this would be better if the movie started with this happening at the beginning of the story. So, Octopus explains that he wants to combine his drug with the Blood of Heracles so he can become immortal. However, first things first, Octopus wants The Spirit dead first and has Plaster slice him up.

Plaster has a change of heart after Spirit sweet talks her in French and she frees him. Spirit knocks out Octopus and two of them escape. Then she stabs him for whatever reason; feel free to make up your own. Then as he lays on the ground, bleeding, Lorelei once again shows up and starts harassing him to give up and finally die. As the Angel of Death, she is pretty peeved that he escaped her grasp by resurrecting.

He stumbles onto a dock, falls off into the water, and begins again another exciting monologue about finally being able to die. Lorelei is excited about him finally coming to her, but he changes his mind when he remembers that Octopus is still out there and all his friends & the city are still in danger. He heals up, gets a new suit & tie (Where does he get this stuff and where does he do his dry cleaning), and heads off to find Sand and Octopus.

Apparently now, Sand and the Octopus are doing a deal to trade objects (When did they arrange a deal?). The fleece for the blood. Sand and Silken meet for the trade, while the cops and Spirit are there, watching from the shadows. The trade goes bad and Sand is held at gunpoint by Octopus and his goons, but The Spirit shows to confront them all and Silken takes off to avoid being caught in the middle.

The Octopus guns him down and then the cops move in on him and his goons. They blast him with all their firepower, but it doesn’t seem to stop him. Morgenstern blasts one of his arms off with a rocket launcher and Eustace shoots him in the head. However, he is still going and prepares to drink the blood to gain his immortality, but Sand shoots the vase before he can drink from it. The Spirit gets back up (He was wearing VERY good bullet proof armor) and shoves a grenade into his chest. The thing explodes and the Octopus is shredded into a million pieces.

After the explosion, The Spirit returns the necklace back to Sand and she lets him know that she now knows who he is. They kiss and The Spirit and Eustace lets Sand go for helping in getting rid of the Octopus. Ellen, who was there and was watching the whole, is logically upset and confronts him about this. They sort of makeup, realizing that they’ll never have a solid relationship and Silken, who had escape, finds a piece of the Octopus left. She takes it and hints that she might try cloning him. Does this mean a sequel? Who knows and who gives a crap! The film then ends with another classic and irritating monologue about how much he is in love with his city.

With that, the movie is over and it is about time. What can I say about this movie personally? Since I never read the comics or know what they are about, I can only judge this as a regular movie. To say the least, the movie was more style and show than substance and logical. The plot was really awkward and a bit hard to follow. They didn’t dive too much into the back story of The Octopus or the relationships between characters outside of The Spirit and Sand or The Spirit and Octopus. Fight scenes were strange and somewhat badly choreographed. The acting was all over the place, with The Spirit’s performance being the stiffest and Sand Saref’s being the most lacking in emotion. Music was a mixed bag too since some of it sounded like you can hear it in other comic book movies and other times, it just didn’t seem to work for the scene it was being used in.

The positives are what save the movie from being a total failure. The visual’s were amazing and made the film look like you were watching a comic book come to life. Samuel L. Jackson’s performance as The Octopus was very amusing. He was most of the time overacting and really hamming it up, making it fun to watch him on the screen. Like I said before, I haven’t read the comics so can’t say if the characters were similar to their original comic book personalities. Regardless, this movie is more eye appealing than anything with its lack of a strong plot or characters. It might be fun to watch with some friends, but if you want to watch something that is eye appealing and has a fun story that is based off a comic, try watching Sin City or Dick Tracy.

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